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CEBU, Philippines – Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama has made a bold promise to achieve “zero waste” before June 12, Independence Day, as he addressed constituents during the Solid Waste Convergence meeting at the Cebu City Hall.
This was the mayor’s vow to constituents who attended the Solid Waste Convergence meeting at the Cebu City Hall on Friday, May 12, a commitment that reiterated a pronouncement he made during the commemoration of the 146th Vicente Sotto Day on April 18.
At the convergence meeting, barangay officials, representatives of homeowner associations, and school administrators shared their concerns and ideas on how to address the city’s ongoing garbage problem.
Much of the problem is due the increasing size of the communal waste and difficulty in the collection and disposal of garbage in some areas of the city.
While some residents expressed doubt it can be done given the tight timeline for achieving zero waste in Cebu, the mayor asserted that it is attainable.
“If everybody will be helping, why not? If God will be with us, who will be against us,” Rama said.
The garbage plan
Emma Ramas, the special assistant to the mayor for solid waste management, presented the Cebu City Solid Waste Management Plan that laid down key strategies for achieving zero waste for the city.
One of the major solutions presented includes the installation of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs). These facilities sort recyclables from garbage, and process reusable materials that can be transformed into sellable products.
City Hall plans to install MRFs in barangays, subdivisions, schools, churches, and even private establishments in hopes that it would encourage all residents to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
The city also intends to train its employees and scholars how to produce compost and conduct their gardening at home.
“The key to success is really that we train people to compost at home so they can appreciate the conversion of this waste into a resource, the compost, which can be used to grow their own food,” Ramas said.
‘Yes, we can!’
Grace Declines, a housewife and member of the Barangay Pahina Central Homeowners Association, told Rappler that she was optimistic that local communities would conduct their at-home composting and even hold training seminars on urban gardening with the right help.
“Kung naa jud mu-organize, pwede kaayo… Within three days nga magtagud-tagud sa mga waste kay naa na ta’y fertilizer. Kung buhaton na nato, okay kaayo (If there will be organizers, it’s definitely possible… Within three days of cutting up waste, we can get some fertilizer. If we do that, it’ll be great),” Declines said.
During the early period of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said her husband started his garden as a hobby, eventually becoming a “plantito.” But as soon as pandemic restrictions were lifted and workers returned to their offices, she said her husband stopped the hobby.
Currently, Declines said she is taking care of the garden and has been encouraging family members to learn about composting and planting from time to time. – Rappler.com
John Sitchon is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.