Monday, July 15, 2024

Zero-waste policy: then and now

By Momoka Yamamoto | Feature Writer

Vol. XCI No. 11

Dec. 6, 2019

Around the world, waste generation rates are rising. In 2016, the worlds’ cities generated 2.01 billion tonnes of solid waste, amounting to a footprint of 0.74 kilograms per person per day. With rapid population growth and urbanization, annual waste generation is expected to increase by 70% from 2016 levels to 3.40 billion tonnes in 2050.

Two years ago, even Dumaguete contributed about 24,900 tons or 124,000 cubic meters of waste, of which more than 65,600 cubic meters (including Silliman’s 415 truckloads) were dumped in the Candau-ay dumpsite. 

The situation influenced in terms of toxins, leachate and greenhouse gases to us. 

There are many ways on how pollution can be minimized. Perhaps the easiest that everyone can do is cleaning. Cleaning reduces pollution, protects unique ecosystems, prevents the extinction of endangered species and conserves resources, such as water, land, and air. A clean environment ensures the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems upon which human life and all other life on Earth depends.

In big institutions like Silliman University, environmental programs are already on the move to combat unmitigated waste pollution.  It is in a form of ZERO WASTE Policy, defined as an ethical, economical, efficient and visionary goal to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable food natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.

Waste segregation is included in law because it is much easier to recycle. Effective segregation of wastes means that less waste goes to landfill which makes it cheaper and better for people and the environment. It is also important to segregate for public health.

Sillimanians already have green spaces which enhance the livability and health of our city. Through the combined efforts of student government designated committees and the university itself, tangible changes can now be observed inside the campus. We can see some sorting rubbish boxes largely separated into three kinds : Residual, Biodegradable, and Recyclable. 

As segregation is the focal point of this policy, residents and small institutions inside SU is also in action. The cafeteria already sends its leftover food to piggeries, has gotten rid of plastic straws, offers drinking through dispensers, and uses compostable wrappings like banana leaves. Some students already bring their own reusable bags and drinking bottles. Plans to turn Silliman Beach into an eco-park is also ongoing. However, there are still more that needs to be done and the work must be systematic.

SU president, Dr. McCann said the practice of proper waste management in the University is effective immediately. As SU transforms, so too must individual lifestyles. Following this, all biodegradable wastes from the campus will be composted with the assistance of the College of Agriculture. Meanwhile, reuse and recycling of all recyclable waste will be maximized. One can always find out what you can do to help make a difference in our environment every day. Whether you’re at home, on the go, in the office, or at school, there are many opportunities to go green by Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling.


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