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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.