The city government through the General Services Office has intensified waste management efforts as the city’s daily waste generation increased to 550 tons from 400 tons during the pre-pandemic times and 320 tons during the pandemic.
The rise in waste production was based on the result of the 2022 Waste Analysis and Characterization Study (WACS) which is required of the city every three years as per Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Management Act of 2000.
General Services Officer Eugene Buyucan said the 550-ton daily output was only for a normal day waste production and thus can even rise during events and peak tourist seasons.
He said the WACS findings meant each person generates 0.55 kg. per day at present as against the 0.45 kg per person per day findings in 2016.
He said to address this, his office stepped up the waste segregation and recycling campaigns in all barangays to reduce the production rate.
The city is also set to build a centralized materials recovery facility soon with the required budget already worked out.
It will boost the operations of the five existing barangay-based MRFs which are all contributing to waste reduction efforts.
The office is also continually networking with non-government organizations to amplify programs like zero waste and reduce, recycle, reuse through information, education, and communication campaigns in the communities.
Buyucan attributed the rise in waste generation to the new normal lifestyle of the people embracing delivery and online purchases.
“Online purchases require packaging and wrapping and this entails voluminous wastes added to the regular wastes generated,” he said.
He said the increased waste production is also caused by the surge in tourist arrivals after the lifting of the pandemic restrictions.
“More people equals more garbage. It’s that simple and we need the cooperation not only of our residents but also of our visitors in managing our garbage through segregation, reducing, recycling and reusing methods,” he said.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier noted a marked improvement in city residents’ discipline in managing their wastes but said it is still wanting for a truly clean and orderly city.
“Compared to the previous years, we have seen a big improvement in the way people dispose of their garbage lately. I know that it cannot be done overnight and we are happy that people are slowly but surely adopting a change of mindset,” he said.
He however added that more needs to be done if the city wants to achieve its dream of clean and orderly city noting the city’s experience in the past typhoon where flooding incidents were once again experienced due to waste materials that clogged drainage inlets, canals and other waterways.
“Sadly despite our constant reminders, there are still irresponsible people who have no care for their environment. I hope we will all learn discipline and be conscientious of how our careless attitude has been affecting the entire city and our fellow residents,” he said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo