Friday, May 13, 2011

Zeroeing in on zero waste in schools

Kids, are you ready to go back to school? I know, I know, you’re still on vacation — staying out late, sleeping late, way past your bedtime, snuggling under the crisp sheets till kingdom come or till the harsh rays of the sun come streaming through your window.

I hate to be a spoilsport, but it won’t be long before schools open a new academic year. And in line with this, a pollution watchdog has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to get our 55,230 public and private elementary and secondary schools to go for zero waste pollution. The EcoWaste Coalition is asking Education Secretary Armin Luistro, FSC to issue a memorandum to remind school administrators to put in place appropriate policies and systems for reducing and managing school discards — that is, if they have not yet done so.

It was in 2001, during the term of Education Secretary Andrew Gonzalez, FSC, that DepEd last issued a reminder on the implementation of ecological solid waste management in schools. “With another La Sallian brother at the helm of the department, we hope to see more schools becoming centers of excellence in terms of eliminating garbage and promoting environmental stewardship and action among our students and citizens,” says EcoWaste Coalition president Roy Alvarez.

He zeroes in on the importance of the subject, “Zero waste resource management will contribute to a healthy and socially-responsible school system that will not add to the 35,000 tons of trash that the whole country generates each day.”

Doing his homework, Alvarez recalls that DECS Memorandum No. 33-2001 provided for the monitoring of school implementation of ecological solid waste management, including the promotion of “sorting-at-source,” the “use of recycled materials,” and “banning any form of open burning.”

“Now is the best time for DepEd to reiterate school involvement in zero waste resource management as this will complement the government’s national green agenda, particularly in preventing and reducing trash,” asserts EcoWaste’s Christina Vergara. “The memorandum can also include attractive incentives for schools to enforce and shine in ecological waste management, including morale-boosting commendations for practicing schools.”

Of course, the country is not lacking in model schools in both public and private sectors that can provide aspiring educational institutions with practical knowledge on how to “green” their schools, according to the Coalition.

Certainly, we’re never wanting for model schools. For instance, there are the grand winners of the National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools, namely, the Peñablanca East Central Elementary School in Peñablanca, Cagayan; La Castellana National High School in La Castellana, Negros Occidental; and Palawan State University in Puerto Princesa; the recipients of the Dark Green School label from the Environmental Education Network of the Philippines such as the De La Salle University-Dasmariñas Cavite, Miriam College in Quezon City, and Visayas State University in Baybay, Leyte. And then there’s the Cavite Institute in Silang, Cavite, which the World Bank cited for its innovative recycling for scholarship program.

Way to go, kids!


Post a Comment