“Ganito kami sa Makati!” is the proud declaration of not only the city government but also the residents who seem to be quite proud of what they have accomplished in the city. Among the more notable accomplishments is their collective effort to reduce solid waste.
After learning that 40% of Makati’s solid waste were recyclable materials which could be reduced, reused and recycled, the city government came up with their Solid Waste Diversion and Reduction Program which initially aimed to reduce solid waste by 25 percent within five years starting in 2003. The program was also designed to increase the income of indigent households who can earn cash by bringing recyclable materials to material recovery facilities. The program also aims to inculcate the importance of waste segregation and complement the efforts of the national government to address the critical situation of solid waste accumulation in the country.
The Waste Diversion and Reduction Program entailed various initiatives and projects that elicited support from various sectors. For instance the Ayala Foundation Inc. provided the seed fund and the venue for the implementation of the Baratilyo ng Basura. The Philippine Business for the Environment identified and tapped recyclers who will take part in the recyclables collection, while the City Government provided the logistics such as tents, transportation and secretariat services.
For the Baratilyo ng Basura sa Barangay, the Kapisanan ng mga Junkshop Operators sa Makati provided logistical support (i.e. supplies and materials, food, t-shirts, etc.) while the cluster barangay scheduled the event on a regular basis and provided the venue. The active participation of local communities in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of environmental programs and community plans imparted a sense of ownership, which helped ensure the sustainability of the program. Moreover, the application of performance measures in the implementation of the program provided vital information or feedback on how well the program worked.
The Barangay Solid Waste Segregation and Resource Recovery project focused on the development of ecological solid waste management in the barangays. The project sets the standards for waste segregation, recycling and composting, establishment of linkages with junkshops and livelihood cooperatives, enforcement and documentation. The Bantay Batang Basura project involved the installation of recycling and composting areas within 38 public schools in the city. Meanwhile, the 3B sa Pasko project entailed the recycling of solid waste materials into novelty items such as Christmas decor. This project was pursued in partnership with barangay livelihood committees, NGOs and other government offices. The Makiramay sa Kalinisan ng Ating Bayan program ensured that the collected wastes coming from four funeral parlors in the city are solid wastes and not mixed with toxic and hazardous wastes.
The Gulong Sulong sa Kalinisan project involves ambulant vendors or the informal sector in the segregation and waste reduction program. The Tsuper ng Bayan Kaakibat sa Kalinisan program required the installation of trash bins inside all public utility vehicles to prevent indiscriminate dumping of litter along the streets while the vehicle is in motion. The Weekend Waste Market provides convenient, accessible and regular drop-off areas and buying stations of recyclables for both traditional and non-traditional waste. The Baratilyo ng Basura sa Barangay is a barangay-level waste market that aims to improve collection of non-traditional wastes like computer monitors. This project is implemented in partnership with the Kapisanan ng Junkshop Operators sa Makati. Lastly, the City Hall Recyclables Collection Drive compels Makati City Hall employees to use both sides of papers to reduce paper consumption and acquisition cost for office supplies.
As a result of these complementary programs, the volume of solid wastes in Makati decreased overtime. The accumulated volume of wastes reduced from 2003 to 2008 is 2,590,842 cubic meters. Thus, the program was able to reduce 84,196 tons of equivalent carbon dioxide. Moreover, the program generated a total income of P9.14 million in 2008 for all sectors through the different projects implemented. Income generated from penalties paid by violators of the anti-littering law from 2003 to 2008 amounted to P4.05 million. The reduction in the volume of wastes translated into a gradual decrease in the number of garbage collection trips and lower cost of garbage collection and disposal in the past five years. From 159 trips daily in 2002, the number of trips per day went down to 128 in 2008.
Needless to say, the solid waste reduction and diversion program has increased the level of awareness on environmental issues of various sectors including the household, commercial, institutional, schools, and industrial sectors. The city’s Department of Environmental Services has 20 active environmental partners that support the implementation of solid waste management in the city. The Department of Education – Makati (DepEd) has already integrated environmental management, particularly ecological solid waste management in the basic curriculum of Makati Public Schools.
To ensure the program’s sustainability, enabling mechanisms have been institutionalized. These include a well-defined organizational structure, community participation, budgetary support as well as information dissemination. The active participation of the residents, stakeholders and civil society was harnessed through intensified information dissemination, consultations, barangay dialogues and monitoring to ensure that the implementation of the program remains robust.
The success of the project has generated interest from local as well as international institutions. It was presented as best practice to local government units as well as a destination of the Lakbay-Aral program. On October 8, 2008, the program was presented by the city mayor to an audience in Washington, DC in connection with the International Risk Reduction Day, Climate Resilient Cities Primer. It was also presented to the American Chamber of Commerce on August 12, 2008 and in Bacolod City on May 27-28, 2009 in line with the Kitakyushu Initiatives for a Clean Environment, National Conference on Solid Waste Management. Visitors from Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Japan have also studied the program. Perhaps, soon, other cities will also be able to proclaim that they also do things much better at least in terms of reducing, recycling and reusing solid waste.