The project started off according to plan in March 2003 and accomplished the requirements in the ToR even faster than its initial time schedule requested.
Below on this page, the general development, experiences, accomplishments, and practical outcome in the initial - rather conventional - project are briefly described with texts and pictures.
However, the real success of the project is found in the additional work carried out in the most active of the barangays, barangay Pinagkaisahan. The project developed a small scale Eco Center that now works as the heart of a concrete, hands-on Solid Waste Management System with an adapted Material Recovery Facility (MRF); all in order to serve as the desired Best Practice Example.
Owing to very strong and dedicated barangay Management, enthusiastic staff, and - with time - relatively cooperative inhabitants the project has managed to reduce the number of truck loads bringing residual waste to Payatas dumpsite from eight (8) per week in the beginning of the project down to two (2) today (March 2007) - and the project is now even in the process of reducing to one (1) truck per week. This remarkable reduction of 75% or even more shows that it is possible to achieve significant positive results with limited budgets.
More of the unique accomplishments, actions, experiences, etc that have led to the sustainable success and the good example in barangay Pinagkaisahan are found on a separate page (click here). (Please note that the page includes many pictures and will take some time to load.)
The brief descriptions and pictures of the general development, experiences, accomplishments, and practical outcome in the basic, initial project are divided into various sections. Each picture can be enlarged by clicking on it.
Several studies have been carried out and, as a general average, the solid waste composition in Metro Manila looked (1997) like this (according to a JICA study):
Information about the core barangays in Quezon City where the project was accomplished:
In cooperation with the stakeholders involved a set of specially design IEC (Information, Education, and Communication) materials was produced. The material was utilized in the Training of Trainers and in Echo Training during the project and the material is still being used even now when the project is formally finalized. A compendium on General Solid Waste Management with special focus on source separation and monitoring was produced to the training of trainers, and it was distributed to all participants in the seminars directed to trainers.
As a textbook and a reference the following booklet was distributed to all the 25 barangays involved in the IEC activities. The textbook is copied with the permission from the authors.
L.F. Diaz, G.M. Savage, L.L.
Eggerth and C.G. Golueke (1998):
The communication material for the households was a core
objective among IEC material. The project used some of the limited contingency budget to produce a jingle
called "Basura Sha-la-la". It has been produced in two versions;
The jingle has become the "theme song" of the project and is used by the barangay to announce the arrival of the collection vehicle, among other things. The jingle has also been used during all kinds of formal and informal presentations, follow-ups, etc for the project - to the delight of the participants.
Echo in the term "Echo Training" describes how information, knowledge and understanding are brought out to the society. Partly it is dissemination of knowledge; partly mobilization of different groups of people to raise their consciousness about the power of coordinated actions. The raised consciousness is often the start of the empowerment process and in order to achieve this people need to come together to discuss and share experiences.
The empowerment process starts when people get aware of their situation and begin to act coordinated to change it. The project has raised the participants' consciousness about Solid Waste Management which is then the base for actions.
Several seminars, workshops, and echo training sessions have been carried out to provide the participants with possibilities for different groups to meet, discuss and learn.
The gatherings from the start of the project intended to make the participants understand that their "unique" problems in fact were shared in some way with many other barangays. The exchange of experience and ideas were summarized and made the foundation for actions.
The first set of seminars and workshops was held 27--28 August 2003.
The second set of workshops was accomplished on 21 April 2004 for participants from around 20 barangays in Quezon City. It was combined with a study visit to barangay Pinagkaisahan in order to give a hand-on demonstration of the accomplishments achieved so far. The gathering was called "Basura Day". ("Basura" means "Waste" in Tagalog.)
The afternoon was used for follow-up training seminars, experience sharing, and discussions.
All experience and questions pointed in the same direction:
Learning from the Pinagkaisahan Best Practice Experience
In order to disseminate the experiences from the project numerous representatives from LGUs and other organizations all over the Philippines have been visiting barangay Pinagkaisahan. Initially, the project was visited by at least two to three groups per week and the barangay captain, Mrs Vivian Quitiquit, and her staff joked:
- There is no time for Kapitana (the barangay captain) to do her normal work since the study visits take all her time.
Today, there is still at least one study group per week that wants to learn from the sustainable results. All in all several thousand persons have visited the project site to learn from the Best Practice Experience.
