Waste Management Essay
Background of the Study
RA 9003, otherwise known as the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000,” mandates that segregation and collection of solid waste at source shall be conducted at the barangay level specifically for biodegradable, compostable and recyclable wastes, and that the respective cities and municipalities shall promote initiatives in the community to undertake waste segregation and collection at source pursuant to the spirit of the law. Complementing this provision, the law mandates that “collection of non-recyclable materials and special wastes shall be the responsibility of the municipality or city” (Section 10, RA 9003). These mandates are defined in accordance with the Local Government Code (RA7160).
Recently, the city of Manila enacted City Ordinance No. 7876 which provides measures for the proper segregation of trash. Under this ordinance, all waste materials belong to either one of the following groups: biodegradable (nabubulok), non-biodegradable (di-nabubulok), and residual. Each category of garbage is, in turn, collected by the city service at specified days of the week.
Rizal Technological University (RTU) for its part, has taken a number of steps toward improving its own waste management system. An Environmental Research Department has been established to research and implement feasible systems for garbage collection and segregation.
In RTU-Mandaluyong, biodegradable and non-biodegradable garbage are being segregated into separate trash bins. Recently, (2012) Rizal Technological University joined the National Search for the Most Eco-Friendly School, a program evaluating the school environmental programs, energy conservation projects, water utilization systems and garbage disposal policies.
In addition, the University’s Environmental Research Department implemented “No Plastic Policy”, which started last 2010, strictly imposing the regulation of disposable plastic materials among the students, faculty and the university canteen and food stores (as cited in RTU annual accomplishment report).
However, in spite of these measures, the University is still lagging behind in doing something for management of solid waste. This study will give us an outlook of the current status of the university’s Solid Waste Management Program.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Impacts of Rapid Population Growth and Urbanization on Waste Management As human population increases, the rapid depletion of natural resources is happening in all nations and significantly straining the quality of the planet’s water, soil, and air, thus directly contributing to environmental deterioration. It is estimated that the Earth’s renewable natural resources has declined by over thirty percent over the last thirty years while the demands on them has increased by fifty percent. Hence, sustainability is a problem. (Torres, 2010)
This environmental deterioration is made worse by urbanization and advancements in societies brought about by technology. Whenever something is thrown out or is considered to be waste, resources are lost. This call for the extraction of more natural resources to replenish our society’s never ending need for more products. Inevitably, these new products are used and eventually thrown away as waste and the cycle continues. As our waste piles up to infinity, the earth’s natural resources only become more noticeably finite. (Baula, 2010)
A factor that could worsen the environmental crisis is the increasing accumulation of solid wastes which either have no counterpart in nature or which have not been properly disposed (Arias, 1998). Solid wastes have been identified as one of the most important environmental problems of urbanization. For an urban center with rapid urban migration, poor solid waste management practices are considered as disastrous activities. (Ballados, 2010)
Based on estimates, waste generation in Asia has reached 1 million tons per day. Solid-waste management has become an important issue in the Asia-Pacific region, and it needs to be resolved through an integrated community, private sector, and policy-based approach. (Asian Productivity Organization, 2007)
In the Philippines, the national population continues to increase in an accelerating rate and it is the “sixteenth most populous, out of more than 190 countries”. (Magalona and Malayang, 2001). The country’s population exhibited a huge increase from 27 million in the 1960’s to 88.57 million in 2007. (Espaldon and Baltazar, 2011).
Aside from increasing population, the rapid urbanization also contributes to the country’s problem of waste. With the increasing population particularly in the urban areas, the amount of solid waste generated per day also increases. The unit generation rate of solid waste in the country ranges between 0.30 to 0.70kg per capita per day for rural and urban communities respectively. (NSWMC, 2005)
The lack of opportunities and extreme poverty in the countryside has forced the rural dwellers to seek better living in the urban areas. Infrastructure in the country is mostly focused on the NCR and this hinders the local and regional development. Due to unmanaged urbanization in Metro Manila and other urban cities, the country is facing a lot of problems such as pollution, inadequate water supply, high unemployment and crime rates, emergence of squatters, traffic congestion and inefficient waste disposal (Mangahas, 2006).
There is a further and more direct consequence to the continual accumulation of waste. The figurative term “buried in garbage” manifested itself literally in the Payatas tragedy in Quezon City. Payatas is a 12-hectare dumpsite that is inhabited by around 311,500 people who make a living from scavenging and selling trash. Two typhoons that hit Metro Manila loosened the mountain of garbage and in the morning of July 10, 2000, it eventually came crashing down on an estimated 300 shanties, killing 224 people. The dumpsite was temporarily closed. Six months after the disaster, having no alternative dump sites, the Payatas dumpsite was reopened (Bildan, 2003 as cited in Baula, 2005).
