Waste, or trash, is an incredibly huge problem in the Philippines. While several cities in the Philippine islands are becoming more modern and developed, the country is running out of landfill space to take in the waste from those cities.
It’s not that the Philippines doesn’t have any laws about waste management. Republic Act (RA) 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, is the Philippine national law for solid waste management. It provides guidelines on how municipalities and cities should guide their barangays and individual citizens on how to reduce as much waste as possible, starting from segregation at source, so that there will be significantly less waste brought to the landfills compared to the total amount of waste generated. RA 9003, through its implementing rules and regulations, also provides standards on how to build, operate and maintain sanitary landfills.
The problem is that our landfills are filling up faster than expected. An MMDA report released in 2017 revealed that “at the rate the metropolis [Metro Manila] is generating trash, the 3 landfills it is using would be rendered unusable by 2037 at the latest.” In fact, the earliest that one of those three landfills would fill up is estimated to be by 2021. There should be efforts to slow down the rate of transfer of waste to the landfills through diverting waste. This is an urgent concern that government should be handling, but they’re not making it a high priority.
In any case, we are headed towards a zero-landfill future. There are two different ways we can interpret that: either we will easily fill in our landfills with waste well before the expected end of their lifespans and run out of land to reserve for more landfills entirely, or we Filipinos as a society would evolve to a point that landfills just won’t be needed anymore. The second idea sounds so much better, don’t you think?
While the best (and the most expensive!) way to handle our fast growing waste might be by creating bigger and better technologies and infrastructure for processing huge amounts of diverted waste, we at Circula Recoon believe that the next best thing is by getting Filipinos into the habit of managing their own waste. But, they are demotivated by different challenges they face in practicing proper waste management, like personal challenges (e.g. lack of time and lack of space), and external challenges (e.g. inadequate services of the government and unsupportive community).
Through Trash Panda, Filipinos can learn to overcome those challenges through learning from tutorials suited to their lifestyle, track their progress of building better eco-friendly habits, and access tools to help them practice better waste management, such as added on-demand recyclable waste collection services.
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2 thoughts on “Towards a Zero-Landfill Future”
A number of countries fill the ban on landfills in with generation of energy from waste, electricity and heat. With the the low capacity on power, power filled in with intermittent solar, more gas producing plants from waste for smaller distributed energy plants can react better on variability in solar and provide power for night time.
Hi, Gerrit Jan Groeneveld! We at Circula Recoon acknowledge that the best way to handle our fast growing waste is by creating bigger and better technologies and infrastructure for processing huge amounts of diverted waste. We are aware that Japan categorizes generation of energy from waste as “thermal recycling”, and that other developed countries have opted for this solution. However, even select experts on waste management from Europe have acknowledged that even the best available tech will still need to be tailor-fit to suit the needs of the specific country where the tech will be implemented (as shared in a conference hosted by the International Solid Waste Association in Singapore last year). In the Philippines, we count on national government to do their part such as enacting the senate bill entitled “Waste to Energy Act”, which “provides a framework for the entire value chain of waste to energy facilities and ensure uninterrupted supply of waste as feedstock”. We are interested in further discussing this topic with you in the future. You can reach us at email@example.com