DENR turns over 250,000 ‘Ecosavers passbooks’ to DepEd
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has turned over to the Department of Education (DepEd) an initial 250,000 units of “Ecosavers Club Passbook” to be distributed to public elementary and high school students in Metro Manila who are taking part in the highly praised National Ecosavers Program (NEP).
NEP is a recycling campaign launched by the government in 2012 in a bid to reduce garbage being collected from schools and households through the establishment of an ecological solid waste recovery system in every school, which would allow students to exchange their recyclables and biodegradable waste for school supplies or even cash.
An incentive mechanism was created under the program where students are issued passbooks to record the credit points they earn from their recyclable and biodegradable materials. The recyclables are then pooled for final collection by accredited junk shops and recyclers.
The NEP’s initial phase is being implemented in 783 government primary and secondary schools in the National Capital Region involving some 1.9 million students. The program’s national expansion is underway.
Aside from the DENR and DepEd, the NEP is also being implemented by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), in partnership with the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), Galing Pook Foundation, and major players in the plastics industry.
The DENR, which had allotted P50 million for the initial implementation of the NEP, is targeting the distribution of one million passbooks within the year, and the remaining 900,000 by 2015.
DENR records would show that around 30 percent of the solid waste that remain uncollected come from informal communities where most public students reside.
“The NEP is a way to ensure that solid waste in areas that the MMDA is unable to collect from is reduced, and we thank public schools for their initiative and participation in the program,” said DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje.
The environment chief added: “We recognize that the solution to most of our problems comes from the stakeholders themselves. This is a unique, participatory program that involves everyone and benefits everyone.”
During the first meeting of the NEP’s steering committee held at the DENR main office in Quezon City last Tuesday, DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said that schools could also benefit from the compost that can be generated from biodegradable wastes brought by students.
The compost can be used for seedlings under the DepEd’s project to grow at least five native tree species on school campuses.
Luistro said the NEP also encourages students to learn financial management at an early age because aside from recording the waste and number of points they have earned, they can also use the passbook in setting up deposit account with partner banks.
Meanwhile, Paje noted that one of the challenges faced by the national government in implementing the NEP is the support from local government units (LGUs).
He thus directed NSWMC Executive Director Ely Ildefonso to develop guidelines to assist in program implementation, including the possibility of requiring LGUs to support the program.
MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez, for her part, said the agency would help in encouraging all barangays in Metro Manila to become active NEP partners of schools within their areas of jurisdiction. ###