Garbage workers to get recycling training thru Japan grant

By Alexander Villafania

PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA - Around 6,000 informal basureros or garbage workers will be involved in a modernization initiative set to improve solid waste management systems among the communities of informal waste workers in five municipalities in Metro Manila.

The initiative is based on a $3 million (approximately P126 million) grant provided by the Japanese government through its Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF).

Called the “Social Inclusion and Alternative Livelihoods for the Informal Waste Sector,” the project would modernize waste disposal and recycling sites where garbage workers deliver garbage.

Recycling cooperatives will also receive assistance through the project. Among the goals of the project include technical skills in waste collection, transport, segregation, and recycling.

Because of the conditions of work of informal waste collectors, they are also subject to various problems such as lack of access to health services, education, and other work. The project also aims to provide training for alternative work, formalizing their work through registration, and various forms of improvement in their working conditions

The project would be conducted by the non-profit organization Solid Waste Management Association of the Philippines (SWAPP), which will receive the funds through the World Bank.

It is believed that there are tens of thousands of informal garbage collectors, who earn by selling reusable waste that they sift through trash. Many of them are from informal settlers who have no other employment or business opportunities available to them.

Because most informal waste collectors do not use protective gear such as gloves and facemasks, they are also subject to diseases due to their exposure to various types of biodegradable and chemical wastes.

World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi said the grant should open more opportunities for informal waste collectors in Metro Manila as well as help speed up implementation of waste collection and recycling modernization, as required under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“This is a very important project because it helps address the plight of one of the most marginalized groups in society--men, women and children earning a living from garbage,” Konishi said.

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