'TRAPALIT': Where do campaign tarps go? In Biñan, they end up in gardens, fish hatchery

Published May 20, 2022, 2:42 PM

by Carla Bauto Deña

BIÑAN CITY, Laguna – Where do campaign tarpaulins go now that the election is over and they have served their purpose?

Here in Biñan City, they get a reincarnation – as seedling bags and breeding containers for fish.

Tomato seedlings in seedling bags made of recycled campaign tarpaulins (Carla Bauto Deña / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Office of the City Agriculturist has recently launched a program called Trapalit. For every tarpaulin donated to the office, the donor gets a vegetable seedling, a set of vegetable seeds, and a bag of fertilizer.

Vermicast and vegetable seeds distributed by Biñan City Agriculture Office in exchange for campaign tarpaulins (Carla Bauto Deña / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Kasama rin sa conservation and preservation initiatives ng aming opisina. At least, hindi na madagdagan ang basura, makabawas, and then beneficial pa (It’s part of the conservation and preservation initiatives of our office. At least, we lessen waste and use it for something beneficial),” City Agriculturist Antonio P. Aguilar told the Manila Bulletin in an interview on Friday, May 20.

Some of the tarpaulins are sewed into small bags used to distribute vegetable seedlings.

Seedling bags made of recycled campaign tarpaulins (Carla Bauto Deña / MANILA BULLETIN)

Bigger pieces, on the other hand, are attached to plastic crates and are used to breed ornamental fish such as swordtail, guppy, and molly. Fish Sector Agricultural Technologist Dennis Caponpon Dechetan explained that their office breeds fish for aquaponics.

A fish breeding container made of recycled campaign tarpaulin and a plastic crate (Carla Bauto Deña / MANILA BULLETIN)

Alongside the in-house tarpaulin upcycling program, the office will also donate a part of the collected tarps to Anahaw Laguna, which turns them into farming items, such as rice drying mats.

A boom in urban agriculture during the pandemic

The agriculture office has seen a spike in home gardening since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, they have recorded a 300 percent increase in requests for gardening materials since 2020.

“Nagkaroon na ng initiative ang tao, let’s say survival mode, na meron silang makukunan ng food na hindi bibili. Kukunin na lang from their own backyard (People had the initiative, let’s say survival mode, to have a food source and they would not need to buy. They can get if from their own backyard),” city agriculturist Aguilar said.