February 24, 2024
E-WASTE ‘TO. IWASTO! — Mayor Benjie Magalong, together with partners from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Ecological Waste Coalition Philippines, Integrated Recycling Industries, Inc., PLDT Inc., and Smart Communications Inc. led the ribbon cutting of the materials recovery facility/e-waste facility in Barangay Bakakeng Central on Sept. 25. — Ezer Owindo

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources opened the first materials recovery facility for electronic waste outside National in Barangay Bakakeng, Baguio City. 

DENR Undersecretary for Sustainability and Climate Change Analiza Teh said the project was first launched in Metro Manila in 2017 in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization before reaching Baguio. The project will end its more than six-year run in January 2024.

“This is the third e-waste MRF, the first two are in Caloocan City and Malabon City. This is the first outside Metro Manila,” Teh said.

E-waste comes from discarded electrical or electronic devices, like appliances, tools, toys and telecommunication equipment, among others.

“If there is no appropriate gadget or facility, it will be harmful to the health of the dismantlers who are mostly children and women. There is also pollution to the soil where they are thrown if not properly disposed,” Teh said on the sidelines of the signing of the memorandum of agreement with the city government and other stakeholders.

Bakakeng Central Punong Barangay Dan Daniel said the barangay council studied and eventually approved the proposal to convert their MRF into an e-waste MRF, which sits on a 60 by 20 square meters of land. 

“We saw a lot of benefits so we grabbed the opportunity to convert our MRF to e-waste MRF. We hope to see some residents engaging in this activity, training to dismantle their source of livelihood. This will also be a source of revenue for the barangay that we can use for other programs,” he said.

Teh said the proper management of e-waste could help mitigate the impact of climate change and address water pollution.

“We generate at least 61,000 tons of mixed garbage daily and only 20 percent is being recycled. The others land as marine litter, waste in rivers and seas or they land in the sanitary landfill as mixed waste when the law only says residual [waste] goes to the sanitary landfill,” she said.

Melissa Vergel de Dios, PLDT Inc. and SMART Communications Inc. chief sustainability officer, in a message during the program said their company contributed to the initiative by setting up key collection points for e-waste. – PNA