By Prof. Julio O. Castillo, Jr., DBA

War on garbage: Continuous zero waste IEC program

 As our society continuously progresses through modernization, our world is facing a multitude of environmental challenges that include climate change, soil and forest degradation and pollution, among other issues. It is incumbent upon us to take steps toward protecting and preserving our environment for generations to come.

The global community, in recent years, has become more aware of the consequences of environmental degradation and waste mismanagement. The Philippines has been making strides towards enacting pro-environment programs. The Marcos administration's current environmental initiatives, focusing on resiliency and adaptation to the "new normal" of climate change have made significant headway in addressing these issues.

One of the most effective ways to preserve the environment is through proper waste management. Efficient waste management programs can influence positive changes in the environment and contribute to ecological sustainability toward a better future for our children and our planet. By reducing our overall consumption and by reusing and recycling our resources, we can ensure that we safeguard our environment. In doing so, we contribute to the government's programs and even support our local communities' initiatives that promote environmental protection and preservation.

The process of implementing the 3R's -- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle -- can practically go a long way in protecting our environment and natural resources.

Our personal commitment to implement 3R’s has led to the establishment of Project Luntian Cavite. Along with five of our neighbors at Barangay Pasong Kawayan 2 in General Trias, Cavite we organized said group in April of 2018 with the main purpose of educating the people in our community on the proper ways to handle and dispose of household wastes. From this small membership, we grew to over 400 active member volunteers who are seriously exerting efforts to care for the environment. In inspiring our community, it has resulted in the extension of our advocacy on the 3R’s IEC (information, education campaign) program in the entire Cavite province.

Our goal is to promote and implement the 3R’s under Republic Act 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000” that was enacted during the term of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

We adhere to the provisions of the said legislation to ensure the protection of public health and environment; utilize environmentally-sound methods that maximize the utilization of valuable resources and encourage resource conservation and recovery; set guidelines and targets for solid waste avoidance and volume reduction through source reduction and waste minimization measures, including composting, recycling, re-use, recovery, green charcoal process, and others, before collection, treatment and disposal in appropriate and environmentally sound solid waste management facilities in accordance with ecologically sustainable development principles; and to ensure the proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste through the formulation and adoption of the best environmental practice in ecological waste management excluding incineration, among others.

My personal advocacy for environmental sustainability started during PGMA’s term in Malacañang as an associate at the Malacañang Ecological Solid Waste Management Office (MESWMO) which she established. We coordinated with the members of the Malacañang League of Barangays (MALBAR) to conduct lectures on how to properly manage wastes and convert recyclables into income-generating projects.

Project Luntian Cavite was involved in extensive efforts for this cause through various activities in General Trias, Cavite. We conducted lectures and symposia in several locations and discussed the topic “zero-waste at source,” among others. Volunteerism and commitment to environmental protection was the main key to the success of such projects with proper recognition from the local government unit and the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of General Trias under the leadership of Dr. Renato Escurel.

This initiative went on as more and more groups from various areas of the province, LGUs and the private sector joined us in this noble cause. Eventually, the Akbay Kalikasan Environmental Society, Inc. (AKESI) / Project Luntian Cavite was established in the Municipality of Tanza Cavite in the year 2020. Our vision is to reach other areas in the country to involve more volunteers to achieve our goals. At present, AKESI have affiliates in the town of Minalin in Pampanga and Rosario, Batangas. The group is actively gaining support not only in the province of Cavite but in other provinces as well like Batangas, Paniqui and Pampanga.

The importance of implementing an efficient waste management program cannot be stressed enough. This program can significantly reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and reduce the negative impact on our environment. Simply put, it is a systematic approach to manage waste in a way that is environmentally sustainable.

The 3R is the cornerstones of a successful waste management program.

-- Reduce is to limit the use of commodities to the minimum necessary. This means that we should shun the temptation of overconsumption and let go of things we do not need.
-- Reuse is all about finding alternative ways to use a product before it is disposed of.
-- Recycle is transforming a discarded item to create new products that will be usable.

An effective waste management program should be anchored on pro-environment policies and programs. The Marcos administration has been proactive in promoting pro-environment programs such as renewable energy, biodiversity conservation and sustainable agriculture. It is essential to align waste management programs with these initiatives to ensure their success.

Environmental protection is everyone's responsibility. We must all do our part… all of us must be volunteers in advocating the 3R's and supporting pro-environment programs. The benefits will be immeasurable towards maintaining a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable world.

Let us all act now!

Let us embrace this change in lifestyle and do our part towards protecting and preserving the environment. We can make a difference and influence positive changes in the society and generally in our world.


About the Columnist

Image of Prof. Julio O. Castillo, Jr., DBA

Prof. Julio O. Castillo, Jr. is a Doctor in Business Administration, and academician of business management and entrepreneurship, university professor for graduate and undergraduate schools, academic research author, civil servant and advocate of good governance and transparency, environmentalist, and community servant.