Villar pushes community-based waste management, recycling projects
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 29, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the enhanced community quarantine being imposed in Luzon and other parts in the country, Sen. Cynthia Villar said proper handling of waste products can still be done to maintain cleanliness and help prevent the spread of hd disease.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, said it is important that garbage collection and recycling efforts continue in order to prevent additional health and sanitation woes

“We continue to generate waste even if we are under quarantine. Garbage will pile up if these are not collected and overwhelm our landfills if not properly segregated and recycled,” Villar said.

She said used masks and gloves can easily mix with household waste when these should be treated as hazardous wastes.

She urged local government officials to implement environmentally-sound practices alongside measures battling the spread of COVID-19.

Villar cited that in her home city of Las Pinas, composting and recycling facilities continue to operate to properly manage the city’s waste and at the same time provide livelihood to residents.

Bio-men, or the barangay-employed collectors of kitchen wastes, continue to bike around the city. They turn over their collection to composting and vermi-composting centers where kitchen wastes are converted into organic fertilizers in their own barangay.

“In a month, we produce 70 tons of fertilizer and give them out to farmers in nearby provinces. In Metro Manila, there are also urban gardeners and vegetable farmers who benefit from this free farm input,” Villar said.

Collected soft plastics such as food wrappers are recycled into plastic chairs. It takes 20 kilos of plastic to produce one arm chair which are in turn donated to public schools all over the country.

Waste coconut husks are also collected to be turned into coconet and charcoal.

“Our composting and recycling projects helped us recycle 70 percent of waste and enabled us to save on garbage hauling services. This is very important especially now that garbage collection can no longer be brought to the landfill in Montalban, Rizal because of quarantine measures,” Villar said.

She added that workers in these composting and recycling centers live nearby and operate on spacious areas where social distancing can be easily observed.

CYNTHIA VILLAR
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