Photos taken at Gregorio del Pilar Elementary School, Tondo, Manila, 31 May 2016
An ecology group urged the participants of the ongoing Brigada Eskwela nationwide to also spruce up the materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in schools.
MRFs, also known as “ecology centers,” serve as repository for segregated discards that can be reused or recycled, as well as a place to turn biodegradable discards such as food and yard waste into fertilizer or soil conditioner.
“The annual pre-school opening makeover naturally focuses on improving the classrooms and other common areas where pupils spend most of their time,” observed Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition.
“In this year’s Brigada Eskwela, we hope volunteers will also get assigned to spruce up the school MRF or to construct one if there is none yet,” she said.
MRFs are generally consist of a redemption area for the recyclables, a composting area for the biodegradables, an ecology garden and a display area for recycled or repurposed items from discards.
Functional MRFs, the group noted, can play a very important role in instilling environmental consciousness and responsibility among the members of the school community, particularly on the ecological way of managing wastes.
“By sorting discards into few categories and keeping them clean and segregated at the MRF, students are taught about the value of practising the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) to prevent and reduce waste and conserve resources,” Tolentino said.
“The school can later sell the collected recyclables to junk shops, providing the school with extra income that can be put to good use such as for school improvement projects,” she added
“Hopefully, they can bring this learning home and encourage their respective families to make waste segregation a habit,” she pointed out.
Tolentino underscored the need for schools to have a composting system that will cater to their needs.
Depending on the volume of waste organics generated and the availability of materials and space, the school can adopt a practical system for composting their biodegradable wastes such as food and garden wastes.
“There is no need for fancy composting bins. You can practically use whatever container is available to compost your biodegradable discards from broken pails, clay pots, old drums and rice sacks or through pits and windrows,” she said.
The EcoWaste Coalition reminded school administrators and teachers to actively promote the implementation of the Department of Education Order No. 5, Series of 2014.
Among other things, the said directive states that "every school shall practice waste management principles, such as (waste) minimization, specifically resource conservation and recovery, segregation at source, reduction, recycling, reuse and composting, in order to promote environmental awareness and action among the students."
"We look forward to supporting DepEd's efforts under the Duterte administration to nurture a waste-free and toxic-free learning environment for all Filipino children," the group said.