8 LGUs sign pact on environment

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06.1

Bayawan, Bacolod, and Sipalay City, along with the municipalities of Cauayan, Hinoba-an, Basay, Sta. Catalina, and Siaton have declared their commitment to reduce plastic waste in their communities by the year 2020.

This declaration, also known as the “Bayawan Agreement”, was signed by representatives of the mentioned Local Government Units (LGU) and all guests present at the Plastic Waste Solutions Summit at Bayawan City on August 28.

The Bayawan Agreement highlighted that by year 2020, the LGUs would have implemented a Solid Waste Management Plan with a section on Actions for Plastic Waste. It also entails legislation of policies and programs that advances reducing and recycling of plastic waste. Lastly, it involves significant reduction in the production of plastic waste as individuals.

The Plastic Waste Solutions Summit is a spin-off of the Sea Waste Education to Eradicate Plastic (SWEEP). It is a gathering of government units, communities, and project partners of SWEEP to address the plastic pollution crisis through sharing of solid waste management practices, and discussing sustainable alternatives to plastics.

For the last four months, SWEEP has conducted a series of coastal clean-ups and waste audits in the mentioned areas above. With more than 1000 participants, they went on gathering data for scientific research on waste collected, waste sources, and management practices.

Kaila Ledesma Trebol, Vice-President for Conservation of the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI), shared the results of SWEEP’s 16 waste assessments and brand audits.

She said that in their initial findings, with samples gathered from May to August this year, Banagua in Bacolod City ranked highest in terms of waste per metric tons. And 33% of the waste were sando bags.

She also added that SWEEP follows a three-course plan of action with their coastal clean-ups beginning with the “audit.” This is when the team looks at the trash, the manufacturer, and its source among others. Each piece is counted when auditing.

After auditing, the team calls for “awareness.” Trebol said they ask concerned citizens to join in their clean-up drives. These clean-ups serve as an eye-opener, especially for those who “did not realize how much trash here” is until they join the team.

They call the final course “action.” This is when the team coordinates with other members of the community to address their findings. For instance, Trebol said that the summit is one form of action since LGUs, NGOs, and other community partners are gathered to find solutions to the plastic waste crisis.

Mobile Museum

Apart from sharing the results of their research, SWEEP also launched their Mobile Museum at the summit. The Mobile Museum is an IEC (information, Education, Communication) tool about marine pollution. It will resemble a fishball food cart. Its parts will present the harms of plastic pollution and what can be done to minimize plastic waste.   It will be deployed in coastal communities to aid plastic waste education.

Sef Alba Carandang, PRRCFI’s Vice President for Community Development, shared that representatives from LGUs as well as artists underwent a design making process to come up with prototypes of the museum.

The team had five prototypes for the mobile museum, all displaying the sensory approach.

Carandag said that they realized that in order for people to care, the display must present something that would “would speak to how plastic affects their food and their health.”

The team finally converged the five prototypes into the fishball food cart concept. The mobile museum is named “Fishbolan”.

“Fishbolan” will tour communities to raise awareness on plastic pollution and engage communities towards finding solutions. It will carry imitation fishballs and six other food art installations to exhibit the threats of plastic waste. A water dispenser that is filled with trash will also be available. There will also be a menu board that will show facts about plastics.  “Fishbolan” will also have components that will teach about segregation, workshops for recycling, and plastic waste solutions. It also comes with a photo wall for community commitments.

As of press time, “Fishbolan” is being manufactured in Bacolod City.

LGU’s initiatives

Other than the launching of the Mobile Museum, SWEEP aims to engage local government units and communities to start their own initiatives to reduce plastic waste.

In relation to this, representatives from LGUs shared their own practices to reduce plastic waste production.

Ion Bollos of Bayawan City ENRO talked about the solid waste management and segregation practice of the city. He highlighted that schools and DepEd are the city’s best partners in the promotion of proper waste management and a zero-waste lifestyle.

Meanwhile, Nomalito Atido from Sipalay City ENRO also shared the Best Solid Waste Management Practices of Sipalay City. Atido discussed their waste characterization and analysis process, as well as its findings.

Dumalinao’s Mayor, Hon. Junaflor Cerilles, also shared their solid waste management practices as a 4th class city. She emphasized on her personal campaign “Ayoko sa Plastic”. This is an information drive of the consequences of single-use plastic and a campaign to opt for alternatives.

Moreover, Hon. Pryde Henry Teves of Bayawan City affirmed the importance of proper governance and legislation in addressing the plastic waste crisis.

“Conservation, from ridge to reef, is achievable with legislation to speed up the process of consumer behavior change and adaptation, and to encourage manufacturers to create reusable packaging. The stroke of a pen goes a long way,” the city mayor quipped.

The Plastic Waste Solutions Summit was attended by NGOs, scientists, and other environmental movements such as War on Waste, Hamsa Earth Consciousness, and the Association of Young Environmental Journalists. Peter Loach, Senior Program Manager of Development Innovations Group, the international firm managing the  USAID (United States Agency International Development) fund for Municipal Waste Recycling Program also graced the event.

The Summit was organized by the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. PRRCFI is a non-stock, non-profit corporation established in 1994 to manage conservation programs based on Danjugan Island.

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