Issue of July 24, 2016
Mt. Province

66th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Barangay plans to solve waste woes though permaculture
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

FRIENDLY CREATURE -- Olive Gregorio of the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary introduces to officials of Lourdes Extension led by PB Benjie Macadangdang the earthworms they collectively call “Eugene, the friendly worm,” which they use in making organic compost that would later be used as a fertilizer. The barangay last week has formed ties with MES, which provides training to individuals and groups interested in establishing ecological centers through permaculture, among other methods, to achieve zero waste.
-- Hanna Lacsamana


Officials of Barangay Lourdes Extension, Baguio City are optimistic about devising a solution to more effectively manage their barangay’s solid wastes through the establishment and operation of an ecological center that involves having gardens in the community and in every household, and simultaneously have a steady source of safe and healthy food.

Employing as a component the basic principles of permaculture mode of farming, Lourdes Extension barangay officials led by Punong Barangay Benjie Macadangdang are embarking on training on proper zero waste practices to gain more knowledge and to overhaul their barangay’s existing programs and activities that deal with solid wastes that have been hampering their aim of having reduced to zero waste.

With the assistance of the Zero Waste Cluster, the barangay officials met with the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary (MES) management last Tuesday and availed themselves of a five-day training on zero waste where the basic principles of permaculture are included.

MES officer Olive Gregorio said the training, funded by the Maryknoll Mission, New York and will be provided for free to the barangay in August, will be given to a maximum of 15 individuals of Lourdes Extension barangay, which may choose its participants. It will involve solid waste management principles, permaculture, and how to make use of urban gardens in attaining zero waste in their barangay.

Gregorio said permaculture means to permanent agriculture or ecosystem, where different plant species – may it be fruit, vegetable, herb, or ornamental – can co-exist in one ecological unit. It also means “companion planting,” complete with friendly insects like bees and butterflies for pollination. Once set up, a farm or garden existing through permaculture will become self-supporting or could survive and regenerate on its own.

The barangay will be taught how to convert their wastes into compost or other recycled materials and use these in building and cultivating pocket, backyard, communal, and household gardens.

MES espouses programs that care for the environment, early understanding of the earth and farming, indigenous earth wisdom, nutrition and wellness, waste reduction, among other advocacies.

The undertaking makes Lourdes Extension barangay the  pilot area of MES for the establishment of the ecological center that is seen to help barangay constituents in managing their waste through segregation and deal with their solid wastes as mandated the barangays as per the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, by maintaining a garden.

Gregorio said the ecological center will be composed of a material recovery facility, a composting area, and a garden. After the training, MES will help the barangay set up the center using the barangay’s resources. The profile, strengths, weaknesses, and available resources of the barangay will be assessed to determine how to proceed with the project.

Macadangdang said they wanted to gain knowledge about Maryknoll’s farming and zero waste practices because while they in the barangay have long have their own programs and practices, there are some aspects they need to improve on.

“There is a need to improve on our current system. Hindi lang basta nagse-segregate at bahala na ang city government na mangolekta. Kailangan ang kaisipan, paano mababawasan ang basura at sa kung anong tamang paraan. Kaya gusto naming matuto,” Macadangdang said.

He added barangays, all 128 of it in Baguio for that matter, need to be empowered in the light of the enormous volume of wastes the city generates that entail millions annually to be hauled in the lowlands.

Also, he said learning zero waste would also help them address health concerns through proper nutrition, especially  among children, and have food supply not only for their daily needs but also because current circumstances of Baguio as a disaster-prone area and climate change concerns call for the need to find sustainable and environment-friendly ways of survival.

“A household is not empowered if its members do not know how to properly segregate their wastes, more so if they cannot differentiate nabubulok from di-nabubulok. Only recently we have learned that some of wastes can  in fact be used in planting cultivating gardens and some may be recycled and produce things for our own use or as a source of income. If we know the proper way, we will have lesser wastes to dispose,” Macadangdang said.

Now in his last term, the punong barangay wants to continue getting education himself. He also S encouraged his fellow residents to empower themselves with sustainable solid waste and farming practices.

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