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Odor-free, profitable garbage in Samal Island (Can this be done in Zambo?)


In the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte, the sanitary landfill that accommodates the growing city’s plastic waste does not smell. Moreover, this garbage could even be worth a lot of money.

So how did they do it?

According to Renato Latras, a labor foreman working for the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), the key is very simple: discipline.

“People in Samal Island are very disciplined. We religiously segregate our garbage in our homes, offices, everywhere. The local government in turn strictly enforces the ‘no segregation, no collection’ policy,” Latras shares.

Biodegradables are separated from the non-biodegradables by residents. Recyclable plastic wastes are collected by the garbage trucks and then brought to the landfill, which actually forms part of a wastewater treatment facility.

“People from the nearby communities can get sick if their water becomes contaminated by the landfill. This is why we made sure to install a pipe beneath the landfill that directs the wastewater to a treatment facility,” he said.

And the non-smell?

Latras explains that foul smell is created when liquids mix with biodegradable materials. That is why it is very important to maintain waste segregation, and the residents, said Latras are well-educated about this. The local government has not been not concerned about  going after litter bugs and violators because the people practice waste management by heart. Instead,  it  focuses on more profitable innovations.

Samal City seems to have thought it all out. But another good thing here is exploring profitable opportunities. A private company has expressed interest to invest in Samal’s plastic waste, to recycle it into plastic products. The recycling industry is expected to be worth $40-billion, or over P2-trillion by 2020 in the global market.

Recently, the Environmental Management Bureau brought local environmental and barangay officials from Zamboanga City to Samal to study these practices in solid waste management and water quality management, in the hope of replicating these observations locally.

Zamboanga City now has a population of over 861,799 as per 2016  data  from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and local officials have shown concern over the increase in the  volume of waste.

For now, the city government has been enforcing solid waste management ordinances, conducting massive clean-up drives and apprehending “litter-bugs” while doing continuous information and education campaigns in the communities. (ALT/DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City)

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