Grade 5 level SIP Activity

Encouraging a more active role in caring for the environment through
awareness on proper waste management

By: Gina Silva-Camaya
5-Persevering SIP

As part of SSAM’s line up of Social Involvement Programs, the Grade 5 students had a chance to interact with some representatives from Marikina City’s CEMO (City Environmental Management Office) last September 21. The activity was held at the SIH with other attendees such as the Grade 5 level subject teachers and parent volunteers. The guest speaker gave a detailed talk on the local government’s drive towards a cleaner and more livable city. He explained the duties of the department and how it has adapted a more proactive framework in terms of waste management. The type that other cities are also trying to emulate.   

The speaker set the stage by asking the students who among them do not generate trash. Then he continued on by stating the fact that everyone contributes to trash accumulation. Part of the slides he shared showcased the overall garbage disposal issues in our country, highlighting the problem on public indifference and inadequate government policies. He stressed that the consequences of such actions to our natural resources are irrevocable. This is why CEMO has a vision of creating an “environmentally educated and participative community.” They have and continue to think of ways to lessen the load and to reduce and “divert” trash in Marikina City. By divert, they mean making garbage useful again.


Apart from the garbage collection policies (e.g. segregation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste) in Marikina, he also mentioned some steps in the proper disposal of household trash. He mentioned that it is important for bottles and cans to be washed so as not to attract cockroaches and rats. Sharp sticks and broken glass must be properly wrapped in cloth to avoid causing injuries to the garbage collectors.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the talk was when he mentioned the addendum to the 3Rs, which most students, teachers and parents are well aware of. CEMO is not only advocating for Marikina residents to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle but also to Respond/React and Reject. To Respond or React means to educate others and help others be creative and find ways to reduce trash. To Reject means to say no to products which are not environment-friendly.

Moreover, other guest speakers from CEMO shared the kind of work they do in the MRF (Materials Recovery Facility), which is one of the most utilized facility in terms of reducing the volume of garbage in Marikina. Here they talked about the bioreactor, where scrap vegetables from the market are shredded into pieces, mixed with animal manure and sawdust to produce fertilizer. They also shared how they process waste styrofoam material in an environmentally safe way to make styro-bricks for buildings and pavements.

As a parting message, the guest speaker asked everyone to place their right hand on their left shoulder, to tap themselves and say “Hindi ako magkakalat. Ilalagay ko ang aking munting kalat sa basurahan.” The activity ended with an open forum where you could see a high level of interest among the students as evidenced by the number of questions that were raised. At the same time, the manner that the guest speakers answered the questions reflected the amount of dedication they have to their jobs.  

I’m sure the students learned a lot from the activity. Hopefully, it has made an impact on all the participants and will translate into positive actions. Programs like this can help change mindsets about garbage disposal. CEMO is doing an important role in encouraging students and Marikeños to be more actively involved in proper waste management, empowering everyone to be an agent in caring for the environment.