In his speech during the opening program, Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee Chair on Environment Richard Atendido, who spearheaded the event, underscored the collaborative effort between the local government, non-government organizations, government agencies, the business sector, and individuals in making the event a huge success. Atendido urged everyone to segregate and recycle their wastes not only to generate additional income but mainly to help in the protection of the environment. “If we minimize waste, especially those that are not biodegradable, there will be less pollution, less hazard to the environment, and of course to the people,” he says.
Many residents of Gensan who came to Gaisano Mall, the venue of the fair, were amazed that what they have always been considering as junk or “basura” in their homes could still be converted to cash. People from all walks of life, young and old, from far-flung and nearby barangays, came to sell various “junks” such as old refrigerators, aircon units, washing machines, computer hardware – items which had been stored in their homes and offices for quite a long time because they didn’t know how to dispose of them. Nenita Armendez, who sold 81 kilos of old newspapers, earned P486. Edgar Eturma got P885 for his old refrigerator. The General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., one of the co-convenors of the event, earned P4,000 for its busted aircon (which weighed 200 kilos). A local department store brought more than 1,000 kilos of corrugated carton and earned more than P4,000.
The Waste Analysis and Characterization Study conducted by the USAID-funded Philippine Environmental Governance 2 Project in 2006 reveals that GenSan generates a total of 170 tons of waste per day, with per capita waste generation pegged at 0.44 kilos per day. The study also revealed that 65.5% of the total waste collected is biodegradable and can be composted, 15.6% is recyclable, 0.5% is considered as special wastes (examples are fluorescent bulbs, alkaline batteries) and only 18.4% is residual. This means that over 80% of waste can be diverted from going into the dumpsite and can still be converted into something useful. RA 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of 2003 mandates all local government units (LGUs) to divert at least 25% of their waste.
One of the highlights of the 1st Gensan Recyclable Waste Fair is the On-the-spot Logo and Slogan contest. The winner, Pearlie Rose Jamerlan, a nursing student from the General Santos Doctors Medical School Foundation, Inc. depicts the importance of proper waste management in protecting the environment—Sarangani Bay and its resources in particular—to the life and well-being of all GenSan residents. The winning entry will be the official logo and slogan of the GenSan Solid Waste Management Program.
The City Government of Gensan plans to do this kind of activity once every quarter, to coincide with the City’s festivals and celebrations.
Implementation of waste segregation at the City’s pilot point sources and use of simple waste diversion methods such as rapid and vermi composting, and recycling has made the City a model site to other local government units in Mindanao.
EcoGov, which provided technical assistance to the city government in the conduct of the event, is also assisting Gensan in the implementation of its solid waste and wastewater management programs. The City’s 10-year Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan which will serve as the LGUs guide in running its solid waste management program was already legitimized last week by the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
The EcoGov Project is a collaborative effort between USAID and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (EcoGov2)