Only a fourth of Davao City’s barangays segregate waste

Engr. Joy Espina, Cenro chief, told MindaNews over the weekend that only 24 out of 96 barangays were monitored to have complied with the city's waste segregation by 50 to 95 percent.

The city has a total of 181 barangays but the bins were distributed only in 96. No bins were distributed in the remaining 85 barangays, most of them rural.

Espina admitted it was difficult implementing the waste segregation program in the barangay level but they are not giving up.

She said they have prioritized strict implementation of waste segregation with appropriate waste bins to be collected by garbage trucks in 96 barangays as the rest are still "too rural".

But the city-wide waste diversion effort is already way ahead. She said the city was mandated to divert at least 25 percent of its solid waste but the local performance is 55 percent.

She said the city enforced the law locally a year after the National Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or Republic Act 9003 was signed in January 2001.

But even before that, Espina said, they had been educating the public about waste segregation and proper waste management since 1996.

She said the city is also on the right track having a 24-hectare sanitary landfill in Calinan and the Materials Recovery Facilities they are putting in place. She was reacting to a point raised by an official of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. on the need to evaluate the program more than a year after the solid waste management segregation and disposal project was piloted in GSIS Heights Subdivision.

Corazon Baylon, chair of the chamber's environment committee told MindaNews last week it is time to check how the program was done, what things are working, and what needs to be improved.

Baylon stressed the city's business community had committed to help cut the volume of waste materials that the city government has to throw.

She said the chamber just wanted to ensure that the whole process of implementation from the households to the landfill is systematic. "And we are willing to help," she said. 

The chamber has piloted Materials Recovery Facilities in eight barangays in the city as part of its effort to back the city government's program.

Baylon said the business community's effort of putting up MRFs is also to help communities earn from their own wastes. Baylon spoke to the media in promoting the city's 7th Recyclable Collection Event held at the SM City Car Park on June 30.

Espina said one of the clearer indicators of improvements in the city is the number of junk shops or buyers of recyclable materials in the city. She said since they started campaigning for recyclable materials, it has almost doubled from less than a hundred to 178.

She announced that the multi-sectoral Technical Working Group had finished its draft of the city's 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan since May.

The Solid Waste Management Board of Davao City is scheduled to convene later this month to decide on the plan before passing it for deliberation to the City Development Council, then to the city council.