Green Initiatives for Zero Waste Schools, Gain Steam

Quezon City. The country’s path to Zero Waste has a long way to go and it must
begin at home or in school.
In a
gathering held today at the Social Hall of the DENR Main Building in Visayas
Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, the EcoWaste Coalition, in partnership with the
DepEd, jump-started the two-day National
Summit and Training on Zero Waste Schools with a theme, ‘Clearing the Pathways to Zero Waste Schools.
The summit runs until tomorrow, December 8, 2012.
two-day conference is being attended by approximately 120 participants composed
of high-ranking officials from the DENR and DepEd; district supervisors and
school administrators; school and university associations; student leaders; and
various civil society groups and NGOs.
With this
event, the EcoWaste Coalition aims to draw the continuous support of the DepEd,
the DENR and several schools and universities all over the country in its
campaign to push for a waste-free and toxics-free society.
the first day of the two-day conference, speakers from different attached
agencies of the DENR and the DepEd, as well as from various NGOs and primary,
secondary and tertiary Schools with model Zero Waste initiatives, tackled
policy frameworks and management systems and programs that need to be set up in
academic institutions throughout the country.
“This symposium
essentially seeks to increase the knowledge and expertise of the participants
about zero waste, expand their understanding regarding the mandates of RA 9003,
recognize the challenges in implementing zero waste schemes in schools, and
develop strategies that will pave the way for the implementation of zero waste
programs in schools,” said Edwin Alejo, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste
Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000
specifies that it is the mandate of the State to adopt a systematic and
comprehensive program that will reinforce the integration of ecological solid
waste management into the academic curricula of formal and non-formal education
in order to raise environmental awareness and action among the public.
The Act
specifically directs the DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to
coordinate with concerned agencies such as the DENR, as well as NGOs and other
private institutions to strengthen the incorporation of environmental issues in
school curricula at all levels.
Waste campaigner Christina Vergara hopes that the two-day summit will “guide
and inspire school administrators in establishing the framework for their
respective Zero Waste sustainability roadmap.”
“It is
the objective of the EcoWaste Coalition through our Zero Waste campaigns to
create awareness and develop strategies that will help institutions such as
schools and universities sustain their Zero Waste initiatives,” she said.
“With the
support of DepEd, CHED, DENR, and the local government units among other
concerned agencies and schools, we can effectively demonstrate that zero waste
is indeed possible,” she added.