Among the 10 finalists, Brgy. Pulong Sta. Cruz emerged as the champion in the Search for the Best Ecological Garden and Solid Waste Management Practices in Urban Barangays of Santa Rosa City, as revealed during the awarding ceremony held on July 13, 2022 at Hotel Marciano, Calamba City.
The champion received the following prizes: biodegradable shredder, hydroponics, mushroom growing kit, planting materials, African night crawlers, net for nursery, cubic container, Plaque of Recognition, and a book written by Laguna Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Eriberto Saños entitled “Pasyon ng Inang Kalikasan”.
Brgy. Labas and Tagapo won the second and third places, respectively, and received a portion of the above prizes. The remaining finalists, Brgys. Aplaya, Sinalhan, Don Jose, Macabling, Caingin, Ibaba, and Market Area, received the consolation prizes that include hydroponics, mushroom growing kit, planting materials, net for nursery, and Plaque of Recognition.
“Ito po ay part ng overall effort natin sa paglilinis ng Manila Bay,” Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) Regional Executive Director Nilo Tamoria said, referring to the garden competition organized by the DENR Manila Bay Site Coordinating and Management Office (MBSCMO) of Laguna, which started in October 2021.
He said the Search is not the solution to the prevailing solid waste management problems, but is one of the strategies of the department to creatively promote ecological solid waste management so as to achieve the main goal of restoring the water quality of Manila Bay to SB level as mandated by the Supreme Court through the Writ of Continuing Mandamus. He emphasized that the main purpose of the said activity is to engage the community and eventually change their behaviors towards practicing effective solid waste management.
“’Yung ginawa nating aktibidad, bagama’t kompetisyon, pero ang patutunguhan ay may kinalaman din sa mga maaaring pagbabago ng gawi, na pwede palang mabawasan ang basura, pwede pala ‘yung basura hindi lamang diretso sa landfill, pwede pala na kaunti lang ‘yung maitapon at ‘yung ibang hindi na kailangang ideretso sa landfill ay mai-divert natin sa effort na ito,” he said.
Laguna PENRO Eriberto Sanos said the establishment of eco-gardens, and the other activities that go with it, is the core of ecological solid waste management that should begin at the household level.
“Ito pong pagtatayo ng eco-garden at saka ‘yung recycling, reduce, reuse, ito na ‘yung essence ng ating ecological solid waste management na dapat ay sinusunod nating lahat. Hindi lamang LGU, lahat po ng pamilya, dapat doon po mag-uumpisa. Kung ‘yung segregation at source, composting, recycling nagagawa natin sa sarili nating tahanan, kaunting-kaunti na lang ang ilalagay natin sa sanitary landfill. Kung maaayos po ang ating solid waste management, ay napakalaki ng epekto n’yan dito sa mga bodies of water,” he said, highlighting also the direct impact of proper waste management in the quality of the rivers and the Manila Bay.
Tamoria said he eyes that this initiative will inspire the other barangays of Santa Rosa City, all municipalities and cities of Laguna, and the entire Manila Bay Region to establish and maintain their own eco-gardens and practice solid waste management along the way.
“Itong maliit na kompetisyong ginawa natin, alam ko, may isa, dalawa, tatlo o mas marami pang maiimpluwensyahan at maeengganyo dahil sa ating programa. Hindi po ito ang pagtatapos ng ating programa. Sana po magtuluy-tuloy ito at lumawak pa, makaisip pa tayo ng ibang pang mga istratehiya,” he said, hoping for the sustainability and expansion of the eco-garden project.
Laguna MBSCMO Site Manager, Melvin Lalican said they will continue to monitor the established eco-gardens in the city as part of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program. He also urged the barangay LGUs of Santa Rosa to facilitate in the collection of the garbage of the residents living along the rivers and its tributaries to divert them from dumping the same into the said waterbodies draining towards Laguna Lake and, further, to Manila Bay through Pasig River.