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Majority of the urban barangays in Puerto Princesa City experienced difficulty in implementing and enforcing both national laws and local ordinances on proper waste management and segregation of wastes, but two isolated and far-flung coastal villages lead by example by doing the right thing—the proper management of solid wastes specifically the segregation of wastes at source to protect their natural environment especially its unspoiled and pristine seawater.
New Panggangan, a coastal village with only 246 households, is about one-hour ride from Sabang wharf in Cabayugan via motorized banca, while Marufinas is about 20 minutes from New Panggangan. Both barangays cannot be accessed by any means of land transportation.
But, impressively, both barangays are strictly doing the segregation of solid wastes every day since they cannot dispose solid wastes, both residual and mixed wastes in their respective places, being a coastal barangay.
Armando Dumaran, Barangay Kagawad of New Panggangan, said that for several years already, segregation of solid wastes has been a way of life of the local residents and they intend to sustain it in order to protect the environment and maintain the natural beauty of their place.
Being inaccessible by four-wheel vehicles or motorcycles and not exposed to any emissions, the place is definitely considered as a community with less carbon footprint.
He said that their barangay’s materials recovery facility (MRF), which also serves as their drop off center and sorting area of solid wastes, is located inside their elementary school. Young and adult alike, know what to do to their household wastes, and they have been used to it.
“Katulad dun sa lupa ni Kap, binabaon lang namin ang mga nabubulok na basura. Ang mga bote at mga recyclables ay hinihiwalay-hiwalay namin. Ganun lang ang ginagawa, at ginagawa namin ito hanggang ngayon,” he explained.
He said that the local residents are very aware that mismanagement of their domestic wastes will pollute their pristine seawater, the reason why majority of the barangays are aware of the proper waste segregation.
At present, the 12 workers of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) emergency employment program known as TUPAD also assist them in waste management activities in their villages.
He further said that they wanted to protect its water bodies from wastewater, therefore, those households with few heads of livestock in their backyard are monitored, so that they will not dispose their animal wastes to the seawater.
Ariel Panday, Barangay Kagawad of Marufinas said that the service motorized boat of the management of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) in Sitio Sabang, Brgy. Cabayugan will haul their residual and recyclable wastes from their barangay going to Sabang Wharf, only twice monthly, and they made sure that it is properly segregated.
The barangay of Marufinas constructed a makeshift MRF in their coastal area, and the solid wastes stored there, is well-segregated. Separate containers for residual and recyclable wastes.
“Dito walang bumibili ng recyclables, dinadala na lang ito doon sa Sabang, bahala na ang taga Solid Waste doon. Kami mag-segregate lang. Iyung iba naka-hiwahiwalay na, yung hindi naman nakahiwalay, ay kami na mismo mga opisyal ang maghiwa-hiwalay,” Panday explained.
Segregated solid wastes from New Panggangan and Marufinas, particularly residual and recyclable wastes, are contained in separate garbage bags before these are hauled off to Sitio Sabang.
In Sitio Sabang, the City’s solid waste management dump trucks will collect these wastes for disposal at the city’s final disposal facility located in Brgy. Sta. Lourdes. Allan Barte, supervisor in the city’s sanitary landfill, said that most of the solid wastes from rural barangays are dry residual or recyclable wastes only, and rural residents did not mix their residual with biodegradable wastes.
“Malalaman mo na hindi nila hinalo-halo ang basura, kasi pagdating sa landfill ay tuyo ang dump box ng garbage truck na galing sa rural barangay,” he said.
The collection of solid wastes in rural barangays are scheduled only weekly, some are only three or two times monthly, or depending on the availability of the garbage trucks and compactors, said Barte.
In contrast, in the urban barangays, where there is a daily trip of garbage trucks, majority of its residents mixed their biodegradable, residual, recyclable and all kinds of solid wastes.