Issue of September 7, 2014
     
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105th
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What to do with biodegradables?

Peter Chong’s frustration (The Week’s Mail, Aug. 31) at how waste management is implemented summarized probably what other barangay officials and concerned residents similarly felt in the city.

Chong said his barangay has been very strict with waste segregation but observed correctly that residents in most barangays do not bother to segregate. Yet all their wastes are still collected.

He asked: “What to do with biodegradables?” Kabsat Peter, ado ah ti maaramidan no la ketdi masurot nga usto ti mensahe ti Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The experience of Barangay Ambiong is worthy of replication. In Ambiong, it is strict segregation as in your place. The only difference perhaps is that Ambiong has several eco-composting receptacles to process its biodegradables into high grade compost. The ECR is actually just a small piece of land fenced off with bamboo slats to prevent the waste from being scattered. The volume of waste that the enclosure can accommodate is measured in tonnage, sans shredders or enzymes to hasten decomposition.

In return, Ambiong gets to harvest compost fertilizer every after six months and the village is clean. The flies no longer pester households. They are in the enclosures “where they live and die there” as the song goes.

Someone who looks like the amiable and fit Rafael Tallocoy of the City Mayor’s Office can attest to this, he being a resident of Ambiong.

Ferdie Bayasen, the best mayor this city has yet to have, adopted it in Barangay Guisad and credited it for reducing the volume of biodegradables hauled to the dump.

This poor man’s technology is a game changer if people are prepared to think out of the box. In contrast, the P22-million Irisan machines are pure decorative pieces that do not serve a purpose except as a testimony to some officials’ perversion to humor their constituents. Small wonder, no government agency has endorsed them in the first place and not a single farm supply outfit has patronized the machines version of a compost fertilizer.

The only problem with the Ambiong technology is that there is no S.O.P., only the joy of assisting a natural resource turn into compost and in helping ease Mother Earth’s woes with global warming.

The experience of Laoag City has been turning heads lately but this is because its local officials have what we do not have: political will and concern for the environment.

Idiay Laoag apo, garbage is sorted out and segregated by workers. Those that can be reused are set aside. Plastics are shredded then mixed with cement to become hollow blocks. The biodegradables, however, are set aside in a corner where workers ensure these are turned into compost, with nearby rice farms as beneficiaries.

To summarize, there is nothing wrong with RA 9003. In fact, it allows for best practices.

I think the only problem why genuine composting methods have not been integrated with so-called waste management systems is that concerned agencies as well as LGUs tend to play by the books or are enamored more with expensive setups or technologies that have not been tested really on the ground.

Ti sumada total apo, the road to adopting a workable technology attuned to local conditions and to the kind of people that comprises our communities is strewn with worthless acronyms or titles (ESL, ERS, Black Hole, Waste-to-Energy, etc.).



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