Bontoc turns garbage to building materials

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Friday, July 11, 2014


BONTOC, Mt. Province -- Bontoc town in Mountain Province has found ways to put to good use plastics, bottle and other recyclable materials after a year of contending with environmental issues with its neighboring province of Kalinga.

Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey said the total plastic ban ordinance, which was implemented three weeks ago, is now being implemented by businessmen in town.

"The bulk of our garbage collection then was almost 75 percent plastic materials, composed of plastic bags, wrappers and unwanted bottles, that is why we had to create the ordinance to at least lessen this problem," Odsey said.

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Business establishments found using plastic bags are fined P200 for the first offense and P500 for succeeding offenses, he stated.

Apart from the Plastic Ban Ordinance, the municipality also acquired a bottle crusher machine from the Environmental Management Bureau-Department of Environment and Natural Resources and a plastic shredder from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The bottle crusher is now being utilized to shred bottles, including medicine bottles and vials, which are not bought by junk shops. The shredded bottles are turned into a fine sand-like material now used in making hollow blocks.

"We call these the eco-blocks," said Odsey.

The plastic shredder is also used to make fine plastic grits used as a material in making eco-bricks. These are sold by the senior citizens association, who are the beneficiaries of the machines, to the municipality for its infrastructure projects.

"That way, everyone is benefitting now from garbage," added Odsey.

"Both the EMB and DSWD have been supportive of our endeavor to solve our garbage problems," the mayor said.

“We did not spend millions for the plastic shredder. It cost us only P180 thousand while the bottle crusher was given by the EMB for free after we requested for it," said Odsey.

Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office's Roger Acapen explained the bottle crusher can turn 10 sacks of bottles into one sack of fine "sand", which is then added to one sack of cement, eleven cans of river sand and two cans of crushed bottle grits to make at least 50 pieces of eco-blocks sold at P15 each.

“[The] Senior Citizens Association, which pays laborers P2 per piece of eco-block will then sell these to the municipality for P15 apiece. These are the materials we are now using to build 79 core shelter houses in Barangay Kan-ew,” Acapen explained.

With rising concerns on solid waste management, all towns could take a cue from Bontoc and undertake the same endeavor. (Larry Fabian)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 12, 2014.

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