Published January 27, 2024 11:48am
Residents of Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City lined up early Saturday morning hauling sacks of trash — not to throw them into a garbage dump, but to exchange them for food.
The queue was long at the barangay hall at Acacia Lane, but it was an inspiring sight as more residents kept coming to participate in the program, “Palit Basura para sa Pagkain sa Mesa” (Exchange Trash for Food on the Table).
For every kilo of plastic waste, residents earn points which they can swap for food items such as sardines, instant noodles, 3-in-1 coffee, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and rice.
This community-based eco-solution activity comes at a time when the Philippines grapples with rice inflation, increasing prices of basic commodities, and efforts to improve waste management practices.
According to Luisito Santos’ report on Super Radyo dzBB, Barangay chairman Carlito Cernal said the project seeks to reduce plastic waste in their community while encouraging residents to recycle.
Some of those in line brought trash they have been collecting since last year.
Cernal told Super Radyo dzBB that the program has contributed greatly to solving their garbage problem since it was launched in 2019.
The people’s mindset now, Cernal said, is not to throw away trash but to collect these and use these to earn food for the family.
Benefits for the community, however, do not stop there.
The collected plastic waste is used as raw materials for the production of ecobricks. Over the years, the same ecobricks have been used to build plant boxes and barangay outputs for community watchmen.
Last Friday, OCTA Research reported that self-rated or involuntary hunger among Filipinos increased to 14% or 3.7 million families in the last quarter of 2023, based on its latest Tugon ng Masa survey.
The Marcos administration has been battling rising prices of basic commodities, including rice inflation which surged to its fastest rate in 14 years during the last month of 2023.
Meanwhile, a study published in 2021 in the journal Sciences Advances showed the Philippines topping the list of countries that emit the most number of riverine plastic into the ocean.
The government has launched repeated bids to clean up Manila Bay and key waterways, including an ongoing effort to revive the Pasig River that cuts across several cities in Metro Manila. — VDV, GMA Integrated News