Bustos Zero Waste Management Through Total Recycling
A medical doctor by profession, the local chief executive of Bustos, a 4th class municipality, saw the ill effects of an unsanitary environment. The Local Health Board was mobilized to conduct a comprehensive set of activities creating awareness on the importance of health, environment and nutrition. Major activities undertaken were: community assemblies, zonal dialogue, household teachings, massive educational campaigns on cleanliness and waste management, town-wide implementation, monitoring, evaluation and recognition. The concerted action of the local chief executive, the local health board, school children, citizens, NGOs and private sectors made up a fabric of social response supportive of environmental cleanliness, protection and preservation. Thirteen (13) satellite health stations were established and 260 health workers-volunteers were deputized to reinforce the implementation of banner activities.
Classification of wastes and converting such wastes into productive and useful products benefited all of the municipality's 14 barangays. Initially, a pilot barangay was chosen and the residents were organized into “purok” or clusters. Training on waste management and recycling were conducted by health workers in each cluster. Cluster activities included; 1) construction of compost pits from tires; 2) construction of storage bins for garbage classified into paper, plastic bottle, styrofoam and metals; 3) maintenance of cleanliness in yards and the streets; 4) planting vegetables, trees, and flowers in the garden; 5) motivating other residents to join the movement. The income derived from sale of recovered/ recycled garbage were divided among the cluster members. Ecology training centers were also put-up for the production of organic fertilizer. The philosophy “ang malinis na pamayanan ay malusog” (“a clean community is a healthy community”) and success stories of “may pera sa basura” (“there's money in wastes") regained the people's role as stewards of the environment. Recovery and recycling of wastes became an alternative source of livelihood to the community.
The program launched in 1993 has improved sanitation and beautification of the entire municipality resulting in improved health conditions of its residents. Bustos pioneered the implementation of zero waste management in the province of Bulacan.
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 1998 Galing Pook Awards.