Written by Gale Alcantar
Last September, an alliance took place between Barangay Catangnan and the Siargao Environmental Awareness (S.E.A) Movement. During the mid-day heat in Catangnan Dance Hall, the President of S.E.A. Movement, Marja Abad, and Jolan Saavedra, Barangay Councilor and S.E.A Movement Vice-President, signed an agreement. It marked the official turnover of S.E.A.M’s three Material Recovery Facility Collection Points, or as they call it, “We SEAgregate Drop-Off Points” to the barangay. During the project launch, an information, education and communication (IEC) campaign was held. The project aims to educate and encourage households to segregate at source: separating waste by type as it is produced within homes.
With the purchase of SEAM tumblers, SEA Movement was able to use the profits raised to fund the project for a total of PHP60,000. The facilities will be located in three locations in Catangnan and SEA Movement will make house-to-house visits presenting IECs campaigns, whilst also taking surveys, while the barangay and the respective parties (Envinorcare and General Luna’s new Residual Containment Area) will collect the waste and maintain the We SEAgregate Drop-Off Points.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) states that Siargao produces 65,523kg of solid waste each day. Unfortunately, the waste is still likely to end up in landfills, even though the trash could be repurposed or recycled for another use through segregation. The objective is to reduce waste in landfills. By segregating, locals are following the law that is set by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Republic Act or R.A 9003. Segregation improves collection efficiency, material recovery for recycling and avoids the wrong disposal of hazardous materials. Above all, it is more ecologically friendly whereby environmental pollution is significantly reduced.
With Brgy. Catangnan’s initiative and others, the hope is that segregation practices will ripple through Siargao. Ms Abad adds ‘‘We’re not used to it (segregation). It’s the same with our dependency on plastic. The more time we put into sorting our trash, the more our awareness about the waste problem increases.”. SEA Movement will support initiatives through their We SEAgregate guideline; A resource material containing project costs, IEC content and We SEAgregate model specification etc. Within less than a month of its launch, the project has seen immense support including a featured 'We SEAgregate Talk' during Globe Telecom’s event and other organisations have pledged to donate funds towards more We SEAgregate facilities!
As consumers, the simplest method to reduce your waste is to take up source reduction practices; Whether that be through up-cycling, avoiding single-use plastics and packaging or of course, segregating. Through this, products are kept in a closed loop within the consumer chain for longer before it reaches its ‘end of life’. Better yet, being mindful of our consumption helps avoid the ‘throwaway culture’.
Thanks to the success of the recent “Community Week” that Be Siargao Magazine and Havaianas Philippines hosted together, they have been able to donate a further PHP20,000 to Barangay Catangnan to build another Drop-Off Point, which will be located at the Elementary School in Catangnan.