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Cash for recyclable trash proposed
HOUSE committee on social services and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas has filed a bill that would provide cash aid and basic necessities in exchange for recyclable trash.
Vargas said House Bill (HB) 9781, or the proposed “Basura to Ayuda Act,” addresses the need to continue the government’s solid waste management program while providing aid to citizens during the pandemic.
“Maraming kababayan natin ang hirap pa ring itawid and pang-araw araw na pangangailangan nila kahit may ayuda mula sa gobyerno,” Vargas said.
“With this bill, we are proposing yet another way to provide help for our fellow Filipinos during this pandemic by incentivizing the collection and turnover of solid waste materials,” he added.
In his explanatory note, Vargas said rewards and incentives under the Solid Waste Management Act “have limitations and must be innovated to adapt to the needs of the new normal.”
“The social and economic climate brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges on food security and environmental protection,” he said.
Vargas noted an increase in the production of solid wastes during the pandemic because of changing consumption habit. Quarantine restrictions are also affecting the implementation of solid waste management programs in some local governments.
“We should continue to promote proper waste segregation at the household level. Kadalasan, ito ang isa sa napapabayaan dahil nga kakaiba ang sitwasyon ng marami nating kababayan ngayon,” he said in a separate statement.
“But the environment must not be a victim to the pandemic. We can continue to promote segregation and concern for our environment while helping those in need,” he added.
The Vargas bill seeks to “institutionalize innovative efforts” to incentivize solid waste management and recycling by allowing residents to trade in their garbage for “basic commodities such as rice, eggs, vegetables, canned goods, basic household consumer items, other essential grocery items, or even cash.”
Vargas said his bill drew inspiration from the Quezon City government’s “Trash to Cashback” Program.
He said the program allows residents to trade their recyclable materials for “environmental points.”
When accumulated, Vargas said these points can be exchanged for basic goods and essential grocery items.
The bill mandates the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to determine the values of traded solid wastes through an Incentivized Solid Waste Redemption System.
Aside from individuals and households, the bill also allows civic associations, parent-teachers associations, homeowners associations, and nonprofit institutions to trade their recyclable and non-hazardous solid wastes.
For hazardous wastes, the bill mandates the DENR, DTI, and DA to establish Hazardous Waste Recovery Protocols and a reporting system where individuals can report the location and details of the suspected hazardous wastes for recovery by the proper government agencies.
For private and government-owned corporations, the DENR, DTI, and Department of Finance are tasked by bill to draft a Carbon Credits system for reducing carbon emissions, and other incentives.