Green Convergence forum tackle effectiveness of ecobricks

Green Convergence forum tackle effectiveness of ecobricks

Environmental coalition Green Convergence held the 347th installment of the monthly Kamayan Para sa Kalikasan Forum last February 15, 2019 at Kamayan Restaurant, EDSA, Mandaluyong City. Resource speakers included Lou Arsenio of Ecobricks Philippines, Chairman Rolly Datiles of Barangay Bagumbuhay, Quezon City and Juvy Serafin of the Solid Waste Management Division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Dr. Angelina Galang (left) with Barangay Bagumbuhay Captain Rolly Datiles (right). Capt. Datiles is successful in implementing the ecological solid waste management law in his barangay with the ecobrick project that he innovated.

The forum scrutinized the two versions of ecobricks – (1) plastic bottle containers stuffed with dry plastic wastes which are used as filler bricks in building systems and (2) actual hollow blocks that are stronger than the former and are made by mixing wet cement and shredded plastic wastes.

Arsenio stressed that the said first version is supposed to be hard as a brick. “Dapat may proper training ang paggawa nito [ecobricks] dahil kung mali ang pagkakagawa, mahirap po itong ayusin (There should be a proper training for making ecobricks because if they are wrongly made, it would be difficult to fix them),” she followed.

On the other hand, Datiles explained that his community’s way of doing the second version is by processing non-biodegradable residual plastic wastes and mixing them with cement to be transformed into tiles and bricks. He presented the 4 E’s that supported his community’s ecobrick initiative and made their ecological solid waste management program successful:

“First you need education for the awareness campaign of the problem and proposed solutions. Second you need engineering so you would have proper equipment for realizing the solution. Third is enforcement. There needs to be a barangay ordinance for the program. Finally, economic sustainability where each household gain economic rewards by participating in the program.”

Serafin lauded the efforts of Chairman Datiles and mentioned, “Kung effective lang talaga ang management ng waste at the barangay level, wala sanang problema sa basura (If waste management is just effective at the barangay level, there could’ve been no problem with wastes).”

She further noted that “Ang dapat atakehin ay ang behavior ng mga tao…lifestyle kasi ng mga tao ngayon is convenience kaya management po ang approach natin (People’s behavior should be tackled…since our lifestyle is now is focused on convenience, that’s why our approach for this is management).”

Datiles said that the problem with wastes is global but the solution must be local. His barangay was also once like Payatas, heavily faced with waste problems. “Inimplement lang po namin ang RA 9003 [Ecological Solid Waste Management Act] na sinuportahan din ng aming [Quezon City] LGU…may City Ordinance No. 1203 po kasi na nagbibigay incentives sa mga barangay na may maayos na solid waste management program (We just implement RA 9003 which is supported by our LGU…there is City Ordinance No. 1203 that gives incentives to the barangays that have good solid waste management programs),” he shared.

However, Arsenio clarified that ecobricks are just a temporary solution. “Ang ecobricks na isinusulong namin ay para lang sa gardening at low walls kaya hindi naman siya kakalaban sa Building Code (The ecobricks that we promote are only for gardening and low walls, that’s why it would not go against the Building Code),” she claimed.

This contrasts with Datiles’ version, “Nagpatest kami sa UP at pumasa naman ang strength ng aming ecobricks…at may mga contractor na bumibili sa amin (We underwent a test at UP and the strength of our ecobricks passed…and we already have contractors that buy from us).”

Serafin discussed that “Kung nagproduce po tayo ng wastes, saan po mapupunta iyon? Ang DENR ay sumusunod sa waste management hierarchy kung saan ang first preferred option po natin ay waste avoidance…nasa efficiency po ‘yan ng LGUs (If we produce wastes, where will they go to? The DENR follows the waste management hierarchy where the first preferred option is waste avoidance…its efficiency lies on the LGUs)” implying that waste-to-energy initiatives like incineration depends on the LGUs’ effectiveness in solid waste management.

Dr. Angelina Galang, Green Convergence President concluded that “We have to look into our individual actions…take it upon ourselves to make them (LGUs) do their job properly. Management is the thing. These options are all open to us but we have to choose what is doable.”

Now on its 29th year, Kamayan Para sa Kalikasan Forum has become an institutionalized platform since March 1990 that enables NGO and government representatives, the media, students, teachers, church groups, and concerned citizens to discuss pressing environmental issues in the country. This month’s forum is supported by Kamayan Restaurant EDSA with the assistance of the Forest Foundation Philippines.

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