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Balik Inang Kalikasan, Balik Amang Pabrika (BIKBAP) Program on Waste Recycling
For five years, residents of Carmona, Cavite have been harboring a grudge against Metro Manila. They wake up to the sight and stench of garbage from the metropolis that have found its way into their backyards.
This young community served as Metro Manila’s dumpsite for many years. Its residents not only suffered from the bad reputation but from diseases and other health hazard that came within the 63-hectare landfill their community hosts.
A move to close down the landfill in 1998 brought cold comfort to residents, when former president Joseph Estrada promptly ordered its reopening to give way to public clamor to solve Metro Manila’s garbage crisis.
But Carmona’s local government officials were undaunted, and saw opportunity emerged out of the garbage crisis.
The municipality used to have costly and ineffective solid waste management systems. There was a lack of direction and indiscriminate dumping of trash. Carmonians had grown indifferent to the sight of 80 to 100 truckloads of garbage being dumped on their community every week.
Local officials knew they could only succeed in mobilizing support from residents if they turn garbage into gold. Thus was born “Balik Inang Kalikasan, Balik Amang Pabrika (BIKBAP)”.
A massive information campaign on garbage disposal was first conducted. When residents saw Mayor Roy M. Loyola himself picking up trash on the street under the pouring rain, they immediately sprung to action.
The local government made it a policy not to force people to comply, and instead knocked on every door. Their appeal was simple: Let’s not make Carmona Metro Manila’s dumpsite.
The campaign focused on waste segregation from the source to lessen the cost. It also rallied people to support regular collection of garbage, composting of biodegradable waste, recovery and selling of recyclable material, and even to explore livelihood opportunities on waste recycling.
The local government has set aside P5 million for the program, a portion of which was used to establish the Carmona Ecology Center. The Center has now become a showcase of “good practice” in solid waste management in the country. An Organic Demo Farm helps visitors visualize the benefits of the program.
A “BIKBAP Gang” was formed, comprised of volunteers from different non-government organizations, religious groups and senior citizens who meet every month. They help enforce solid waste ordinances the local government adopted, go from house to house to campaign, and organize eco-tours and slogan-making contests.
Garbage collectors get to earn an additional P500 per week, selling recyclable material. Women are trained to recycle fine crafts and sell them for profit. Composts made out of segregated and processed garbage are sold to farmers and horticulturists.
Aside from earning cash from trash, Carmona residents can now boast of being one of the cleanest towns in Metro Manila.
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 2002 Galing Pook Awards.
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