Bontoc, Mountain Province – Officials in this municipality expressed optimism that the garbage disposal and management in the four central barangays, but even in the outskirt barangays of the municipality will not be a problem any longer following the initial approval of the 10- Year Solid Waste Management (SWM) Plan of the Bontoc Municipal Government.

The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) in its letter to Bontoc Mayor Franklin C. Odsey commended the Bontoc –Local Government Unit (LGU) for its efforts and initiatives in coming up with a sustainable, attainable and sound waste management plan from year 2016-2025.

In its Resolution No. 1030, s. 2018, the NSWMC approved the SWM Plan of Bontoc subject to the satisfactory submission of additional requirements.
Relative to this, the NSWMC gave its green light to the Bontoc –LGU to implement the Ecological Solid Waste Management System such as segregation at source, segregated collection, establishment of Materials Recover Facilities (MRFs) and other recycling and composting methods.

For many years, Bontoc used to operate an open dump site in Matoytoy-ok, Caluttit above the Chico River until the Kalinga Anti-Pollution Action Group (KAPAG) filed a Writ of Kalikasan at the Court of Appeals (CA) against the Bontoc LGU in 2012. This, for the alleged indiscriminate dumping of waste along the Chico River polluting irrigation water that flows to the rice fields of Tabuk and downstream of Cagayan and Isabela. The CA on February 23, 2013 ordered the closure and rehabilitation of the open dumpsite on or before August 22, 2013. To avoid being cited in contempt, Mayor Odsey closed the open dumpsite on August 21, 2013 and started the rehabilitation by reconstructing the retaining wall for the accumulated garbage; constructing a diversion canal for water coming from the road to prevent weakening of the retaining wall; soil covering and vegetating the site with plants to protect the soil cover from erosion; installing appropriate signage indicating that the dumpsite is closed; and perimeter fencing along the national road to prevent entry of unauthorized persons and dumping or throwing of garbage at the site.

The filing of case against Bontoc and the closure of the town’s dumpsite challenged the municipal government to come up with plans and programs to address the garbage problem and solid waste management. This plan will not only cater to the central barangays comprising Poblacion, Bontoc Ili, Caluttit and Samoki; but to Riverside cluster (Barangays Bayyo, Talubin, Bontoc and Tocucan), ALBAGO consisting Alab Oriente , Alab Proper, Balili and Gononogon, and Upland cluster (Barangays Guina-ang, Mainit, Dalican and Maligcong).

Odsey in an interview solicited the usual support and compliance of the community in the implementation of the SWM Plan emphasizing that this is for the good of the constituents and the municipality.
He said that practicing segregation of biodegradable, special, recyclable and residual wastes in the household, office, school and establishment; and complying with no to plastic bags, cellophane and Styrofoam policy may be small and simple gestures, but contribute much in solving the problem of garbage disposal in the locality.

Environmental Management Specialist Roger F. Agcapen of the Bontoc –LGU shared that the municipal government has been doubling its effort in in the campaign and implementation of proper waste disposal.

Agcapen mentioned that while the 10- Year SWM Plan of Bontoc has been initially approved, Bontoc has been practicing what were incorporated in the plan. Prior to the closure of the dump site in 2012, the municipality has been practicing segregation at source. This was intensified when the municipal government in partnership with the Green Police and in coordination with the respective barangay officials have started to inform the public how to segregate their garbage. Agcapen related that called the Green Police who were tapped volunteers from the four central barangays, they wake up early in the morning and proceed to the waste collection area of their respective barangays and at the town market to make sure bags of garbage brought there by the residents are properly segregated. Thankful of their great contributions, the municipal government gave P1, 200.00 monthly honorarium to each Green Police.

He added that in partnership with other stakeholders, the municipal government continuously implements the “No Segregation, No Collection”, and encouraged the public to compost biodegradables at home and practice the Re-use, Reduce and Recycle (3Rs).

To heighten the awareness and participation of the public on proper waste management, the municipal government launched the “Oplan Pera sa Basura” tapping all schools in the municipality to participate. This project involved students and the faculty to collect recyclable materials such as empty plastic bottles, cans, papers and bottles which are not being bought by the junk shops. To ensure sustainability of the project, the municipal government has partnered with four recognized junk shop owners in the locality to collect and buy all the recyclable waste and non-saleable materials. The non-saleable materials such as broken bottles, glass and ceramics shall be given to the Bontoc –LGU for processing and recycling.

The Senior Citizens of Bontoc came –up with a Sustainable Livelihood Project in 2015 from the P1 million budget provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as a start-up capital. Through the processing facility of the Bontoc –LGU, plastic and cellophanes are shredded while bottled are crushed and were turned-over to the Senior Citizen to be made into construction materials such as eco-brick and hollow-blocks.

Agcapen narrated that that in 2016, the hollow-blocks made out of the project sold at a cheaper price to the beneficiaries of the core shelter project of the DSWD in Barangay Can-eo, Bontoc. Also, eco-bricks, hollow-blocks and glass bricks derived from the project of the Senior Citizen were also used in the construction of the new municipal building and its façade.

Other waste reduction measure adopted by the municipality is the Bottle Brick making which was participated in by schools, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and the local residents. The bottle bricks were being used in the construction, beautification and landscaping of parks and other facilities.

To minimize the generation of residual waste, the Sangguniang Bayan passed Municipal Ordinance No. 212, s. 2013 in December prohibiting the use of plastic bags for dry goods, regulating its utilization on wet goods and prohibiting the use of Styrofoam.

Agcapen said that all the activities and projects implemented by the municipality are incorporated in the municipality’s solid waste management plan; thus, the usual cooperation of the public is solicited.
Based on the survey conducted by the Municipal Solid Waste Management Council (MSWMC) in 2016, highest volume of waste is generated from the residential which is 4,230.17 kilograms per day. This is followed by commercial to include general stores, food establishment, service centers and the public market producing 907.887 kilograms of waste daily. Institution such as schools, offices, health related services and banks produce the lowest volume of garbage which is 16.291 kilograms per day. Of the total waste generation collected daily, biodegradable waste is most produced by the public with a total volume of 3,093.820 kilograms per day.

At present, there are two functional dump trucks which are being used in hauling biodegradable and residual wastes from different collection points to the 2.6-hectare SWM facility procured by the municipal government in Am-ancho, Bontoc Ili. It is also where the Temporary Residual Containment Area (TRCA), composting area and bottle/plastic shredding area are in place.

As of this writing, the MSWMC is preparing the additional requirements as required by the NSWMC for the full-swing implementation of the 10 –Year SWM Plan of Bontoc. // Alpine L. Killa, Bontoc –LGU