The Realities of Waste Management in the Mango Capital of the Philippines

04 Apr 2024

Guimaras Island, 22 March 2024: Participants of the 3rd Regional Workshop of the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to Protect the Marine Environment and Coral Reefs” (3RproMar) project under the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH visited the island province of Guimaras to explore their nature reserve, learn more about their waste management practices, and taste their world-famous mangoes.

Upon arrival at Jordan Wharf after a short boat ride from Iloilo City, where the majority of the GIZ 3RproMar Workshop activities were held, the participants were greeted with a mango monument, signaling their arrival at the “Mango Capital of the Philippines”. Participants may agree that the nickname endowed to the province was befitting after passing stall after stall fully stacked with mangoes along the roadside and mango plantations throughout the drive from the wharf to Taklong Island National Marine Reserve (TINMR) at the southern end of Guimaras Island.

TINMR, situated in Barangays* La Paz and San Roque of Nueva Valencia Municipality, covers a total area of 1,143.45 hectares encompassing 46 islands and islets as well as hosting a variety of natural ecosystems including mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass meadows. The rich variety of ecosystems on the national reserve not only make it home to a high number of wildlife species, but also make it a popular eco-tourism destination where tourists can engage in activities ranging from island hopping and snorkeling to bird watching. After listening to welcoming remarks from the Governor of Guimaras, Gov. Joaquin Carlos Rahman A. Nava, the workshop participants had the opportunity to explore one of the islands of the marine reserve, enjoy a lunch composed of local cuisines and the Guimaras mangoes, as well as listen to presentations on the marine reserve and waste management system in the province.

Gov. Joaquin Carlos Rahman A. Nava welcomes the participants of the GIZ 3RproMar 3rd Regional Workshop to Guimaras Island and the Taklong Island National Marine Reserve.

The Province of Guimaras implements a systematic waste management process that engages stakeholders from households up to the provincial levels. Under this system, households compost organic waste in their backyards while recyclable wastes are collected by junk buyers. This leaves residual waste which is brought to collection boxes at the sitio** level where an officer takes note of the amount of waste deposited by each household in a notebook. This form of documentation is important to generate waste-related data from the lowest administrative level that is useful for monitoring the implementation of extended producer responsibility (EPR) in the country. Waste from the sitios are then brought to a materials recovery facility, the municipal eco solid waste management park, and the province’s integrated waste management facility before the consolidated plastics are delivered to the appropriate recycling facilities. 

After visiting the TINMR, the participants were brought to the Treatment, Sorting, and Disposal Facility (TSDF) and the Sapal Weavers Association. At the TSDF, staff members demonstrated how collected residual plastics are processed and used to create plastic furniture. In the facility, combinations of LDPE, PP, HDPE, PS, and flexible plastics are sorted, shredded, melted, and then molded into plastic lumber to become the raw materials for building furniture such as tables and chairs. At present, the furniture is not produced for commercial purposes, but is supplied to schools in the surrounding area. The Sapal Weavers Association aims to bring back weaving, which used to be commonly practiced in the Philippines, and encourage it as a livelihood project for communities while also promoting the use of organic materials, namely mangrove leaves, as an alternative to plastics.

A staff member of the Treatment, Sorting, and Disposal Facility demonstrates the process of making plastic lumber out of residual plastic waste.

Although Guimaras Province seems to have a robust waste management system in place, it is still at its early stages and faces its own series of challenges, including those related to transporting waste across the region and the high associated costs. Presently, the province has planned a route for the efficient collection and transportation of waste across the main island and part of the costs is covered by households, proportional to the amount of waste that they deposit. However, collecting waste from the smaller surrounding islands is challenging and costly. Processing the waste, such as producing plastic lumber, also has its own costs. Although current fees collected under EPR schemes are enough to cover the electricity bills, hopefully a more effective implementation of EPR can help further generate funds to sustain the project.

At the end of the day, as the workshop participants boarded the boat to go back to Iloilo City, they brought along with them many souvenirs from their visit to Guimaras Island. Some brought weaved bags and pouches that were skillfully crafted by the women of the island. Some brought snacks and delicacies made from the island’s sweet and juicy mangoes. More importantly, they also brought with them a better understanding of the realities of waste management in rural coastal areas, specifically its challenges and opportunities, which is very relevant to many other locations across the Southeast Asian region.

This visit to the Guimaras Island is conducted as part of the GIZ 3RproMar 3rd Regional Workshop, which was held in Iloilo City, the Philippines from 19th – 23rd March 2024. The ERIA (Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia) Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris (RKC-MPD) is involved in the GIZ 3RproMar project as part of a partnership for promoting regional cooperation and knowledge management on marine litter and plastic pollution.


*Barangay: An administrative division in the Philippines that is equivalent to a village.

