Talking trash and vermicomposting
CONSUMERLINE - Ching M. Alano () - March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

Okay, let’s talk dirty  literally, that is. Having lived for decades (and counting) in a flood-prone neighborhood in Mandaluyong, I cringe at the mere thought of having to deal yet again with all the stinking garbage swept away in the floodwaters. I wonder where this mishmash of trash comes from and how it ends up at my doorstep.

As tons and tons of garbage pile up on the notorious creek connected to the once pristine Laguna de Bay, those living near the Hagonoy Creek in Taguig shiver in fear of another killer Ondoy happening. 

Amid this real threat, there must be something we could do. The Philippine Business for Social Progress - Center for Rural Technology Development (PBSP-CRTD) has come up with a process that gets rid of garbage. It’s called vermicomposting that turns biodegradable wastes into an eco-friendly fertilizer.

The creative minds behind PBSP-CRTD introduced this process to the Waste Management Unit of Taguig at the clean-up drive led by the Australian Embassy in partnership with the city government of Taguig and Clean Up the Philippines Movement.

What’s it all about? Vermicomposting involves making texturized, sanitized, and deodorized form of castings made up of organic matter excreted by earthworms.

Before putting the worms, the biodegradable trash is crushed and left to decompose for about two weeks. The earthworms then feed on the decomposed materials and the excreted substance called vermicast is eventually mixed with the fertilized soil as organic fertilizer and soil conditioner.

Taguig waste management workers take their oars and sail across the creek of garbage.

We learn from the PBSP-CRTD people that vermicompost provides plants with complete and essential nutrition, and hastens seed germination, plant growth, flowering, and fruiting. It contains beneficial microorganisms and is proven to be an effective solution to waste management problems, such as that in Taguig.

Residents and authorities agree that the monstrous job of cleaning up cannot be done in a day. Vermicomposting is just one of the ways to reduce the garbage in the Hagonoy Creek. Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano points out that waste management is a shared responsibility.

Urging residents to be mindful of their waste disposal habits, Mayor Cayetano asserts, “The job would be lighter if everyone participated. Let’s not pass all the problems to the government. After all, it’s not the government that dumps the garbage.”

Australian Ambassador Rod Smith stresses that natural disasters (such as typhoon Ondoy) cannot be stopped, but people can strengthen the community resilience against calamities.

Ronald Arcangel, chairman of Clean Up the Philippines, enjoins everyone, “All of us must start doing our share for the environment.”

The clean-up drive aims to promote environmental awareness and community action to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters.

CRTD, PBSP’s demo farm located in Calauan, Laguna, houses a laboratory for developing, testing, validating, and disseminating appropriate farming technologies. It boasts an improved farming system and agricultural technology designed to optimize the use of the land, to produce ample yield for farmers.

This farm developed by CRTD is aptly called The Bukhay or Bukid ng Buhay (Farm of Life), which serves as a venue for integrated farming systems.

Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano and Australian Ambassador Rod Smith lead the clean-up drive in the Hagonoy Creek.

CRTD conducts study tours in Bukhay and other community development and project sites in the country. They give training seminars in vermiculture, aquaculture, livestock, tilapia hatchery and production, and lowland agroforestry. There are also courses in fruit crops production, ornamental plant production and management, food processing, demo-farm establishment, and solid waste management. Individuals or organizations interested in agricultural technology may call PBSP-CRTD at (049)568-0168 or e-mail crtd.pbsp@gmail.com.

It’s a dirty job, literally speaking, but we all have to do it.

* * *

We’d love to hear from you. E-mail us at ching_alano@yahoo.com.

AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR ROD SMITH AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY BUKHAY CLEAN UP THE PHILIPPINES CRTD FARM OF LIFE HAGONOY CREEK TAGUIG
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