DepEd leads launch of Ecosavers programSunday, June 24, 2012 12:00 AM Views : 1013CLAUDETH MOCON-CIRIACO
PUBLIC-SCHOOL students can help ensure a "green future" if most of them become "Ecosavers."
Thus said Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro during the launch on June 21 of the National Ecosavers Program that will be jointly administered by the Departments of Education (DepEd), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Galing Pook Foundation (GPF).
Luistro exhorted the 742 public elementary and secondary schools in Metro Manila to do their part for the environment as part of the National Ecosavers Program which calls for the strengthening of resource conservation, recovery, segregation at source and recycling of waste materials.
Luistro said the program will be replicated all over the country in the coming months.
He said the country's 1.992 billion students will participate in the program.
"Lahat ng eskuwelahan sa NCR ay ipapatupad itong programa dahil ayoko sa pilot-testing na gagawin lang sa isa o iilang eskuwelahan kaya sabay-sabay na para lahat ay kasama sa coverage," Luistro said after Thursday's signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) among the DENR, DILG, MMDA and GPF.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said they have set an initial amount of P50 million as a start-up fund for the Ecosavers Program.
He added that the environment department will also take the lead in planning, implementation and monitoring of the program and provide technical and funding support to the DepEd to enable public schools and local government units to effectively implement the program.
"We will also link the schools with junkshops and recycler associations located in their localities for the marketing of recyclable waste," Paje said as he called for public support to the initiative. "Environmental education is not the monopoly of the DENR alone but everyone of us."
The DepEd chief said NCR schools were selected to take a first crack at the program so it can be better monitored.
The goal is to eventually include all the 45,000 public elementary and secondary schools nationwide.
"Actually may mga schools na hindi lang dito sa Metro Manila na may waste-segregation policies pero dito sa programa, mas lalo pa natin itong palalakasin," he said.
He said the Ecosavers program will encourage students at an early age to practice waste segregation at home and at school and the collection of recyclable materials which could teach them the value of hard work.
"This can be a good environmental habit which when first taught at our children's respective homes can be reinforced strongly in schools," Luistro said.
Based on the agreement, students will be taught collection and segregation of recyclable materials. In schools a storage and transaction area for recyclables will be identified and an incentive system for students in exchange for recyclable materials will be established.
Biodegradable materials will later be composted in support of the government's National Greening Program, as well as for the school's gardening program.
Luistro said a cash incentive will be given to the school and the students though he said the amount is being studied.
Another is a "point system" where schools can exchange the points garnered from segregation for school supplies such as notebooks, ballpens and pencils.
Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000) requires the DepEd to strengthen the integration of environmental concerns in the school curriculum, with a particular emphasis on the theory and practice of resource conservation, recovery, segregation at source and recycling.
The DepEd is also mandated to educate students on the importance of environmental conservation and protection as it relates to sustainable development.