Dinagyang 2023 yields more waste

Iloilo City Hall workers replace plants in the downtown area of the City Proper district after these were damaged by revelers during the celebration of the Dinagyang Festival. (John Noel E. Herrera)

By John Noel E. Herrera

The celebration of this year’s face-to-face Dinagyang Festival yielded more garbage, according to the Iloilo City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO).

CENRO head Engr. Neil Ravena said that they collected around 80 tons of waste in the City Proper district alone and this was only during the highlight of the festival on Jan 22, 2023.

“80 tons na ang naka-record sa aton sanitary landfill coming from the downtown area in City proper only, wala pa ma-include ang iban nga districts,” Ravena said.

He added that the collected waste during the entire day (Jan 22) from the tribes competition up to the food festival areas, was higher compared to their estimates of 50 to 60 tons.

Ravena also said the bigger volume of waste was due to the huge crowd that missed the physical celebration of the Dinagyang Festival in the past two years after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in lockdowns.

“So far, ti as expected naton, since two years nga wala ta nag-celebrate, ti nag-enjoy gid ang mga tao,” Ravena said.

“Na-overwhelm gid ang aton waste bins bisan din pinamutang, and we somehow expected it kay sa kadamu-on sang mga tao nga nag-celebrate sang Dinagyang kagab-i, and hindi man dayon-dayon kasulod trucks ta para mag-collect sang basura, the reason why nga na-overwhelm man ang aton trash bins,” he added.

The CENRO head noted that most of the waste collected in the downtown area was plastic materials such as food packaging, soda bottles, and other disposable materials.

“So amu gid ni ang aton mga na-collect and siguro mga ara sa 80 to 90 percent puro gid plastic ang aton na-collect sa downtown area,” he said.

Despite the overwhelming volume of waste, the CENRO managed to immediately restore cleanliness in the area as they prepared their waste management plan for the festival.

“Natapos na ang clearing sang mga basura (in City Proper area), kay as early as 3 a.m. may mga street sweepers na kita nga nagpanilhig sa dalan para ma-restore ta ang iya itsura,” Ravena said.

CENRO added that they deployed more or less 300 street sweepers, and augmented additional enforcement teams to maintain the cleanliness of all the streets in the city for the Dinagyang Festival.

Aside from the waste, Ravena also emphasized that several plants in the city streets were also damaged by passersby during the celebration, but they also deployed teams to replace those plants.

Ravena said they aim to manage the cleanliness of the streets, as well as the condition of the plants in next year’s celebration of Dinagyang Festival.

Meanwhile, the city’s street sweepers also received appreciation from the public as they maintained cleanliness in different areas, especially during the tribes competition.

“Credit sa mga street sweepers, mga mapisan kag dedikado sa ila work. Deserve gid nila hatagan man incentives para makabulig man sa ila mga tagsa ka pamilya,” Sebylle Ogacion commented on a Facebook post.

“Kudos to our beloved street warriors for doing their job dedicatedly. Tani lang galing bala maging responsable man kita sa aton mga basura,” Eduard Benederio added.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas also commended the personnel of the CENRO and the General Service Office (GSO) for maintaining cleanliness in all areas.

“I thank the personnel of the GSO and the CENRO. The day after Dinagyang, the city is so clean. Madamo guid nga salamat,” Treñas said in his Facebook post.