Davao City’s next food-for-work project: Buy non-biodegradable plastics

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 06 September)— “Plastik ka, paliton ta ka” (You’re plastic, I’ll buy you).

Mayor Sara Duterte said Thursday that would be the battle cry for the second type of food-for-work program that the city government would soon launch as a way to reduce plastic waste in the city.

In a text message, Duterte said the city government will buy all non-biodegradable plastic waste as a way to reinforce the plastic ban.

The banning of non-biodegradable plastic and polystyrene foam as food and beverage containers began last June 28, as stipulated in the Davao City Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance of 2009.

Duterte said the “Plastik ka, paliton ta ka” food-for-work project will include plastics that are non-recyclable such as sachets and junk food wrappers, among others.

“It will be rolled out soon, given that type 1 has been successful and widely accepted. We’ll move to the non-recyclable plastic wraps. Isa ni nakita nila nga bulk sa basura (This has been determined to comprise the bulk of wastes),” she said.

In the type 1 food-for-work program, a beneficiary, selected by the City Social Services and Development Office, receives P150 worth of grocery items for three hours of work a day.

Beneficiaries clean up clogged canals near coastal areas that were identified by the City Engineer’s Office as flood-prone areas. The City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) is part of the project.

Duterte said the implementing guidelines for the type 2 food-for-work program are still being crafted.

Lawyer Joseph Dominic Felizarta, CENRO chief, said at the regular I-Speak forum Thursday that many people had benefited from the type 1 food-for-work program.

The program, which aims to help the poor and at the same time promote proper waste disposal and cleanliness in the city, has some 60,000 beneficiaries from 90 barangays, an earlier report said.

Felizarta said that non-recyclable plastics and other residual wastes compose 18 percent of the total 410 tons of wastes collected daily in the city.

There is a slight increase in the total amount of wastes from 380 tons daily since the implementation of waste segregation because malls in the city have expanded, he added.

But generally, there has been a significant decrease from the previous 500 to 700 tons of waste collected daily, Felizarta noted.

At least 430 violators of the plastic ban  had been apprehended since its implementation, he said.

To ensure that plastic manufacturers are complying with the law, CENRO plans to purchase a machine worth at least P1 million that can distinguish non-biodegradable from biodegradable plastics, Felizarta said.

CENRO will propose it during the meeting of the solid waste management board next month, he added.

Currently, the local government is determining bio-plastics through a laboratory test that yields results in three to six months.

Felizarta said that Holcim Philippines, Inc. has expressed  interest to build a processing plant here that will mix non-recyclable plastics with the ingredients use to produce cement.  (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)