Besides the threat to our lives, indiscriminate dumping has led to streets being lined with trash and to the flooding of our urban dwellings. Health is threatened when canals, clogged by garbage, become breeding grounds for insects that bring about diseases like cholera and dengue. Respiratory diseases are also brought about by the burning of garbage in our backyards. Landfills produce methane gas which is a potent greenhouse gas. (Baula, 2005)
Policies on Solid Waste Management
The continuing degradation of the environment has captured the attention of concerned citizens around the globe. In the past decades, the Philippine government has implemented several measures to protect the environment and the health of the people from the hazards caused by improper waste disposal. Even in the earlier regulations, proper collection and disposal of wastes and the provision of penalties for non-compliance were already emphasized. (Ocenar 2001)
The Philippine government has recognized the severity of the garbage problem and has prioritized the establishment of appropriate measures to address it. The most comprehensive piece of legislation is the Republic Act (RA) 9003, known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which assigns the primary task of implementation and enforcement to LGUs. It emphasizes the importance of minimizing waste by using techniques such as recycling, resource recovery, reuse, and composting (Guzman, 2013). Under RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, the Philippine LGUs shall be primarily responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this Act within their respective jurisdictions.
Segregation and collection of solid waste shall be conducted at the barangay level specifically for biodegradable, compostable and reusable wastes provided, that the collection of non-recyclable materials and special wastes shall be the responsibility of the municipality or city (Section 10 of RA 9003 as cited in Ballados, 2010) The barangay shall be responsible for the collection, segregation, recycling of biodegradable, recyclable, compostable and reusable wastes. Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) will be established in every barangay or cluster of barangays (Section 1 of Rule XI of the IRR 9003).
Other policies include PD 825 Garbage Disposal Law, PD 984 Pollution Control Law, PD 1151 Phil. Environmental Policy and other regulatory policies and local government ordinances like the hiwa-hiwalay na basura sa barangay under the local government code (Atienza 2011).
Role of Educational Institutions to Solid Waste Management
According to a study by Hagos in 2008, integration of environmental education in selected curricular programs is very important especially for a developing country like the Philippines. Students must become ―earth-friendly‖ and commit to environmentally sound lifestyle. They must also recognize interdependence in a global village‖ and be prepared to contribute to it.
Former President Fidel V. Ramos signed Executive Order No. 15 that answers the call for global action on the state of the environment. He created the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development that adopted the Philippine Agenda 21which takes a balanced and integrated approach to development issues by incorporating sustainable development principles and concepts aligned with the national priorities of the government. (Rabago 2008)
One of the strategies of Philippine Agenda 21 is the promotion of environmental education, information and public awareness. This strategy reinforces P.D. 1152 or the Philippine Environment Code of 1977 that mandates the integration of environmental education into the core curriculum of all academic levels. (Dejarme 2009)
This started the existing programs and activities of schools and higher education institutions and the integration of environmental science subjects in tertiary education level.
School Based Solid Waste Management is being practiced in varying degrees in a number of schools throughout Metro Manila. Quezon City had launched the “Green School Brigade” program where students from six public elementary schools were encouraged to bring recyclable wastes and take them to their schools in exchange for school supplies or grocery items (Reganit, 2008 as cited in Baula, 2005). Marikina City instituted the “Eco Savers” program in 2004, requiring students from 18 public elementary schools to bring recyclable garbage from their households to their schools (Best Practices, 2007). Thirty-six schools in Makati City had also been chosen to engage in waste segregation (Recycling, 2008 as cited in Baula, 2005).
Private companies, as part of their social obligation, also pushed efforts towards waste management campaign. Samsung Electronics Philippines Manufacturing Corporation in partnership with Toyota Autoparts Inchad chosen one hundred students from five partner schools were chosen as participants to the training program. The partner-schools include: Emilio Aguinaldo Integrated School, Isaac Lopez Integrated School, Bonifacio Javier National High School, Eulogio Rodriguez Vocational High School, and Rizal Experimental Pilot School for Cottage Industries.
After the training, the schools’ waste management programs were monitored and evaluated for a period of six months, from August 2006 to April 2007. The LGUs in Bulacan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Sorsogon followed suit and had replicated the program., Samsung Electronics Philippines Manufacturing Corp. in Calamba, Laguna, and Toyota Autoparts Inc. in Sta. Rosa, Laguna (Aguinaldo, 2008 as cited in Baula, 2005).
Higher educational institutions (universities and colleges) also started their waste management projects. A good example is De LaSalle University, which established their Waste Minimization Campaign last September 2005. They conducted orientation and seminar regarding the project with the participation of the university concessionaires, housekeeping department, grounds department, dormitory occupants, office secretary/clerks staff, faculty, student leaders and school administrators. They agreed to do a policy regarding the use of disposable plastic materials within the university. DLSU also designated September as their “Clean-Up Month” (DLSU Environmental Resource Management Center, 2005).
RTU’s Garbage Disposal Policies
Rizal Technological University, similar to other local and foreign universities, has some sort of waste reduction/prevention program.
Recently, (2012) Rizal Technological University joined the National Search for the Most Eco-Friendly School, a program evaluating the school environmental programs, energy conservation projects, water utilization systems and garbage disposal policies.
