DENR underscores role of brgys in zero-waste drive

By Roi Lomotan

Engr. Marco Andrew Silveron of the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR-CENRO II)  underscores the important role of barangay officials in minimizing solid wastes during a briefing with public information officers held on Jan. 23, 2020 at NORECO-II Office in Dumaguete City. (PIA7-NegOr)

If solid waste is managed correctly, only five percent of these will go to final disposal facilities.

Engr. Marco Andrew Silveron of the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR-CENRO II) here cited this in a briefing with members of the Association of Negros Oriental Public Information Officers (ANOPIO) recently.

The DENR officer was there to promote the department’s zero waste advocacy and also tackle the role of Local Government Units (LGUs) in raising awareness about this endeavor to their constituents.

Silveron said the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act emphasizes waste segregation and volume reduction at the source noting that it should begin at the household level.

He added the law calls for efficient garbage collection, waste diversion, and waste disposal systems and these responsibilities fall on the LGUs including the barangays.

“According to Republic Act 9003, mao ni ang mandate sa barangay level. Pinakadako gyud ang role ng barangay sa management of solid waste kay dinhi man magsugod sa ilaha ang pag-segregate, collection, and diversion. Ang sa city (or municipality) only ang disposal (The barangay has the most important role in management of solid waste because segregation, collection, and diversion of wastes should start here. The city or municipal government’s role is to dispose the waste. This is the mandate to the barangay as per R.A. 9003. ),” Silveron noted.

“Mao na ang barangay gyud, magsige mi ug enforce ug implement their ordinances, their policies kay sila man naa gyud power. Dagko man gyud power ang barangay compared to mayor. Ang barangay mismo silay naa authority, naa’y direct contact sa ilang area of jurisdiction, sa mga household so kinahanglan ma-implement nila (We really push the barangays to implement their ordinances or their policies because they have more power compared to the mayor. The barangays have direct contact with their households or area of jurisdiction. They really have to implement it),” he added.

R.A. 9003 also mandates barangays to establish and operate Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) for the efficient solid waste management systems.

MRFs are used for the final sorting, segregation of wastes, composting, recycling, and transferring of resulting residual wastes to a long-term storage or disposal facility.

However, Silveron said the reality is that only 10 percent of the barangays in Negros Oriental have functional MRFs.

In Dumaguete City, only five barangays have functioning MRFs and while there are barangays in Negros Oriental that have MRFs, some of them are used as temporary pig pens or for other purposes.

Silveron said notices were sent to barangays that are not compliant with the proper use of MRFs and they are following the due process in addressing this concern.

Meanwhile, the law states that “local government officials and officials of government agencies concerned who fail to comply with and enforce rules and regulations promulgated relative to this Act shall be charged administratively in accordance with R.A. 7160 and other existing laws, rules and regulations.”

With this, Silveron reiterated the importance of complying with the law.

He said R.A. 9003 has been enacted for 17 years and yet only 30 percent of the law has been enforced over the years.

He also warned that if improper waste management practices would still continue, it would lead to various negative effects such as contamination of water, air pollution, flooding, and sickness to humans.

As per the 2010 data of the DENR-Environment Management Bureau, the number of per capita waste generation in the Philippines is pegged at 0.40 kg per capita per day.

“I think 137,000 na daw ang (population) sa Dumaguete City. Imagine pila na ang volume of waste. Mao nang potential generation of waste sa Dumaguete alone (I think the population in Dumaguete City is now at 137,000. Imagine how much volume of waste generated in Dumaguete City alone),” Silveron told ANOPIO members.

Dgte eyes add’l MRFs in brgys

By Jennifer C. Tilos

A sample of a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Photo courtesy of City PIO/PIA7-NegOr

Dumaguete City government is calling on the barangays here to establish their own Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF) with the possibility of funding their construction to ensure a more sustainable Solid Waste Management program.

Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo has started the implementation of the Safe Closure and Rehabilitation Plan of the Candau-ay dumpsite as approved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“The central MRF where residual wastes will be brought from the barangay MRFs is nearing completion. This even as the City Government is also preparing for the construction and establishment of a sanitary landfill now under review by the DENR,” said City Public Information Officer Dems Demecillo.

Currently, five barangays are operating their own MRFs, namely: Junob, Piapi, Bantayan, Calindagan, and Looc.

An additional two more barangays, Candau-ay and Camanjac, already have MRFs that will soon be operational.

Smaller barangays with no spare lands to construct the MRFs might be clustered for common use facility, Demecillo said.

He added that functional MRFs can greatly help reduce solid waste generated by the communities and may even provide income to waste collectors hired by the barangays.

Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2003 mandates all barangays to enforce the directive for residents to segregate their trash and to practice the principles of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” in solid waste management.

MRF is the designated place in a barangay where all the garbage collected will be sorted manually or mechanically into recyclables, organic waste, and non-recyclable or residual waste.

While the city is in the process of closing down the Candau-ay dumpsite permanently, the Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) here vows to intensify its campaign so that more barangays will operate their own MRFs.

EDC continues to reforest Mt. Talinis

By Jennifer C. Tilos

Norreen Bautista (extreme right) of EDC’s CSR team leading other volunteers during their climb to plant over 100 native trees in Mt. Talinis. (Photo courtesy of EDC /PIA Negros Oriental)

Geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) has continued its massive tree planting efforts to reforest Mt. Talinis.

Mt. Talinis, which is known as the highest peak in Cuernos de Negros, has one of the few remaining old-growth forests in Negros Oriental.

Recently, over 30 EDC employee-volunteers climbed Mt. Talinis to plant over 100 Philippine native trees.

The team planted Nato (Palaquium luzoniense) seedlings.

This species is one of the 96 native tree species that EDC aims to bring back to abundance through its BINHI forest restoration program.

“Our team of climbers from our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and other departments bond together with other residents of our partner communities in Valencia as we plant and grow native trees in Mt. Talinis even if we do not have any operation in the area,” said Norreen Bautista, head of EDC CSR Negros and Mt. Apo.

“Each tree growing activity brings out the participants’ Bayanihan spirit,” she added.

This is the second time in 2019 that the EDC team planted native trees in the Talinis mountain range.

Previously, EDC volunteers and partners planted about 100 premium endangered native trees in the area in celebration of Earth Day 2018.

Geothermal energy needs lush forests to recharge its reservoir.

Without trees to hold and release water deep into the earth, geothermal steam fields will dry up and will not be able to produce enough steam to run its power plants.

For this reason, EDC has been planting, growing, and maintaining forests in Negros Oriental where it has been generating clean, renewable, and reliable geothermal facilities for over 36 years.

From 2009 to 2019, the company has planted and grown almost three million Philippine native trees in the entire Negros Island with the help of its over 30 partners under its flagship BINHI forest restoration program.

BINHI aims to bridge forest gaps and bring back to abundance 96 Philippine native trees mostly in its geothermal reservation areas.

In recognition of EDC’s greening efforts through BINHI, the company is also the first Philippine partner to be tapped by the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) as a tree assessor under its Global Tree Assessment (GTA) program.

GTA aims to gather information for 800 Philippine native tree species that lack data to determine their conservation status.