LIPA CITY– THE month of June is officially declared as Philippine Environment Month even as it also coincides with the World Environment Day.
With these declarations, it comes to mind how we should take care of Mother Nature, such as through proper trash disposal and recycling our refuse in the best possible way.
Truly, “may pera sa basura” (there is money in trash) can be realized if taken with a deeper look and perspective.
And Lipa is on the right track in productively dealing with insurmountable mounds of trash collected each day from all over 72 barangays in the city.
This progressive LGU has simply adopted a more productive way in dealing with its mountains of waste materials.
With the able leadership of Mayor Eric Africa, the city is even buying waste materials now through its “Trash to Cash” program in cooperation with the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) headed by Ricardo Libon.
Effective and efficient way of segregating recoverable and recyclable materials cannot, however, be done without the necessary facility and CENRO has put up its own Centralized Materials Recovery Facility located in Tanco Drive, Bgy. Maraouy, Lipa City.
Only biodegradable materials go to the landfill while recyclable materials like old car tires and even branches of trees are collected and hauled off to the multi-task shredding machine.
Old tires are never burnt; rather, after the shredding is done and at least a truckload is gathered, these are delivered to the Republic Cement and Building Materials, Inc. (RCBMI) plant in the municipality of Taysan, Batangas in exchange for sacks of cement.
Shredded wood branches, on the other hand, are treated and mixed with other biodegradable waste materials in the compost that will then later on be used as fertilizer.
Plastic containers or sachets of food and shampoos are likewise treated in the shredding machine for plastics.
After which, materials will be used as ingredient for making “Ecobricks.” These are made using the Bricks Making Machine of the city.
Libon said these are but a few of their city’s unique ways of converting trash into reusable materials while at the same time dealing with the seemingly insurmountable problem of trash and litter.
But make no mistake about it. When in Lipa, don’t mess around as the Lipa City Special Task Force (LCSTF) is on the lookout for violators of RA #9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
Last Tuesday, the LCSTF nabbed three residents of Barangay Sabang aboard a tricycle and two other men on a pickup vehicle who were “throwing garbage at the wrong time and wrong place” in the said barangay.
As such, the local government once again reminded residents to comply with the laws and ordinance that exists throughout the city or join productively by turning over trash that will be converted into construction reusable materials.
And so with the city’s cleanliness drive too.
Trash to cash
With its “Trash to Cash” program now in full swing, the city has provided cash awards and plaques of recognition to participating barangays within which the winners are based on the biggest points obtained in each category (Small, Medium, Large Category).
The winner in the Small Category for Residual and Marketable Waste was Barangay Halang under the leadership of Fernando R. Rocafort, while in the Medium Category it was Barangay San Isidro under the leadership of Tasian O. Mea.
Barangay San Jose won the Large Category in Residual Waste under Bgy. Chairwoman Melody Endozo and for Marketable Waste award went to Barangay Sabang behind the leadership of Wilfredo D Lescano.
Lipa City’s “Trash to Cash” Program is one of the LGUs environment-related projects under Mayor Eric B. Africa in partnership with City ENRO, LIPENA ACES.
It also includes the RESPONSE and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4 Ps) beneficiaries for the better management and cleanliness of the city.
Collected wastes can be exchanged at accredited EBA stores according to the points they have accumulated. For marketable waste, three pesos worth (of trash) is equal to one point.
While a kilo of cut residual that they can bring is equivalent to 12 points they can immediately convert to cash through the CENRO and City Cooperative Office or EBA stores.
Buy-out savings include residual wastes (plastic from junk foods, sachet, paper cups, fabric and other types of disposable cloths) and marketable wastes (garbage can be sold like bottles, plastic pet bottles, any type and size of paper, etc.)
The “Trash to Cash” Program of Lipa City is a two-pronged continuous program for the people of Lipa: one is helping people earn a living while keeping the surroundings and environment clean.
It is greatly hoped for other towns and cities of Batangas and other provinces of PH to toe the line in this unique way of combating trash the productive way.
Depending on the material and structure, plastics can take anywhere from 20 to 500 years to decompose.
Stockholm Convention on POPs
The Philippines is a member of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants or POPs, which was adopted in 2001 and was in force in 2004.
Needless to say, the POPs global treaty espouses the principle for member countries to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of pollutants into the environment, and protect human health and the environment.
POPs are extremely toxic chemicals that are oftentimes referred to as ‘forever chemicals’ as they remain in our bodies and the environment for decades and can disperse over thousands of miles on land, our atmosphere and oceans.
As such, exposure to them could lead to serious health effects including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease, and damages to the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Every month of June is Philippine Environment Month by virtue of Proclamation 237 signed in 1988 by then-President Corazon Aquino to raise environmental consciousness among Filipinos.
The celebration also coincides with World Environment Day, which was observed worldwide last week on June 5. (IA)