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Zero
Waste

Sustainable solutions for solid waste management: the Waste Collection & Education Programme

Plastic pollution is an issue that has been brought sharply into focus over the last decade. With human waste having been found on mountains as well as the depths of the oceans, it is clear that action needs to be taken to tackle this problem that has far reaching consequences not only for the environment, but also human health.

While by no means one of the biggest producers of plastic waste, the Philippines does face challenges with the management of its waste. Sadly, too much of it finds its way into the oceans.

Solid waste management is a problem that needs requires a multi-faceted approch. While the Philippines lacks proper collection and disposal infrastructure, work to improve this must be backed up by efforts to reduce consumption and education around re-use and recycling.

While by no means one of the biggest producers of plastic waste, the Philippines does face challenges with the management of its waste. Sadly, too much of it finds its way into the oceans.

Solid waste management is a problem that needs requires a multi-faceted approch. While the Philippines lacks proper collection and disposal infrastructure, work to improve this must be backed up by efforts to reduce consumption and education around re-use and recycling.

A terrestrial issue as much as a marine one, solid waste management is one of the most palpable issues facing coastal communities. We have adopted a number of different intitatives in the fight against solid waste – all seeking to foster a collaborative effort and enhancing the capacity of local infrastructure to meet the challenge.

Key Components

Waste Collection & Education (WCE) Programme

The Waste Collection and Education (WCE) programme is an ongoing initiative to educate local families about household waste segregation. The programme was initiated in 2018 by People and the Sea and the Malapascua Business Association.

Specifically, the aims of the project were to:

  • Improve education and families’ awareness for the need of segregation and proper waste disposal;
  • Quantify the waste produced by the community, and be able to evaluate accurately the amount and types of recyclable and residual waste;
  • Promote sustainable process for the segregation and proper disposal of waste in Malapascua.

In recognition of its success, Barangay Logon and the local Municipal Government took official involvement in March 2020 by agreeing to endorse and sponsor the programme.

In partnership with:

The Municipality of Daanbantayan is home to Malapascua Island at the heart of the Visayas region
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Waste collected (since 2018)
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Collected in 2021
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Waste (2021 vs 2019)

Over 350,000kg of waste collected, sorted and removed since 2018

Eco-Mamas

Tackling waste whilst helping household finances.

Our WCE Programme (see above) has assumed the lead among our inititatives to find sustainable waste solutions. It has permittied an analysis of the waste produced that has not been previously possible. One thing this has shown is that disposible diapers make up approximately 30% of the solid waste produced by the local community.

In April 2021, taking over the work of Dorianne Cuenoud, we further developed the use of reusable diapers on the island.

The program has three objectives:

  • decrease solid waste on the island
  • help families save money
  • empower women to become involved in environmental conservation. 

We designed the process to allow families to receive a set of 10 reusable diapers and repay the diapers over the course of one year, either through personal payments or from CoMSCA savings. By joining the Reusable Diaper Bank and switching to reusable diapers, families can avoid the use of over 1,000 disposable diapers – and in doing so save over 10,000 pesos each year. We currently have over sixty families participating in the program on Malapascua Island in the Philippines.

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Households in the Eco-Mamas scheme
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Pesos collectively saved by families.
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Disposable diapers saved (estimated)

729,000 pesos saved by Eco-Mama families, also contributing to a cleaner community.

Clean Up Events

Earth Day & International Coastal Cleanup Day

As a global issue, there are movements to recognise and tackle the issue at a global level. To this end, Earth Day and International Coastal Cleanup are days that have been established to raise awareness, as well as bringing peple toegther to conduct large scale clean up events.

For the last 5 years these days have been marked by the organisation of large scale efforts to remove waste from the island.

Each year, People and the Sea has brought together from the local commmunity, local officials, tourists and resort owners to collect, sort and remove solid waste from the island. The results have typically been remarkable, providing evidence of the capacity of collective and organised action.

In partnership with:

The Municipality of Daanbantayan is home to Malapascua Island at the heart of the Visayas region
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Clean-Up events
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Collected across all events
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Participants (across all events)

Household level initiatives

Takakura Composting

To encourage households to segregate their waste properly and to practice sustainable disposal of their biodegradable waste, People and the Sea collaborated with technical personnel from Gawad Kalinga – a local Filipino charity to introduce composting to local families.

During composting trainings, families were provided with all the materials required. The programme has grown to reach over 200 families, making a significant contribution to reducing the occurrence of burying and burning practices on the island.

Regular house to house visits were conducted to monitor the status of the composts as well as to extend technical assistance for compost maintenance and upkeep.

Household level initiatives

Guerilla Gardening

With the growth of the use of compost to help manage household waste, interest grew around the development of small household gardens that made use of available land.

A pilot ‘community’ garden was established under the guidance of People and the Sea volunteers that demonstarted what was possible and provided lesson in how to proceed. From here, it was possible to help families around the island to do the same. The produce had the added benefit econimic benefit of providing households a modest additional income in certain cases.

How we work - Zero Waste

Among our first activities was to organise a beach clean-up on the island. solid waste management is one of the most palpable and visible problems faced by the local community:

  • STEP ONE – Our first action was a beach clean-up. Critical to our future success here was to ensure a level of mobilisation of the local community.  
  • STEP TWO – After multiple events, we were able to gain the support of local peoples associations, local businesses, and the local government departments.
  • STEP THREE – Having proved that the waste issue was one where people wanted to see action taken, we set up our ‘WCE” programme. This represented the islands first waste collection and education initiative.
  • STEP FOUR – Having seen the success of both large-scale clean-up events and the WCE programme, the local Barangay (government) agreed to fund these activities and work in partnership with us.
STEP 1.
PILOT PHASE

Our intial actions were focused on beach clean-ups, but with local community participation.

STEP 2.
MONITOR & UPDATE

Additional levels of communtiy engagement are added - with local government support.

STEP 4.
CURRENT STATUS

The level of engagement (and waste collected) continues to grow. The local Barangay agrees to fund the programme.

STEP 3.
SCALE UP

'One off' events develop into a structured, regular waste collection service - a first for the island.

Among our first activities was to organise a beach clean-up on the island. solid waste management is one of the most palpable and visible problems faced by the local community:

  • STEP ONE – Our first action was a beach clean-up. Critical to our future success here was to ensure a level of mobilisation of the local community.  
  • STEP TWO – After multiple events, we were able to gain the support of local peoples associations, local businesses, and the local government departments.
  • STEP THREE – Having proved that the waste issue was one where people wanted to see action taken, we set up our ‘WCE” programme. This represented the islands first waste collection and education initiative.
  • STEP FOUR – Having seen the success of both large-scale clean-up events and the WCE programme, the local Barangay (government) agreed to fund these activities and work in partnership with us.
STEP 1.
PILOT PHASE

Our intial actions were focused on beach clean-ups, but with local community participation.

STEP 2.
MONITOR & UPDATE

Additional levels of communtiy engagement are added - with local government support.

STEP 4.
CURRENT STATUS

The level of engagement (and waste collected) continues to grow. The local Barangay agrees to fund the programme.

STEP 3.
SCALE UP

'One off' events develop into a structured, regular waste collection service - a first for the island.

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