Solid waste segregation is a “moral [obligation]” of students said Silliman University Buildings and Grounds (SUBG) superintendent Edgar Ygnalaga.
But student government Environment Committee (EnviroComm) Chair Julmar Misa said that “change should start from SUBG because they have the authority to implement changes.”
In an interview with the Weekly Sillimanian (tWS) last Jan. 23, Misa said there is a mismanagement of solid waste in the university.
“There’s still no segregation going on and we already pointed that out to the administration [since first semester]. However, this [issue] has not been addressed until today,” Misa said.
Although there are color-coded trash bins in the university, they become useless because the biodegradable, non-biodegradable and recyclable wastes are just mixed together and deposited to the open dumpsite in Brgy. Candau-ay, Misa said.
This was confirmed by SUBG superintendent Ygnalaga himself.
“Waste coming from students in trash bins around the university are not segregated before compactors collect them and send them to the dumpsite,” he said in an interview with tWS.
Ygnalaga added the plastic bottles that can be sold or recycled, however, are thrown along with residual or single-use waste.
The university is dumping an average of 200 cubic meters of trash per month to the city’s dumpsite.
The trash comes from the whole Silliman campus, including residential areas such as dormitories and Silliman Village, SU Medical Center, Cafeteria, SU Marine Laboratory and private establishments.
However, Ygnalaga explained that the university has a Material Recover Facility (MRF) at the back of SUBG.
Trash coming from departments in the university such as waste paper, electrical waste, glass and other materials that can be recovered are turned over to SUBG to be placed in the MRF.
Moreover, biodegradable waste like leaves and twigs are composted for landscaping; while recyclable ones like glass are used as fillers for building foundation. Electrical waste is sold to licensed treaters.
Ygnalaga said they cannot impose stricter policies regarding waste segregation among the students because “it is not part of classroom academic instruction” but rather a moral obligation.
“If only students properly throw their trash in the right trash bins, then it is easier for compactors to collect only residual waste,” he added.
Moreover, Ygnalaga challenged the Student Government to “educate the students” on waste segregation.
“I’m placing my challenge to the Student Government.” He said it is their job because they are in touch with the students.
He added that SG should not be just educating but also monitoring if the students really practice waste segregation.
However, SUSG EnviroComm chair Misa said they have been doing information drive on waste management through social media.
“For me, they are asking too much from us students. Yes we are educating the students, but in the case of monitoring the waste that the university accumulates, it’s going to be hard,” said Misa.
“SU is composed of hectares of land and it generates lots of trash in the university, (and how many are we) in EnviroComm?” he added.
Monitoring waste in Silliman requires big commitment and students have to attend to their academic demands.
“If they want this to be really addressed, they should put up an office that is actually addressing the environmental issues of Silliman.”
Misa said he has already heard the advice from BG many times before, but he stressed the change should start from BG themselves because they have the authority to implement changes.
Misa said: “It’s so hard to tell students to segregate their garbage when they are telling you, (segregation is useless because garbage is dumped all together).”