By Mariela Angella Oladive
What are the common attitudes and practices of Ilonggos when it comes to waste management?
In partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Central Philippine University (CPU), the Iloilo City government has initiated a month-long study to address solid waste management issues in 18 pilot barangays.
Engr. Neil Ravena, who was recently promoted as head of the General Services Office (GSO), said the study aims to understand and “change the behavior” of residents in handling waste.
Ravena said the aim of study is to change the behavior of Ilonggos when it comes to waste management. They want to create the impression that Iloilo is clean not because of the street sweepers but because Ilonggos are not litterbugs.
“Ma-level up na kita (in terms of solid waste management). We will change the behavior of Ilonggo nga indi lang malimpyo ang ciudad tungod sa street sweepers, but malimpyo ang ciudad tungod nga ang Ilonggo wala nagahaboy sang basura sa dalan.”
Shifting from the traditional information and education campaigns to a more grassroots approach, the study will involve direct observation of household waste disposal behaviors to identify key factors that could trigger behavioral changes in line with Republic Act 9003, also known as the Solid Waste Management Act of the Philippines.
Ravena stressed the importance of encouraging segregation at the source, they particularly started in coastal areas, to prevent plastic waste from polluting bodies of water.
The barangays selected for the study include Benedicto and Buntatala in Jaro district; Ingore and Magsaysay in La Paz; Bakhaw, Bolilao, San Rafael, and Calahunan in Mandurriao; Tanza Esperanza, Compania, East Baluarte, Habog-Habog Salvacion, West Habog Habog, Molo Boulevard, North Baluarte, and South Baluarte in Molo.
Simultaneously, ten other barangays are receiving technical assistance in drafting their waste management plans. These barangays are San Juan, Calumpang, Calaparan, and South Fundidor in Molo district; Sto. Nino Sur, Sta Cruz, Yulo Drive, Dulonan, and Bonifacio in Arevalo; Bo. Obrero in Lapuz; and Bito-on in Jaro.
The initiation of the study coincided with Engr. Ravena’s official assumption of the role of Head of the GSO, having been sworn in by Mayor Jerry P. Treñas following the approval of his appointment by the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
The collaborative effort underscores the city government’s commitment to proactive waste management strategies and its dedication to ensuring a cleaner and more sustainable environment for all Ilonggos.
Through targeted research and community engagement, Iloilo City aims to pave the way for effective waste management practices that will benefit present and future generations.