By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Cynthia Villar said Friday that waste management and recycling efforts should continue despite the enhanced community quarantine being imposed in Luzon and other parts of the country.
The chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources said this would prevent additional health and sanitation problems amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We continue to generate waste even if we are under quarantine. Garbage will pile up if these are not collected and overwhelm our landfills if not properly segregated and recycled,” Villar said in a statement.
She specifically stressed the need to properly manage used masks and gloves, and other hazardous waste which could easily mix with household wastes.
She said local government units to “implement environmentally-sound practices alongside measures battling the spread of COVID-19.”
Villar cited as an example her bailiwick Las Piñas City, composting and recycling facilities still operate to manage the city’s waste.
This was also used as a measure to continue to provide livelihood to residents.
According to the lawmaker, “bio-men” or their barangay-employed collectors of kitchen wastes, continue to bike around the city. Their kitchen waste collections are turned over to composting and vermi-composting centers in their villages to be converted into organic fertilizers.
“In a month, we produce 70 tons of fertilizer and give them out to farmers in nearby provinces. In Metro Manila, there are also urban gardeners and vegetable farmers who benefit from this free farm input,” Villar said.
Meanwhile, collected soft plastics such as food wrappers were recycled into plastic chairs. Waste coconut husks were also also collected to be turned into coconet and charcoal.
“Our composting and recycling projects helped us recycle 70 percent of waste and enabled us to save on garbage hauling services. This is very important especially now that garbage collection can no longer be brought to the landfill in Montalban, Rizal because of quarantine measures,” she said.
Villar, on the other hand, maintained that workers live and operate on spacious areas where social distancing can be easily observed.