**Sitio: An administrative division in the Philippines at the level below of a barangay.

Author
RKCMPD
RKCMPD

Communication Team

Guimaras Island, 22 March 2024: Participants of the 3rd Regional Workshop of the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to Protect the Marine Environment and Coral Reefs” (3RproMar) project under the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH visited the island province of Guimaras to explore their nature reserve, learn more about their waste management practices, and taste their world-famous mangoes.

Upon arrival at Jordan Wharf after a short boat ride from Iloilo City, where the majority of the GIZ 3RproMar Workshop activities were held, the participants were greeted with a mango monument, signaling their arrival at the “Mango Capital of the Philippines”. Participants may agree that the nickname endowed to the province was befitting after passing stall after stall fully stacked with mangoes along the roadside and mango plantations throughout the drive from the wharf to Taklong Island National Marine Reserve (TINMR) at the southern end of Guimaras Island.

TINMR, situated in Barangays* La Paz and San Roque of Nueva Valencia Municipality, covers a total area of 1,143.45 hectares encompassing 46 islands and islets as well as hosting a variety of natural ecosystems including mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass meadows. The rich variety of ecosystems on the national reserve not only make it home to a high number of wildlife species, but also make it a popular eco-tourism destination where tourists can engage in activities ranging from island hopping and snorkeling to bird watching. After listening to welcoming remarks from the Governor of Guimaras, Gov. Joaquin Carlos Rahman A. Nava, the workshop participants had the opportunity to explore one of the islands of the marine reserve, enjoy a lunch composed of local cuisines and the Guimaras mangoes, as well as listen to presentations on the marine reserve and waste management system in the province.

Gov. Joaquin Carlos Rahman A. Nava welcomes the participants of the GIZ 3RproMar 3rd Regional Workshop to Guimaras Island and the Taklong Island National Marine Reserve.

The Province of Guimaras implements a systematic waste management process that engages stakeholders from households up to the provincial levels. Under this system, households compost organic waste in their backyards while recyclable wastes are collected by junk buyers. This leaves residual waste which is brought to collection boxes at the sitio** level where an officer takes note of the amount of waste deposited by each household in a notebook. This form of documentation is important to generate waste-related data from the lowest administrative level that is useful for monitoring the implementation of extended producer responsibility (EPR) in the country. Waste from the sitios are then brought to a materials recovery facility, the municipal eco solid waste management park, and the province’s integrated waste management facility before the consolidated plastics are delivered to the appropriate recycling facilities. 

After visiting the TINMR, the participants were brought to the Treatment, Sorting, and Disposal Facility (TSDF) and the Sapal Weavers Association. At the TSDF, staff members demonstrated how collected residual plastics are processed and used to create plastic furniture. In the facility, combinations of LDPE, PP, HDPE, PS, and flexible plastics are sorted, shredded, melted, and then molded into plastic lumber to become the raw materials for building furniture such as tables and chairs. At present, the furniture is not produced for commercial purposes, but is supplied to schools in the surrounding area. The Sapal Weavers Association aims to bring back weaving, which used to be commonly practiced in the Philippines, and encourage it as a livelihood project for communities while also promoting the use of organic materials, namely mangrove leaves, as an alternative to plastics.

A staff member of the Treatment, Sorting, and Disposal Facility demonstrates the process of making plastic lumber out of residual plastic waste.

Although Guimaras Province seems to have a robust waste management system in place, it is still at its early stages and faces its own series of challenges, including those related to transporting waste across the region and the high associated costs. Presently, the province has planned a route for the efficient collection and transportation of waste across the main island and part of the costs is covered by households, proportional to the amount of waste that they deposit. However, collecting waste from the smaller surrounding islands is challenging and costly. Processing the waste, such as producing plastic lumber, also has its own costs. Although current fees collected under EPR schemes are enough to cover the electricity bills, hopefully a more effective implementation of EPR can help further generate funds to sustain the project.

At the end of the day, as the workshop participants boarded the boat to go back to Iloilo City, they brought along with them many souvenirs from their visit to Guimaras Island. Some brought weaved bags and pouches that were skillfully crafted by the women of the island. Some brought snacks and delicacies made from the island’s sweet and juicy mangoes. More importantly, they also brought with them a better understanding of the realities of waste management in rural coastal areas, specifically its challenges and opportunities, which is very relevant to many other locations across the Southeast Asian region.

This visit to the Guimaras Island is conducted as part of the GIZ 3RproMar 3rd Regional Workshop, which was held in Iloilo City, the Philippines from 19th – 23rd March 2024. The ERIA (Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia) Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris (RKC-MPD) is involved in the GIZ 3RproMar project as part of a partnership for promoting regional cooperation and knowledge management on marine litter and plastic pollution.


*Barangay: An administrative division in the Philippines that is equivalent to a village.

**Sitio: An administrative division in the Philippines at the level below of a barangay.

Author
RKCMPD
RKCMPD

Communication Team

Ornament

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