OPINION

October 9, 2007 at 8:05 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

“SUSTAINABLE WASTE MANAGEMENT” RATED PG By Ike Señeres

How could local government units sustain their solid waste management programs? A garbage crisis now looms over Metro Manila after Rizal Province Governor Casimiro Ynares III declared that the newly opened dumpsite in Rodriguez, Rizal is exclusive only for the use of his province.

I hate to sound off tangent, but in this time and age, dumpsites should be banned already because it is a dead end method, because there could never be enough dumpsites that could serve the needs of all localities in the long run.

Sanitary landfills in the real sense of the word are the logical alternatives, but realistically speaking, we seem to be too far from building a real compliant one, based on internationally accepted standards. Just the same, I do not think that there would be enough landfills that could serve the needs of all our localities in the long run.

Believe it or not, there is a more sustainable method that could work in the long run, and it is not even high tech. The Municipality of Los Banos in Laguna has successfully built a materials recovery facility (MRF) that has completely eliminated the need for dumpsites, and of course, landfills too. The secret is to give market value to the recoverable materials and as a result, I am told that local residents are now fighting over the ownership of the garbage in their midst.

Using the MRF as the core method, I worked with the Los Banos team to develop a more comprehensive approach, adding some elements that were missing in the original pilot project. The new approach now includes solutions to the problem of disposing diapers, an element that was missing in that pilot. It also includes ways to dispose kitchen waste, another element that was missing earlier.

As an added advantage, the new approach now includes the production of feeds and fertilizers, to add to the market value of produced outputs. Using the new approach, we could truly claim that we could achieve “Zero Waste”, an ideal that was just a slogan until now. (For more information about public governance, email iseneres@yahoo.com)

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