As of March 2017, the Campus Sustainability Office (CSO) has implemented the Laboratory Hazardous Wastes Management Plan, following a series of screenings and consultations for the application of a standardized waste disposal protocol.
Since his appointing as the University Pollution Control Officer, Myklim Casibang has aimed to create a plan that seeks to provide a safe and secure management of the hazardous waste generated by the University. Casibang shares that prior to his appointment, there was a lack of a program that controlled segregation of both hazardous and solid wastes. In addition, he states there was no available data that reflected the statistics of the wastes disposed by the Lasallian community.
Casibang expresses that the disposal of hazardous laboratory wastes was previously a dangerous affair, as there was no proper disposing bin for animal remains nor was there any provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the waste collectors who handled high-risk wastes.
In order to implement a proper program, sufficient data must be collected to fully address the problem within the existing waste management protocol. In October 2016, Casibang released a Waste Analysis and Characterization Study (WACS) that explicitly details the current status of the University’s disposed waste.
As stated in the WACS report conducted by the CSO, it shows that the largest generated waste stems from biodegradables, majority of which consist of food waste that came from the concessionaires. Biodegradable wastes from laboratory experiments (e.g. cat and frog remains from dissection experiments) were also one of the evident problems that needed to be addressed, which was eventually covered by the implementation of the Laboratory Hazardous Waste Management Plan.
The hazardous wastes management plan defines a set of procedures that the Colleges of Science, Engineering, and Computer Studies must do, following their experiments or lab work. According to Casibang, the plan stipulates that labelling and monitoring of onhand materials is required in order to properly control the disposal of wastes and to prevent any health risks from occurring. Discussed in the plan are codes that any party must abide to when labelling or disposing the material. He highlights the rule of “No Label, No Disposal” in order to ensure that each material is disposed properly. Casibang points that the plan is at full capacity, thus making it nearly a perfectly implemented project.
Despite this, the matter of solid waste management needs to be addressed, as other biodegradable wastes like food waste and even residual waste are other evident problems in the University. Casibang clarifies that a Solid Waste Management Plan is currently in the works, with participation from the other members of the CSO and Building and Grounds Management Office.
Current state of the waste management of the University
Casibang shares that the implementation of the Laboratory Hazardous Wastes Management Plan was helpful in terms of improving the hazardous waste management of the University. The Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources classifies the University as Category B which meant that the disposal of hazardous wastes should be semi-annual. He also mentioned that proper waste bins are being provided by the treater and transporter of the hazardous waste.
A schedule was also created for the disposal of the various hazardous wastes. Instead of disposing the hazardous wastes every day, it is scheduled every Friday of each month wherein a specific college is assigned for disposal.
Moreover, personal protective equipment (PPE) is also given to the respective personnel who are tasked for the disposal of the hazardous waste. The CSO provides a safety mask or respirator, chemical goggles, rubber gloves, and a hard hat that the personnel can use at no cost.
Miss Mylene Grecia, BGMO Director, says that the selling of scrap like plastic bottles, soda cans, wood, and scrap metal (steel) generate funds for the University. The amount that is gathered from it is then deposited to the Accounting Office under the Green Trade Fund.
She further explains that the fund is used for the external service personnel’s Christmas party and the like.
Future plans for waste management
Casibang expresses the lack of initiative and awareness within the Lasallian community in terms of waste management, specifically on waste segregation at source. In order to encourage more students to dispose their waste accordingly, a new labelling system was proposed by the CSO to make the segregation process easier and clearer for students.
He shares that the new labelling system would be more visual and detailed, so students and other members within the campus can easily differentiate their waste and dispose it in the proper bins.
In addition, Grecia mentions that there are also plans that are being done by the BGMO and CSO to relocate the trash bins around campus to accommodate the amount of trash present in a certain area and also provide separate trash bins in every office in the University.
When it comes to the promotion of segregation around campus, Grecia suggested to create an awareness program and infographic about it because the city government will be stricter about the proper waste segregation.
Furthermore, both Casibang and Grecia thought about asking help from the student organizations by means of having one representative from each organization that they could invite for a meeting to ask help for relaying the necessary information about the matter.