Latest HMU: ‘Trash Talk’ about Metro Manila waste


A Little Egret in the midst of garbage & plastic waste in Manila Bay. Photo by J Kahlil Bohol Panopio.

Data pertaining to the amount of garbage produced by several Metro Manila cities was shared during a gathering of conservation advocates and students, held by the Haribon Foundation.

In just 5 Metro Manila cities alone (Makati, Muntinlupa, Pasig, Quezon City, and Valenzuela), 861,967 tons of waste is produced per year, according to a study conducted by the Asian Development Bank in 2003.

Entitled ‘Trash Talk’, Ms. Czarina Constantino of the Haribon Foundation not only shared with students and environment workers data and narrative accounts of waste management issues in Metro Manila, but also that of a national and global scale.

An area of plastic 4 times the size of the Philippines exists in the Pacific Ocean today, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Over half of all plastic entering the ocean comes from just 5 countries. According to a report entitled “Land-based strategies for a plastic-free ocean” by the Ocean Conservancy, one of them is the Philippines.


Cza Constantino holds flash cards differentiating between non-biodegradable and biodegradable waste. Photo by Ana Almazar.

“Can you imagine something this big? It is at least 3 storeys deep in our oceans and full of micro plastics,” noted Ms. Constantino, training specialist of the Haribon Foundation.

She brought to the audience attention the consequences to the mis-management, or lack thereof, of plastic waste.

“Not only does our trash go to the ocean and into other animals, but eventually it goes back to us,” chimed Constantino, showing photos of fishes that had consumed pieces of plastic.

By the end of her talk, various laws and methods of alleviating the problems caused by plastic waste and pollution were shared. In addition to ‘reuse, reduce, & recycle’, Constantino added the concept ‘rethink’, motivating members to stop and think about the consequences of buying, using, or discarding particular plastic items.

As stated in Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) must be implemented by all barangays. Members were asked to inquire about MRFs in their respective neighborhoods and participate in garbage segregation practices.

Haribon research specialist Ms. Erina Molina advised that it is best to request food vendors to offer non-plastic items as containers for food, and to bring reusable canvass bags to supermarkets instead of using plastic.

Constantino added, “Be part of the solution and not the pollution.”


Cza Constantino (right) listens to participants as they share their thoughts on possible waste management solutions for the country.

Constantino is the 5th member to lead a talk for the Haribon Foundation’s latest series of educational sessions about the environment called ‘Haribon Meets U’ or HMU.

Taking place in casual environments like cafes and restaurants, HMU sessions offer ordinary individuals a “backstage pass” on environment conservation, with the hope of transforming attendees into active participants in conservation work.

Previous topics covered Haring Ibon or Philippine Eagle, forest legislation, and marine studies of the Haribon Foundation among others. The next HMU will take place Friday, March 18 entitled “From farm to fork,” a look into the relationship between agricultural land use, food production, transportation and refrigeration, and climate change.

Although only offered exclusively to Haribon Foundation members, Haribon membership is open to all ages and even groups, and attendance is free.

An integral part of the Haribon Foundation since its formation in 1972, Haribon membership transforms regular citizens into biodiversity champions. They protect, conserve, and save biodiversity while forming lasting friendships with other environmental advocates. Be a Haribon member today! Email:, or call: +63 (2) 421-1209.

This event was also mentioned in the Manila Times by Iza Iglesias.



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