Sunday, June 23, 2024

Starting the Decade with Zero Waste

By Diamay Klem D. Balacuit and Jeck G. Tirambulo | Feature Writer and Features Editor

Vol. XCI No. 14

Jan. 17, 2020

Streets, alleys, canals, rivers, oceans—even the spot 30 meters away from where you stand right now, there is trash. The Philippines, although brimming with politically and environmentally woke inhabitants, is still having a hard time dealing with this chronic dilemma—the excessive and unsegregated garbage. Were the loud wake up noise and awareness campaigns not enough?

The latest data available says our country is generating an average of 43,684 tons of garbage daily. Despite most waste management programs emphasis on plastics, these only comprise 4,609 tons of the total waste. Well, plastics do have devastating impacts due to it taking a longer time to decompose. If you think about it, the sachet of candy that you have thrown 10-15 years ago will still be there even when ten of your future generations have become organic matters. How nasty will it to be buried alongside with some trash, though. With that said, as our population increases, the said amount is also expected to rise and may hit at around 77,000 tons in 2025. Perhaps such amount can be reduced by enforcing stricter policies to not just the producers of those menacing wastes, but also to the end users. Yes, you are not an exception.

However, our government also continues to exert effort in making programs directed to the management of these generated wastes. In fact, we may have one of the most advanced legislation on waste management in the world. The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 or RA 9003 was created to provide functional programs, create the necessary institutional mechanisms and incentives, declare certain acts prohibited and providing penalties to such, and appropriate funds for such. Among its policies are; to ensure the protection of public health and environment, utilize environmentally sound methods, ensure proper segregation, promote research and development programs, and encourage private sectors to participate.

On the other hand, Proclamation No.760 signed on May 2014 by then President Benigno S. Aquino III declared January as the Zero-Waste Month. Zero-waste is an advocacy that promotes the managing of products to eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials. So you might as well start to think of creative ways on how to recycle the hoarded waste that you have in your room. However, it doesn’t mean that you will only practice zero-waste in this month. Part of its declaration says that you have to carry out zero-waste whole year long until it becomes your habit. And as a response to this campaign, the university did its job by implementing an environmental policy — aiming to educate each one of us in addressing the waste problems here in our country. So here are some tips you can do in imparting to this campaign:


  • Bring your own reusables


In purchasing food items, clothes, groceries and others, plastic packaging also comes. For you to lessen the waste you’ll be producing from this, using the reusable or biodegradable bags, reusable drinking bottles, and reusable food containers are the most environment-friendly thing you can do. Aside from that, you also save economically. 


  • Avoid single-use plastic


This is also the same from the tip given above. With this, using single-use plastic such as plastic bags, cutlery, sachets, stirrers, bottles, and other non-biodegradable and non-recyclable products is not encouraged to do. Instead of using this, reusables are encouraged to use. 


  • Practice proper waste segregation


Besides lessening your waste, consciousness and discipline in throwing wastes according to its type should also done. In the university, proper waste disposal bins are placed everywhere. For recyclables, blue-colored bins are placed; green-colored bins for biodegradable, and; black-colored bins for residuals. 


  • Be a zero-waste advocate


Aside from minimizing the waste you produce, engaging in activities that promote zero-waste and environmental protection is also one of the things you can do in doing your task in protecting the nature. Teaching the youngsters about environmental protection and living the environment friendly life also come from this way of living. 

Wastes are already found everywhere. Diligence and constant practice until making it a habit to live by is the most important thing everyone can do in living out the true essence of this campaign. We may start this new decade with a lot of waste and we may end this with no more waste through the help of this campaign. 


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