Learning from Sweden
Six project participants visited Sweden in May 2003 for a study visit. The focus was on learning how various Solid Waste Management activities are carried out at public and private organizations. Special effort was put on the illustration of collection systems for recycling and composting.
The participants were made up by three persons from the DILG-NCR, two from the core barangays, and one of the local consultants. The study visit worked much as an eye-opener for the participants. They could see various practical ways and means to handle solid waste from household segregation over newspaper recycling to metal recycling at a steel mill and modern incineration plants.
The general reaction naturally focused on the differences between the countries - and consequently the differences in the possibilities to implement the various functions, but the Swedish hosts emphasized over and over again that it took decades to get the relatively well-functioning systems in Sweden working.
During the progress of the project, the participants have often referred to and commented on their experiences from Sweden. It is obvious that the study visit contributed a lot to the general understanding of what is feasible to do. A hands-on experience is often worth much more than many theoretical seminars. So the general rule applies: "Seeing Is Believing..."
Learning from other Solid Waste Management projects visited
There were also several study visits accomplished during the project. Exchanging hands-on experience with the people directly involved in the work is often much better than all theoretical seminars and training together...
The following is a brief review of the economic aspects of a solid waste management project on the barangay level. These issues are thoroughly discussed in the Final Report.
This section, although being a brief summary, is a bit extensive since the topic is very complex. By reading this section you will get a general idea of the economic conditions for a successful Solid Waste Management Project.
The conclusions are found by the end of this section.
Three main components of Solid Waste Management economy
The handling of the waste from an economic point of view on the barangay level can be divided into the following three components:
Revenues or other cost recovery possibilities
The table below includes a schematic calculation for a barangay in Metro Manila with around 10,000 inhabitants of mixed population. Each item can naturally be discussed and modified, but the ambition of the table is to show the orders of magnitude and where the critical costs and revenues are found.
The investments can naturally vary a lot depending on the starting conditions in the specific barangay, the level of ambition, stepwise implementation of the new schemes, etc. However, the order of magnitude, 1,500,000 -- 2,000,000 pesos, is a good estimate for a barangay of 10,000 inhabitants.
An investment of this magnitude is very hard for a typical barangay to handle in one step. However, with a good planning of budget allocations over the years and a stepwise implementation it would be possible to build up a well-functioning solid waste management system within just a few years.
Experience from various other projects also shows that there are other sources of funding than only the barangay budgets.
are some examples of funding used in other projects.
Savings and funding are sometimes difficult due to
administrative rules and regulations where a "saving" from one budget year can
not be transferred to the following. However, it seems as if such transfers can
be arranged given one of the basic rules fro successful projects:
Just as is the case regarding the investments, the operational costs can vary a lot depending on the starting conditions in the specific barangay, the level of ambition, stepwise implementation of the new schemes, etc. However, the order of magnitude, 40,000--50,000 pesos/month, is a good estimate for a barangay of 10,000 inhabitants.
The annual budget of a typical barangay is roughly 4,000,000 pesos. Out of this budget, 5% is allocated to solid waste management, i.e., 200,000 or 17,000 per month. This amount is often used for employing street sweepers, buying plastic bags, and various costs related to environmental protection in general.
As seen from the table above, the standard budget added by potential revenues can not sustain the solid waste management activities.
It is difficult to significantly reduce the operational costs since the overall work is relatively labor intensive. This type of work is also a low-status job, but the activity could provide livelihood for people who otherwise would have severe difficulties in finding a job; hence probably saving on social costs.
Tabular summary of investments and operational costs
Revenues and other cost recovery possibilities
Property tax allocations
5% (five percent) of the property taxes collected in a barangay (property tax fund) are said to be possible to transfer to the waste management fund.
In the case of barangay Pinagkaisahan the amount is around PHP 200,000.-/year which would cover a large portion of the operational costs.
Savings on hauling costs
Quezon City has passed a city ordinance which, in summary, allows the barangay to receive 50% of the savings on hauling trips from reduced amount of waste brought to landfill (Payatas).
Assume that each hauling trip is 1,500 pesos. Starting with a "standard number" of hauling trips for the kind of typical barangay discussed here, say eight per week, a reduction of 50% of the waste brought to landfill would give four saved trips per week. That is around 25,000 pesos/month - or 300,000 pesos/year, which in turn is 50--60% of the operational costs estimated above.
