Trash - Plastic, in particular, is a global problem. The majority of plastics winds up in landfills where it remains indefinitely. “Hindi naman talaga mauubos ang basura, dahil we all create waste and garbage every day. It is the proper disposal of the waste we generate to be the key. We are the cause but we are also the solution to the pollution so we have to do it every day,” said Sen. Cynthia Villar, Chairperson for Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
To make matters worse, this plastic that ends up in our oceans and landfills tends to break down into smaller pieces which eventually will be too difficult for us to pick-up. But how do they end up there in the first place and what can we do to prevent it? These are the questions we are hoping to get answers to.
According to the recent ICC Summit report of Crispian Lao’s report, Vice Chairman & Private Sector Representative for the Recycling Industry Sector, National Solid Waste Management Commission, Office of the President, Republic of the Philippines and the Founding President of PARMS (Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability), the Philippines generates 40,000 tons of waste per day. 57% of which is coming from the residential areas. 52% of this trash is actually biodegradable, 28% are recyclables, and 18% are residuals and 2% for special waste.
Based on the ICC Data of Olongapo, 90% of the trash item that was picked up is made of plastic. 18% of that are food wrappers, 9% cigarette butts, 7% straws and stirrers, 6% plastic bottles, and 5% grocery plastic bags. Among the top trash collected in the area, plastic bottles is the only one that can be recycled and the rest are classified as residual waste.
In order for us to find a solution to our trash problem, we need to better understand the flow of trash in our community. This led us to explore the junk shops of Olongapo. “Our goal in this year’s ICC was not only to cleanup the coastal areas or gather data on the debris that we collect. We want to be able to go a step further and try to divert trash from ending up in our oceans and landfills by tackling the trash at the source,” said Zedrik Avecilla, Area Coordinator of Zambales for the International Coastal Cleanup and Executive Director of the Lighthouse Marina Resort Legacy Foundation.
During our trip to Cortez Junk shop, one of the local junk shops in Olongapo, we learned that not all collect the same recyclables. For instance, some junk shops will collect tarpaulins, but most junk shops do not. They also sort plastics by color and not all colors have the same price and each junk shop also has different rates.
However, there are some items that they do throw away like the plastic wrappers included on the packaging of the PET bottles. Basically, these trash will end up in the landfill. As part of the Lighthouse Marina Resort Legacy Foundation’s initiative, the foundation will collect the plastic wrappers from them instead of them throwing it.
We want to greatly reduce, if not totally eliminate the number of residual plastics that end up in our oceans. There are technological developments that are working on alternative food packaging, however, while we are still waiting for these things to materialize, and while we do, we need to find a way to manage our residual wastes.
There are a lot of ways to solve this problem both from the manufacturing side and the consumer side. But at the end of the day, we should all be responsible for the trash that we generate. Currently, we are working with NGOs, Private Companies, LGUs and the Academe in developing comprehensive programs to increase resource recovery and reduce landfill dependence towards zero waste.
To those who wanted to extend help in this advocacy of reducing our plastic trash, please reach out to us and shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are open to collaborations as we believe that if we work together, we can make a difference! #seaofchange #ICCPH #MANAMo
Dedicated in creating a wave of change to help preserve our environment