The university highlighted its “No Plastic Policy”, which started last 2010, strictly imposing the regulation of disposable plastic materials among the students, faculty and the university canteen and food stores (as cited in RTU annual accomplishment report). RTU also practice trash segregation, separating waste as degradable and non-degradable. However, non-compliance to these policies was observed among RTU population.
Significance of the Study
Using document reviews and key informant interviews, the study’s goal is to draw out strength and weakness of the university’s solid waste management and identify the best practices or possible advancement on how RTU’s SWM could be improved. In addition, the study can be used for improvement of existing policies with regards to solid waste management.
The study aims to know the current status of solid waste management status in RTU.
Objectives of the Study
This case study would like to seek answers to the following: How long has it been since the program (SWM) started?
Is the program being sustained over the past few years?
What advancement has been made to help the program?
How is RTU’s program compared with others’?
The qualitative research method was used in this research study particularly the case study type of research investigation. The purpose of this type of research is to describe objectively the nature of the situation under study.
Unstructured questionnaire was used as one of the data collection methods. This questionnaire was used to collect information from the Environmental Research Department through an interview regarding waste management services and practices for RTU.
Data are based from our interview with Prof. Marita Geroy, in-charge of the Environmental Research Laboratory, and Dr. Ruth Guzman, chairman of the Environmental Research Committee.
Solid Waste Management Programs of other universities and municipalities were also obtained for study and comparison purposes.
Permissions from the Environmental Research Department were sought prior to the conduct of interviews. Interviews would involve Prof. Marita Geroy, in-charge of the Environmental Research Laboratory, and Dr. Ruth Guzman, chairman of the Environmental Research Committee.
Gathered data will be presented and will be compared with other school-based solid waste management program.
Rizal Technological University started its solid waste management program way back 2004 when Dr. Marivic De Guzman, the Director of Auxiliary services then, created an Ecology Center and funded a composting bioreactor for biodegradable waste. After five years, Dr. Ulysses Lim took in charge of the Auxiliary Services (2009) and implemented the distribution of garbage bags within the university and tarpaulin posters informing the students to dispose their trash properly. On the same year, the RTU administration decided to dissolve the Department of Auxiliary Services and transfer the responsibilities to (BAO) Business Affairs Office. BAO continued to distribute garbage bags but decided to stop the operation of the university’s bioreactor because of maintenance difficulties.
In 2010, under Research and Development Center, an Environmental Research Committee was instituted. It was headed by Dr. Ruth Guzman. Part of the Environmental Research Committee is the establishment of Environmental Research Laboratory with Prof. Marita Geroy to supervise the facility. They decided to segregate trash by putting labels on the garbage bags as to “biodegradable” and “non-biodegradable”. With the supervision of Dr. Ruth Guzman, the Chairperson of Environmental Committee, a Proposed Project for Waste Management was presented to the school administration. However, the said proposal was not given that much attention and is still not approved by the school officials.
A study conducted by Geroy and Meneses in 2010 showed that students are aware of waste management but they do not follow the existing policies because segregation was not strictly reinforced within the university.
Last 2012, RTU joined the National Search for the Most Eco-Friendly School highlighting its “No Plastic Policy” which was also imposed n the same year. The policy includes the regulation on the use of plastic (plastic cups) within the promenade, university canteen and food kiosk. It also banned the use of Styrofoam materials inside the campus.
According to the Environmental Committee, waste generation reduction has been observed through the existing policies. However, comparing it with other schools, they are still not satisfied with the RTU’s waste management.
RTU’s SWM: STRENGTH
Since 2004, the university has been consistent in pushing waste management policies within the university. The establishment of the university’s Environmental Research Committee strengthened the existing waste management policies. Information dissemination has been done through the use of informative tarpaulins and trash bags labeling.
RTU’s SWM: WEAKNESS
Proposed projects are available, but financial resources are not. Compliance depends on implementation. Segregation is not strictly implemented. The university is aware of existing waste segregation. Polotical will is lacking among the students.
Compared with DLSU (LaSalle) system, RTU is lagging behind solid waste management. DLSU implemented its Total Waste Segregation through its Solid Waste Management Task Force. They observed significant results on the reduction of their waste management (cited in DLSU Solid Waste Management Report). They also designated 100 janitors and 15 gardeners working for the cleanliness and beautification of the campus.
An annual forum, comprising of the school administrators, deans of different colleges and departments, students faculty member and spearheaded by the Buildings and Grounds Maintenance Department and the Solid Waste Management Task Force, is being held to present reports and proposals regarding solid waste management. This kind of programs can also be adopted by RTU for the improvement of the existing policies. Information are based from our interview with Prof. Marita Geroy, in-charge of the Environmental Research Laboratory, and Dr. Ruth Guzman, chairman of the Environmental Research Committee.
From the results, we concluded the following:
The university’s present waste management is focused on segregation. Awareness among the students regarding segregation is noted. But non-compliance is observed.
RTU should look into other schools program and make them guidelines for better policy making and program implementation. The university can adopt other schools’ system regarding waste management. The university should have separate Solid Waste Management Department for better monitoring of solid waste
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