The final judging for the best in solid waste management practices and ecological gardens in lakeshore municipalities within the Province of Rizal commenced in line with the celebration of National Zero Waste Month. The aforementioned activity was started on November 9, 2021, and was open to two (2) urban barangays for each of the lakeshore municipalities of Rizal - Angono, Binangonan, Baras, Cardona, Jala-jala, Morong, Pililia, and Tanay. The participating barangays signified their interest to join the municipal-wide contest through endorsement letters from their respective Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO).
Each participating barangay showcased the different methods they employed to beautify and sustain their ecological gardens and material recovery facilities. Such methods include waste segregation, composting, and vertical gardening. Waste segregation increases the safety and health of the public while also providing an easier way to recycle, composting makes use of kitchen wastes and biodegradable materials as fertilizers for plants, and vertical gardening maximizes the amount of what can be planted in a limited area or space. These are also part of the criteria of the contest and have been well noted by the judges during their on-site visit.
The ecological gardens do not only enhance the environment but also tighten the relationship within the community by encouraging volunteerism and providing livelihood to the people. However, some challenges are shared by these gardens like inadequate sources of water, delayed collection of wastes, fast transmission of pests and infection among crops and plants, and limited workforce. With these given problems, the judges advised the participants on how they could improve their ecological gardens and make them more sustainable.
Poor solid waste management is a very alarming issue around the globe. The lack of awareness and knowledge about proper segregation and handling have brought detrimental effects not only to our environment but also to the health condition of people. Therefore, through initiatives of different agencies, engaging communities in activities related to proper disposal will lessen the production of waste.
The activity aims to reduce the generation of waste in the lakeshore municipalities within the Province of Rizal and encourage more communities and institutions to actively join in making more ecological gardens. It also helps to strengthen the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 9003 of 2000 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management through strict monitoring of established Ecological Gardens and Material Recovery Facilities in various barangays.