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Waste diversion techniques used in Iloilo City aid in lowering solid waste.

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The head of the Iloilo Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) said on Friday that the city government has been utilizing waste diversion measures to lower the quantity of solid garbage being generated every day by over 20%.

In an interview, Engineer Neil Ravena listed a few of these, including a composting project in the town of Calahunan that generates six to eight tons of compost each week and distributes it to barangays and schools that practice organic gardening.

In Calahunan, he said, there are two material recovery facilities (MRFs) with a combined capacity of about 30 tons, one of which is devoted to organic composting and the other to plastics recovery.

“Mayor Jerry P. Treas has been a strong advocate for solid waste management, and in fact, the city government has already purchased equipment that needs to be put up before it can be used. The city also received a bio-digester from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, according to the CENRO director.

The local government is seeking waste-to-energy projects through public-private partnerships (PPP) in order to turn garbage into electricity rather than building a new sanitary landfill to house leftover material, according to Ravena.

Ravena asked citizens to manage recyclables and organic trash in order to further limit the amount of solid waste that the city authority collects.

He estimates that the city produces about 370 tons of solid waste every day.

He explained that the organic and recyclable trash needed to be managed at the household or barangay levels, while the local government was simply supposed to collect residual garbage that would be taken to the Calahunan dumpsite in this city’s Mandurriao district.

According to Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act), Ravena continued, “The contractor should only collect residual trash because the city is only required to collect residual wastes.”

In response to worries expressed by barangays lacking space for their own MRF, Ravena cited the MRFs located in the Terminal Market, Jaro Big Market, and Central Market, each of which can house 10 barangays.

The Solid Waste Management in the Philippines Conference 2022, which concluded on Friday, was hosted by the city, according to the CENRO director, who also argued that it was opportune given the conference’s focus on catastrophe wastes.

Following a series of cleanup efforts in the wake of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng, the city saw a rise in solid trash of about 50 tons, according to Ravena.

He also remarked on the timely message delivered by Senator Cynthia Villar at the conference’s opening, in which the lawmaker discussed composting as a potential solution to many issues, including soil degradation, food waste, and pollution from the garbage. Composting could even result in significant cost savings for local government entities when it comes to garbage collection.

In order to improve waste management through composting, she stated she had been organizing the national government, local government units, communities, and the commercial sector.

Villar added that handling garbage produced by meteorological disturbances like the Paeng requires “severe environmental practices, specifically.”

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