By Jonah Nuisa Garcia
Garbage in San Pablo City has been reduced by 25% since the June 2011 implementation of City Ordinance No. 2009-14 that prohibits the use of plastics, styrofoam, straws and disposable utensils.
From 70-80 tons collected daily, collection is down to only 60 tons per day as of September 1, 2012.
The same ordinance prescribes the use of alternative containers such as washable food containers, baskets, and paper bags.
“Banning the use of plastic bags on dry goods had provided a huge help in the reduction of wastes in the city. Now, only biodegradable and residual wastes, including used paper towels, napkins, and tissues are accepted in the landfill,” said Elvie Funtanilla, officer of the City Solid Waste Management Office (CSWMO).
The San Pablo City CSWMO and the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) are collaborating in the implementation of the ordinance. These offices monitor the compliance of the business establishments, regardless of size, including the city wet market, SM City San Pablo, San Pablo City Shopping Mall and Ultimart Shopping Plaza, as well as fast food chains and restaurants around the city.
“That’s (reduction of garbage) good news for the city because it will prolong our use of our own sanitary landfill in Barangay Sto. Nino since less garbage is being dumped in it now,” Dennis Ramos of the CENRO added.
The two implementing bodies have also discussed the rules stated along with the ordinance description with the 80 barangay chairmen in the city. The barangay leaders have agreed on actively participating in the campaign of waste reduction and also, the proper waste segregation
Forty-one of these 80 barangays use their own trucks in the regular garbage collection and the rest are supported by CSWMO.
Collection of biodegradable waste is on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays while the non-biodegradable ones are on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The biodegradable waste are then recycled in the landfill and reproduced as fertilizers.
This city-wide implementation is leading residents to a high level of awareness on the need for responsible use of plastic.
“We may not have a total plastic-free city”, Ramos emphasized. “But at least we are exerting huge efforts to lessen the problem.”