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Archdiocese of Manila achieves Zero Waste Management; prevents 'PAGPAG' eating by waste pickers by Romulo S. Arsenio, Ph.D.

The present natural catastrophes triggered by human greed, indifference, shortsightedness have caused and cost the loss of so many lives, livelihood and habitat. Consumerism and industrial development driven economic growth are offering the reverse and have put in danger the   future of the next generations.

Therefore, there is today too much helplessness, unemployment, restlessness, hunger and sickness around the world. These concerns and problems cannot be resolved by governments alone. Everybody must help and perform their duties as responsible stewards and members of this world /global community.

Meanwhile, “may pera sa basura” is  a reality for the street dwellers and scavengers who survived the difficulties of living in the cities without home and employment by picking up trash along the streets and scavenging in the trash bins of stores and food chains eating “pagpag “ or left-over food found in the  trash/ garbage bins at the same time.

The Catholic Church continually shares in the responsibility of resolving the above problems and crisis. It will forever take an active role especially when the dignity, morality and sustainability of every creature of God are at stake.

For  almost 6 years now, the Archdiocese of Manila Ministry on Ecology has been  quietly performing its tasks of educating the young and old in the responsible care of God’s creation through various programs and activities. It has empowered and actively involved the urban poor especially the homeless, unemployed and impoverished to gain their dignity as humans by becoming eco aides – improved their skills, provided them with shelter, food and livelihood. 

It wants to prove that Zero waste management is achievable today as it was time immemorial. Enprotech Mobile Waste Treatment machine helps them to achieve it. Zero waste simply means, none of our trash-municipal trash are wasted. Everything is processed and made into valuable and useful materials. NO NEED OF DUMPSITES or  LANDFILLS and NO WAY FOR INCINERATION.

This approach of the Archdiocese of Manila Ministry on Ecology  in partnership with the wastepickers, the itinerant local migrants- simply called “the Luneta men and women” was able to patiently convert the trash of their partner catholic institutions especially the  3 campuses of the College of St.Benilde, Don Bosco Technical Institute, Makati, St. Anthony School of Singalong, Paco Catholic School,  the main compound of the Archdiocese of Manila and other institutions for years now into useful construction materials. Therefore the said institutions have not contributed in anyway the dumping of trash in the landfills or dumpsites. Tons of soil enhancers for farmers were produced, tons of recyclable materials returned to the factories and which sale have fed not less than 30 families, sent children to school and even provided back  to them their human dignity, stopped them from eating “pagpag or batchoy”.

Residual wastes were mixed with sand and cement and made into construction blocks to build the Ecology Ministry’s Office at the Caritas Manila Compound, the ongoing improvement of the recycling facility, construction of a chapel and kiosks in San Carlos Seminary.

The realization and culmination of the program will be on April 13, 2011 at 4:00 in the afternoon during a concelebrated Eucharistic Celebration and blessing by His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales,DD, Archbishop of Manila, at the RCAM RESOURCE RECOVERY FACILITY, Velasquez St., Tondo, Manila .