Government data show that Metro Manila’s garbage generation usually increases in December from 3,000 to 4,000 tons per day on regular days to 5,000 to 6,000 tons daily during the Christmas holidays.
At a seminar held yesterday to promote organic waste reuse for urbanagriculture, Zero Waste advocates highlighted the need for every household, school, barangay and the various commercial and industrial establishments to set up their composting systems that will suit their waste size and their physical and space conditions.
“Biodegradable waste, the largest fraction of municipal solid waste, can be easily dealt with through composting. By separating our discards at source and turning organics into compost, we already solve half of our garbage problem and avoid a stinking mess that can ruin the Christmas spirit,” said Rei Panaligan, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
Panaligan also pointed out that composting will help cut the formation and emission of methane, a greenhouse gas with more than 25 times climatic impact than carbon dioxide, from mixed waste dumps and landfills.
“We can stop methane releases from dumpsites by ensuring that our biodegradable discards are duly composted. We can similarly reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides by producing safe organic inputs for our gardens and farms from composting,” said Panaligan.
Composting is the controlled decomposition of organic materials such as fruit and vegetable peelings, leftover foods, yard waste and other biodegradable discards into a humus-like product by micro-organisms, mainly bacteria and fungi.
Compost can serve as effective bio-fertilizer, soil enhancer or as soil supplement in vegetable garden, flower beds and for other agricultural purposes.
Dr. Raffy Barrozo, board member of the Zero Waste Recycling Movement of the Philippines and director of the Organic Center at the University of the Philippines-Los Banos, shared his expertise on the many innovative ways of composting using clay pot, bin or bag, tower tire, twin pit, and bottomless composters.
Dr. Barrozo also pointed out that setting up eco-gardens can provide extra livelihood for community members from vegetables, fruits and herbs that can be grown and harvested for food and even for health and medicinal purposes.
To have a better appreciation of the benefits of composting and eco-gardening, the participants visited two different models of urban eco-gardens at Barangay Holy Spirit in Quezon City and Barangay 187 in Caloocan City.
Among those who took part in the seminar and study tour were Zero Waste advocates from Buklod Tao, Cavite Green Coalition, Ecology Ministry of the Diocese of Caloocan, Krusada sa Kalikasan, November 17 Movement, Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan and the Zero Waste Recycling Movement of the Philippines.