Angeles City, Pampanga’s anti-hunger plastic-for-rice program “Walang Plastikan: Plastic Palit Bigas” of Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr. has already fed residents from 33 different villages and collected 720,003 kilograms of trash since the program started January this year.
The mixed plastic bricks, which would be used as pavers on sidewalks or gardens, are all made from different plastic materials – wrappers, bags, bottles, plates, plastic utensils, straws, monobloc chairs and tables, and others.
According to the City Engineer, Engr. Donato Dizon, these plastics are mixed into concrete bricks by trained employees from the City Engineer’s Office, and the Environmental Management System are the ones assigned to make the brick pavers.
Rice cookers were given to residents to encourage participation in the said project, which were donated by Dizon, the Mayor’s Chief Adviser Irish Calaguas, and Executive Assistant IV Reina Manuel during the initial implementation of the project.
Afterwards, the project received positive feedback from the residents, saying that waste segregation in the city improved, the use of plastic was reduced, and there is continuous assistance from the local government to put food on the people’s table.
Two redemption trucks make rounds in the city’s 33 villages from Monday to Friday, with one truck collecting the plastic materials, and the other carrying rice stocks to distribute to the residents, said city engineer office’s executive assistant Reina Manuel.
The mayor also put up a booth at the City Hall in June, open from Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In order for the communities to be encouraged to up their participation, giveaways are given to barangays with the highest collection rates, said Calaguas. Barangays Anunas, Malabanias, Pampang, Sta. Teresita and Cuayan were recorded to have high collection rates.
Before the program, the city collected around 200 tons of garbage every weekday, according to records from the city engineer’s office. After the implementation of the project, collection dropped to around 193 tons.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.
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