WASTE management has become a monstrous problem in any local government unit.
The City of San Fernando, Pampanga is no exception. The City Mayor, Edwin D. Santiago wants a clean city. "This is basic. Our streets have to be cleaned of garbage," he stated with conviction.
In 2018, he cancelled the contract with Spectrum Blue Steel who undertook to build a garbage facility. Spectrum failed to deliver its promise to generate income from waste.
In 2011, San Fernando formed a partnership with Mother Earth Foundation (MEF), a GAIA member in the Philippines that actively promotes Zero Waste. The partnership paved the way for a more effective approach to achieving San Fernando's waste management goals. MEF provided technical assistance to local leaders about Republic Act 9003, including a more comprehensive way of addressing household segregation.
In 2014, a plastic free ordinance -- banning the use of plastic bags was enacted. Plastic is useful but it seems to last forever after its use.
The ordinance targets firms to gradually phase out plastic bags and styro foam packaging. As of 2015, compliance rate of 85% is noted.
As of now, there are 85 Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) within the City, strategically located in all 35 barangays, private subdivisions, schools and public markets. The MRF's are managed by the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro).
The strides made in the city-wide Zero Waste Implementation of San Fernando illustrate that the success of their solid waste management program was a product of the efforts of the whole community.
From former Mayor Oscar Rodriguez to current Mayor Edwin Santiago, political will paved the way for a solid foundation for segregation.
"We need to sustain our crusade against garbage. We want a City we can be proud of, in terms of taking care of our waste," the city mayor opines.
The City of San Fernando was recently recognized as an example city in fighting waste by the Malaysian government. The award is meaningless unless we sustain our triumph against this monster.
"Hiwalay, hiwalay ang papel sa nabubulok. Tapat mo, linis mo. Kayo ang aming kaparis sa lahat ng kalinisan," EdSa concluded.