A graduate of the MS Environmental Policy & Advocacy program of Silliman University was adjudged one of three best presenters out of about 70 who participated in the 5th Philippine Solid & Hazardous Waste Management Conference and the 2nd International Conference on Circular Economy held via Zoom on Dec. 2-3.
The best presenter award went to Deniell Magaso’s talk on the Effectiveness and Sustainability of the Zero-Waste Approach in Three Barangays in Dumaguete which was based on his Master’s thesis that compared the awareness, practices, and commitments of residents in barangays Bantayan, Lo-oc, and Piapi before and after the implementation of Mother Earth Foundation’s Zero-Waste approach.
Zero-Waste refers to the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning (daub), and no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.
Using a survey of about a hundred randomly-selected residents in 2018, and again in 2020-2021, Magaso found many significant improvements in awareness, practices, and commitments coupled with a few declines among residents, as a result of the Zero-Waste approach.
Magaso also found significant ‘diversion rates’ of solid waste from the dumpsite. His study found that about 75 percent of trash in barangay Looc, 17 percent in Piapi, and 50 percent in Bantayan have gone through proper segregation at source, retrieval at the materials recovery facility, recycling, and composting.
The original law requires 25 percent ‘diversion’ in the first five years of the implementation of the Act, and increased every three years.
Based on interviews of local government officials and waste workers, Magaso’s research also showed that all three barangays were in compliance with almost all the requirements under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act 9003) due to the Zero-Waste program.
“The Zero-Waste approach is an important tool for barangays to significantly reduce their waste and comply with RA 9003,” concluded Magaso, who worked on his masteral thesis under the advisorship of Dr. Jorge Emmanuel.
His presentation, attended online by an international audience, provided further evidence of the value of the Zero-Waste approach worldwide.
In his presentation, Magaso also reviewed the successes of Zero-Waste cities in the United States and Europe.
In the Philippines, Mother Earth Foundation’s Ten-Step Zero Waste approach involves green profiling, waste assessment and brand audits, multi-sectoral consultations, establishment of the barangay solid waste management committee, formulation of a 10-year plan, development of systems and collection schedule, building decentralized materials recovery facilities, information and education campaigns, a dry-run of the system, full implementation, monitoring, and continuous enforcement.
The Zero-Waste work in Dumaguete is a collaboration since 2018 among War on Waste (WOW)-Break Free from Plastic-Negros Oriental, the three barangay LGUs, Mother Earth Foundation, and Gaia, with funding from the Zero-Waste Cities Project in the Philippines.
Magaso finished his Bachelor in Mass Communication at Silliman in 2015. He said the courses he took under the Certificate of Environmental Journalism at the SU College of Mass Communication inspired him to pursue the masteral course.
The Best Presenter was selected by a vote of the participants and the conference’s scientific committee. Masteral MS graduate Magaso shared the award with Dr. Reynaldo Ramos, professor at Romblon State University, and Engr. Ma. Elena Carag, faculty the University of Batangas. (PR)