CITY OF SAN FERNANDO---The city government of San Fernando shared its best waste management practices and environmental policies at the recent International Zero Waste Cities Conference in Bandung, Indonesia.

San Fernando has been recognized as one of the Best Zero Waste Models in the Asia Pacific Region.

Councilor BJ Lagman, who represented the city government, told Sun.Star Pampanga on Monday, March 12, that he believes the Philippines is ahead of Indonesia in solid waste management.

“I believe we are ahead of them in waste management by at least five years. They still do not have any law like Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and it is only now that they are getting interested in waste management after one of their dumpsites collapsed, just like what happened in Payatas years ago, plus the fact that the international community is blaming coastal countries like the Philippines and Indonesia on the problem about plastics. That is what we are addressing by sharing our best practices in this area,” he said.

He said Indonesia generates about 1,600 metric tons of garbage per day compared to the 120 metric tons per day generated by San Fernando.

“You can imagine the resources they use to pay a landfill which is definitely not sustainable. It’s like you haul that 1,600 metric tons today and find out that it is the same the next day,” Lagman said.

He was among the conference speakers, alongside delegates from San Francisco, California, France, and India.

Lagman was the author of the city’s plastic-free ordinance. He led the implementation of environmental policies such as the operation of the material recovery facilities (MRFs) in barangays and private subdivisions.

In January 2017, officials and environmental organizations from the city government of Cimahi, Bandung, Indonesia visited San Fernando for a benchmarking activity and observation of the implementation of the plastic-free ordinance.

Since then, Cimahi has adopted similar programs to solve their problems on plastic waste, with three “kelurahan” or barangays serving as their pilot implementers of waste segregation at source, sorting in MRFs, doing organic compost, and utilizing biodigester.

Meanwhile, Lagman turned over to Mayor Edwin Santiago on Monday a token of appreciation from Cimahi City Mayor Ajay Priatna in recognition of San Fernando’s contributions to the successful implementation of sustainable environmental policies in their city. (JTD)