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Solid Waste Management City-wide Practices

“The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain; but Moab will be trampled under him as straw is trampled down in the manure”;

Composting used to be a widespread practice. Until the early 1900 , it was estimated that 90% of the fertilizer used in the United States came from compost.

In 1913, the German company BASF (BadischeAnilin- & Soda-Fabrik) started operating the world’s first ammonia synthesis plant to produce synthetic nitrogen compounds, including fertilizers. These new chemical fertilizers were produced quicker than messy animal manure compost.

Productivity soared to levels unheard of in the past, and the farmyard compost pile quickly became a thing of the past. By 1950, it was estimated that only 1% of the fertilizer used in the United States was derived from compost.

In 1962, Rachel Carson, an American marine biologist wrote the popular book Silent Spring. In the book she pointed out that technological progress is so fundamentally at odds with natural processes that it must be curtailed. She ushered in a new public awareness that nature was vulnerable to human intervention.

The consciousness and the need to regulate industry in order to protect the environment became widely accepted.

Environmentalism was born.

In the Philippines, the environmentalism philosophy of Manny and Cynthia Villar is anchored on the need to continually seek sustainable solutions which are always linked towards other objectives such as providing more jobs to the poor, saving money of the city government, building organizations, and creating synergy with other sectors.

It is an environmentalism that transcends middle-class notions of having a healthier lifestyle and being ecologically friendly.

Household Waste Segregation

When the Congresswoman Cynthia Villar sought to produce compost on a city-wide scale, it was met with opposition.

As in many enterprises which require social mobilization, there was resistance from the people.

To encourage their participation, the Congresswoman Villar dangled the incentive of investing in the rotary composter and the building to house the composting facility if the homeowner’s association or barangay would counterpart a suitable lot of around 36 square meters.

Of the twenty-barangay leaders, five leaders readily committed themselves to the program. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the leaders did not want to join.

Unfazed by the rejection, the Congresswoman took the time out to sit down in dialogue with each and every barangay to answer all of their apprehensions and concerns.

Segregating garbage required a house to house education campaign by the different associations. Where to bring the segregated garbage became the primary responsibility of the City government.

From this segregation, the biodegradable waste would be turned into compost.

Composting Practices

Barangay Bio-digesters
To complement the regular collection efforts of the City’s garbage trucks, “bio-men” conduct a door-to-door collection of the household wet garbage.The “bio-men” are part-time workers under the barangay payroll.

The wet garbage collected would pass through a mechanical presser present in every composting facility. The wet garbage wouldbe pressed to remove the liquid content or the leachate.

The leachate then enters an enclosed container. In this container further anaerobic digestion occurs. From the bacteria, methane is produced which is the source of bio-gas.

Besides the kitchen wastes of the households, coco peat is added into the compost mix.

A composting machine is able to produce 1,000 kilos or one (1) ton of compost per month. Today, there are a total of forty seven (47) rotary composters operating in twenty nine (29) composting centers, providing livelihood to 141 families.

Presently, the total average compost output of Las Piñas is forty seven (47) tons per month. The goal is to have a total of 100 composting centers spread throughout the city by 2013.

Part of this compost is used for the re-greening and tree-planting program in Las Piñas.

Farmers from nearby provinces purchase the rest of the compost to produce organic vegetables in their provincial farms. The income derived from the sale of the compost reverts back to the barangay and the subdivision housing associations to support their environmental activities.

 Use of Vermiculture
Another type of waste in the city is garden waste such as yard trimmings, dead branches, and plants. These are collected separately and brought to the vermi composting facilities.Vermi composting is the process of using worms to process organic waste into nutrient-rich soil. The production of organic fertilizer through vermi composting is now carried out in eleven (11) centers in eleven (11) barangays, with a total monthly production of 5,500 kilos or 6.1 tons

Barangay Recycling Day
A monthly Barangay Recycling Day was initiated in August 2010 by newly-elected congressman Mark Villar. The event is like a trade fair but instead of having booths where products are sold, owners and operators of MRS or junk yards buy recyclables such as old newspapers and magazines, plastic bottles, and empty tin cans from the homeowners.

This project has further reduced the volume of garbage that the city government has to collect.

Transforming Non -biodegradables into construction materials The materials that remain after the process of waste treatment – like agricultural, urban, industrial or mining – are called residual waste. In the domestic setting, residual waste pertains to household trash that cannot be recycled, re-used, or composted.

Residual waste in Las Piñas is used in the manufacture of construction materials such as hollow blocks and pavers. The non-biodegradables and non-recyclables are collected and processed through a pulverizing machine, which produces pellets that are mixed with cement. This mixture is molded into the desired shapes of blocks and pavers.

 These City-wide practices in solid waste management have helped to simultaneously achieve multiple objectives :