Senator Cynthia Villar said that waste management and recycling efforts should continue amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Villar is the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. She explains that this would prevent additional health and sanitation problems during the enhanced community quarantine being imposed in Luzon and other parts of the country.
“We continue to generate waste even if we are under quarantine. Garbage will pile up if these are not collected and overwhelm our landfills if not properly segregated and recycled,” said Villar in a statement.
She stressed the need to properly manage used masks, gloves, and other hazardous waste. If not managed properly, this could easily mix with ordinary household waste. She adds that local government units should implement “environmentally-sound practices” on top of their other measures to on COVID-19.
“Bio-men” still in operation
Villar pointed out that waste management, composting, and recycling facilities still operate in Las Piñas City. In addition, this also continued to provide livelihood to residents.
She explains that in Las Piñas, “bio-men,” collectors of kitchen wastes employed by the barangay, continue to operate by biking around the city. Their collected kitchen waste are turned over to composting and vermi-composting centers. These are then converted into organic fertilizers.
“In a month, we produce 70 tons of fertilizer and give them out to farmers in nearby provinces. In Metro Manila, there are also urban gardeners and vegetable farmers who benefit from this free farm input,” said Villar.
Recycling still continues
The environmental efforts Villar is pushing extends beyond waste management onto recycling, which continues in Las Piñas. Collected soft plastics, such as food wrappers, are still being recycled into plastic chairs. Collected coconut husks are also turned into charcoal.
“Our composting and recycling projects helped us recycle 70 percent of waste and enabled us to save on garbage hauling services. This is very important especially now that garbage collection can no longer be brought to the landfill in Montalban, Rizal because of quarantine measures,” explains Villar.
She adds that the workers live and operate in areas where social distancing can easily be practiced.