The Project Zacchaeus Cooperative (PZC), thru its Project Eco-Kolek, has recently started to establish a safer garbage collection system for the informal waste collectors in partnership with USAID’s Clean Cities Blue Ocean Program.
Aside from the assistance from USAID, the local government units, private sectors, and academe will be providing proper gear and equipment, optimizing the collection routes, and conducting a series of leadership training. These efforts will minimize the risks to the local waste collectors from possible infectious disease exposure, heatstroke, and other complications due to intense heat exposure. However, there are still gaps when it comes to strategies for garbage collection from one point source to another and the overall logistics operations, proper sorting and recording processes (i.e. usually being done manually) lack of proper means of transportation. Thus, the project aims to bridge these identified gaps.
Project Eco-Kolek aims to address the societal gaps among the marginalized community of Purok (village) Masikap, Barangay Bancao-Bancao with garbage collection and scavenging as one of the community’s main sources of income.
With the goal of helping the community, PZC assisted in formally organizing community members as an association, Samahan ng mga Mamamayan ng Jacana (SMJ) in 2018. The association is comprised of 188 members, of which approximately 60 members are involved in informal waste collection while the remaining members work in construction or in sari-sari stores or are unemployed. The community collects an average of 3,000 pieces of recyclable plastics, usually water bottles weekly by checking the garbage bins or collecting from the street and selling them to junkyard traders.
These plastics collected for almost 12-16 hours a day are sold for a total amount of PHP 7.00 (USD 0.14) per kg. At such a rate, the collectors immerse themselves in the rigorous process of plastic collection from dumpsters and trash cans with no proper protection and are exposed to multiple risks and diseases from waste. Several collectors have health complications and skin problems.
Defined Counterpart of Collaborators
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) would mainly assist in the training of Eco Warriors to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills for the project to be operational with initial 37 sessions in the completion of the course. The training expenses consist of materials, kits, and modules while other professional services are the cost of the instructor’s remuneration.
The City Government of Puerto Princesa would support the systemization and disposal of the collected waste. General services provided are the cost of a consultant for the duration of the project.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), focuses on the human capita development and mobilization of the project. Supplies and materials are uniforms necessary to ensure the safety and health of the Eco Warriors. Accidental insurance will also be provided to them. Training will also be conducted through a collaborative partnership with John Hopkins University.
Project Zacchaeus (PZC) would be handling the overall implementation of the project, ensuring the proper handling and maintaining of gears and equipment (e.g. capital outlay), providing refreshments and transportation allowances during the duration of the training provided by TESDA, USAID, and shall also hire personnel to monitor and warrant the project’s operation.
Department of Science and Technology (DOST), will aid in the development of an app and website to easily facilitate the tracking of the collection as well as the project’s mobilization. Specialized field collector units, trash bins, and other supplies will also be provided to prototype in households and partner establishments.