December 6, 2023

Community-based environmental preservation programs were discussed by student organization leaders in an eco-consciousness and sustainability forum recently at the Saint Louis University.

The forum was sponsored by the city government with speakers from the City Environment and Parks Management Office (Cepmo), Eco-Waste Coalition, SLU, and Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda.     

Admitting that environmental protection is a community effort, SLU students mulled about the creation of a school, local business, and artists’ tri-partnership dubbed as “greenovation”, showcasing learning and skills sharing for sustainable and clean practices with minimal return of investment.

A city-wide plastic tally and barangay monitoring of garbage was suggested, together with the development of a waste segregator and garbage crusher, the conversion of human waste into useful gasses, battery recycling, and the design of an automated water surface garbage collection aquadrome.   

The students also looked into a barangay-based e-waste collection, mini-windmills in the barangays for energy conversion to street lights, cleanup drives, and river bio-diversity reclamation in Baguio and Benguet. 

Other proposed studies include starch and fish scales conversion to bio-plastics; activated charcoal for water filtration; anthocyanin from onion skin as edible food wraps to detect food spoilage; banana peelings as fire retardant and betel nut as adsorbent for chemicals.

Plastic and rubber wastes could also be converted into asphalt, “lata-luto” or tin can conversion into wheelchair or other household items, and a biotech enzyme to degrade plastics for conversion into energy.

Drinking fountains in barangays should also be installed for convenience and to minimize the use of bottled water, the students added.   

Other studies focused on a comprehensive calculator from various carbon footprint database, the urbanization of lower Bonifacio Street, and a resolution on microplastic regulation.

Monthly meetings and regular updating for solid waste management, a contest for cleanest barangays, and for children, separately labeled containers with colored hoops for play and garbage identification were also proposed.      

Earth advocacy videos can be shown, with reminders in social media and innovative research collaboration for annual renewal.

The use of permeable concrete in roads and open spaces was also suggested.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said all proposals shall be presented as part of the mitigation plan during the climate change conference this month. – Julie G. Fianza