'KOLEK, KILO, KITA'. Residents fall in line waiting for their turn to weigh their plastic wastes at the launch of the 'Kolek, Kilo, Kita para Walastik na Maynila' on Saturday (Oct. 26, 2019). Under the program, residents will get PHP10 worth of homecare products from Unilever Philippines for every kilo of collected plastic wastes. (PNA photo by Lade Kabagani)

MANILA -- The Manila City government, in partnership with the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) and various private companies, on Saturday launched an incentivized plastic waste collection program as part of efforts to address the country's waste problem and save Pasig River from pollution.

Manila Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna said the community-based program dubbed as 'Kolek, Kilo, Kita para Walastik na Maynila' aims to maintain a healthy relationship among residents, the local government unit (LGU) and private partners in protecting the environment.

"Residents here are encouraged to collect their light plastic wastes and surrender it to the Unilever Philippines, every kilo of plastic waste corresponds a PHP10 worth of Unilever's home care products as their incentive," Lacuna said.

"This is (a) partnership along with (Mayor Isko Moreno's) Pera sa Basura Program, the residents will be compensated but not in (monetary form). Instead, they will be getting usable products," she added.

Lacuna reiterated Mayor Isko Moreno's call for proper waste disposal and solid waste management.

Unilever Philippines chairman and chief executive officer Benjie Yap said collection centers are installed in every barangay accessible to the residents.

The collection of the plastic waste materials will be twice or once a month depending on the agreed schedules of a certain barangay and Unilever counterparts.

Yap added the company will be accepting plastic waste products-regardless of its brand, as long as these are recyclable.

"To make sure that plastics will not end up in the oceans and landfills instead will be converted into fuel, residents can also benefit from the product incentives. So we are appealing to everyone to support this program," he said.

Unilever Philippines has been doing the same measure through its Misis Walastik program where single-use sachets are converted into chairs, cement pavers and fuel for energy.

'WALASTIK NA MAYNILA'. The city goverment of Manila launches the pilot of the widest incentivized plastic waste collection "Kolek, Kilo, Kita para walastik sa Maynila" program on Oct. 26 at the 18 Covered Court, Barangay 128 Zone 10, Balut, Tondo. (PNA photo by Lade Kabagani)

Meanwhile, Renato Sunio, president of Republic Cement, said everybody has a crucial role in environmental protection.

"Our part in this endeavor is to help lessen community waste products going to the garbage landfills, the Republic Cement supports the program by contributing to the recycling process," he said.

All collected plastic wastes from Unilever Philippines will be transferred to Cemex and Republic Cement for an alternative waste management solution in which plastic wastes are converted into fuels.

"We call it co-processing, we will be collecting waste products that can be burned to create cement, that's our contribution to the environment," Sunio added.

In cement kiln co-processing, plastic materials are burned to a temperature as high as 1,400 degrees Celsius.

When processed, raw products, such as calcium carbonate, silica along with fuel processed into a kiln, create cement.

Sunio envisioned a waste-free Manila through collection and recycling waste products.

Meanwhile, barangay chairman Bobby Hernan of Balut, Tondo admitted discipline is important to achieve an environmental-friendly community.

"We are not only maintaining cleanliness in the area, but we also help our residents to gain from this program," Hernan said.

Every last Saturday of the month, barangay officials collect plastic wastes from the residents, he said.

The program was piloted at 36 barangays of Tondo and Punta, Sta. Ana. It would also be done at the creek-nearby (estero) communities based on the PRRC's recommendations.

Based on the 2017 Solid Waste Report of the Senate Economic Planning Office (SEPO), the country's waste generation increased to 40,087.45 tons in 2016 with an estimated average per capita waste generation of 0.40 kilograms per day.

The report also said the National Capital Region generated 9,212.92 tons of solid waste per day in 2016. (PNA)