BALAK (Basura Atras, Linamon Abante sa Kalamboan) Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) Program
The fifth-class municipality of Linamon, Lanao del Norte used to be among the dirtiest in the province. A common attitude among residents was that garbage disposal is not their problem; it was the government’s.
Such was the situation when Cherlito R. Macas became mayor. He says the municipal government was not lacking in policies. In fact, the “Basura Atras, Linamon Abante sa Kalamboan”, its centerpiece program on solid waste management, was launched as early as 1998.
But the program took a backseat. Outright violation of ordinances on solid waste disposal was taking its toll on municipal rivers and mangrove areas, and on the health of children and other residents exposed to the open dumpsite.
The municipal government launched an information campaign, which took five months. The program’s objectives were also integrated into pre-marriage counseling services and the processing of business permits.
The local government also attracted support by advocating the concept of converting trash into cash. Residents earned extra money from segregating their garbage. Supplementing the information campaign was a “fine system” that penalized residents for non-compliance with rules.
The local government also acquired a dump truck to improve garbage collection, enhanced facilities in the temporary dumpsite, put up a recycling center, and extended technical assistance to households and establishments in constructing their own mini compost pits.
It was not long before the dirtiest municipality became an example of a clean city to other areas. “Our garbage are now beautiful,” says Mayor Macas.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 2002 Galing Pook Awards.