TRASH TO TREASURE. Workers are seen in this undated photo segregating garbage at the Central Materials Recovery Facility of the Dumaguete City government. Environmental Management Bureau-Central Visayas (EMB-7) regional director William Cuñado and Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo led Thursday (March 24, 2022) the formal inauguration of the facility in Barangay Candauay in the Negros Oriental capital. (Photo courtesy of Lupad Dumaguete Facebook page/City PIO)

DUMAGUETE CITY – The city government’s Central Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) that converts trash into useful by-products has earned the approval of a key Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) official who wanted the facility to be part of the National Ecological Center.

“I would like to ask our DENR Secretary Jim Sampulna to give a commendation to Mayor (Felipe Antonio) Remollo and the City Council for a job well done. And not only that, but I would also like to recommend this place as part of the National Ecological Center to train the waste sorters how to improve their skills,” William Cuñado, director of the Environmental Management Bureau-DENR (EMB-DENR), said during Thursday’s inauguration of the facility here.

Cuñado and Remollo led other DENR and city officials during the formal inauguration of the facility situated in Barangay Candau-ay, a media release from the City Hall said midnight Thursday.

The DENR official lauded the mayor and the Sangguniang Panglungsod for putting up the “first MRF in the Philippines” that generates a PHP500,000 monthly income and provides a livelihood for waste-pickers through “proper and sustainable solid waste management.”

The city's MRF is part of the eight-hectare Eco-Park Solid Waste Processing Facility, which is also a recipient of the plastic-to-chair recycling equipment, glass pulverizer, bio-shredder, and bio-composters from the DENR.

Meanwhile, Paquito D. Melicor Jr. Regional Executive Director of DENR Central Visayas (Region 7), said he was inspired by how the city, under Remollo’s helm, managed to close the open dumpsite last March 30, 2021, and was able to establish the MRF in so short a time.

The DENR had repeatedly sent closure notices to the city government to shut down the open dumpsite, which was operating for about 30 years, in Barangay Candauay despite it already being outlawed in the country, and establish the mandated sanitary landfill instead.

While the city could not yet find a suitable place for the sanitary landfill, Remollo instead established the MRF to immediately attend to the city’s garbage collection woes.

The facility not only segregates garbage but also treats them to prevent the emergence of infectious diseases.

The DENR officials from the Central and Regional Offices were toured around the facility to see the machines already operating inside the City MRF.

The MRF has the following: a pyrolysis gasification equipment that turns solid wastes into construction materials like hollow blocks and bricks and pavers to be used in infrastructure projects; plastic shredder and densifiers; bio-shredders and composters to convert solid wastes into organic fertilizer, soil conditioner, and mulch to improve plant growth; glass pulverizer/shredder, and plastic recycling equipment that can convert plastic wastes into chairs. (PNA)