Since the biodegradable waste added with a part of the recyclable waste account for more than 50% of the total waste, these savings are certainly feasible with a full scale solid waste management system.
It is probably possible to save even more on the hauling trips since the garbage truck would collect only one fraction (residual waste) and through good management, that fraction could be more effectively collected. (This is in practice what has happened in barangay Pinagkaisahan.)
Unfortunately, this kind of incentive related to savings on hauling trips seems at this moment to be unique for Quezon City. There are various reasons for that, but one reason is probably that Quezon City manages its own landfill (Payatas) and consequently also has to carry the direct burden. In many parts of Metro Manila the solid waste is "managed" via illegal dumpsites...
Selling of recyclables
The possibility to sell the recyclable waste is a potential revenue source. However, it is arguable if it is an optimized use of resources to arrange the sorting and selling of recyclable items collected on the barangay level on a full scale.
The experience from barangay Pinagkaisahan gives partly contradictory experiences in this field.
Selling of compost
High quality compost has a market value. An average a rice-sack sized compost bag is sold at 30--50 pesos provided the content is of good quality.
If the composting is run on a large scale, 10--100 tons per year, it can be of large-scale commercial value. However, the main market on that level is the agricultural sector, and any serious commercial activity on that market would need high and uniform quality, which is probably hard to achieve on the barangay level.
On the small scale it is naturally possible to sell the compost to the barangay residents or neighbors. However, it is again hardly the task for the barangay to organize the selling of compost on this level. It is therefore recommended that the compost is distributed back to the residents as an incentive. That would also pave the way for a barangay initiated and coordinated beautification of the surroundings.
Practically it has also turned out to be complicated to run small scale, low-cost composting facilities.
"Solid Waste Management Fee" from the residents
Assuming available solid waste management funds are needed for other activities than the ones outlined above, and the incentive from the city level is not available (due to lack of political will), there must be a way to cover the operational costs. Assuming again that the typical barangay has a population of 10,000 people with each household consisting of an average of 4.5 person, i.e. 2,200 households. Assume further that each property is occupied by 1.5 households, i.e. 1,500 properties which make around 7 persons per property.
A "Solid Waste Management Fee" of one (1) peso per day and
property would give
This is more or less exactly the amount estimated for the operational costs above!
It is interesting to note that similar discussions are on-going in other Southeast Asian countries. A "Garbage Fee" of 1 baht (roughly 1.4 pesos) per household and day is charged in Thailand.
Cluster of barangays
As mentioned under Investments above there should be potential additional savings to be made if the barangay - or a cluster of barangays - could handle its own hauling system.
Exempted costs in the calculations
Construction, maintenance, and long-term closure costs for the dumpsite is not considered in this calculation. However, that is certainly a most significant cost that must be handled in a more overarching and long-term calculation for the overall solid waste management on the city/municipal level.
The investments need to be covered by one-time funding or savings over a period of time.
The operational costs can be covered via a mix of the various options discussed above.
The issues above are thoroughly discussed in the Final Report.
Now you have learnt about the general accomplishments in the project that initially was required under the Terms of Reference (ToR). As you can see it was mainly the conventional areas like seminars, workshops, training, studies, plans, etc.
However, the project management realized that in order to achieve something that would really provide a tangible learning experience and serve as a Best Practice Example for others, there was a need for a more hands-on approach.
The real success of the project is found in the additional work carried out in the most active of the core barangays, barangay Pinagkaisahan. The project developed a small scale Eco Center that now works as the heart of a concrete, hands-on Solid Waste Management System with an adapted Material Recovery Facility (MRF); all in order to serve as a desired Best Practice Example.
If you want to learn more about the unique accomplishments, actions, experiences, etc., that have led to the sustainable success and the good example in barangay Pinagkaisahan you click here to go to that separate page. (Please note that the page includes many pictures and will take some time to load.)
The Guestbook is meant to be a place for spontaneous reactions, more comprehensive comments, and questions. It will be more interesting for others if you write something in the Guestbook - so please do!
If you have a link to another website that you think would be beneficial for people visiting this website - please send it to me and I might include it on this page. Then we can set up links to each other for the benefit of everybody.