Quezon City. The country’s path to Zero Waste has a long way to go and it must begin at home or in school.
In a gathering held today at the Social Hall of the DENR Main Building in Visayas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, the EcoWaste Coalition, in partnership with the DepEd, jump-started the two-day National Summit and Training on Zero Waste Schools with a theme, ‘Clearing the Pathways to Zero Waste Schools.’ The summit runs until tomorrow, December 8, 2012.
The two-day conference is being attended by approximately 120 participants composed of high-ranking officials from the DENR and DepEd; district supervisors and school administrators; school and university associations; student leaders; and various civil society groups and NGOs.
With this event, the EcoWaste Coalition aims to draw the continuous support of the DepEd, the DENR and several schools and universities all over the country in its campaign to push for a waste-free and toxics-free society.
During the first day of the two-day conference, speakers from different attached agencies of the DENR and the DepEd, as well as from various NGOs and primary, secondary and tertiary Schools with model Zero Waste initiatives, tackled policy frameworks and management systems and programs that need to be set up in academic institutions throughout the country.
“This symposium essentially seeks to increase the knowledge and expertise of the participants about zero waste, expand their understanding regarding the mandates of RA 9003, recognize the challenges in implementing zero waste schemes in schools, and develop strategies that will pave the way for the implementation of zero waste programs in schools,” said Edwin Alejo, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.
The Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 specifies that it is the mandate of the State to adopt a systematic and comprehensive program that will reinforce the integration of ecological solid waste management into the academic curricula of formal and non-formal education in order to raise environmental awareness and action among the public.
The Act specifically directs the DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to coordinate with concerned agencies such as the DENR, as well as NGOs and other private institutions to strengthen the incorporation of environmental issues in school curricula at all levels.
Zero Waste campaigner Christina Vergara hopes that the two-day summit will “guide and inspire school administrators in establishing the framework for their respective Zero Waste sustainability roadmap.”
“It is the objective of the EcoWaste Coalition through our Zero Waste campaigns to create awareness and develop strategies that will help institutions such as schools and universities sustain their Zero Waste initiatives,” she said.
“With the support of DepEd, CHED, DENR, and the local government units among other concerned agencies and schools, we can effectively demonstrate that zero waste is indeed possible,” she added.