Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Filipino Village Exchanges Garbage for Rice to Fight Plastic

Filipino Village Exchanges Garbage for Rice to Fight Plastic

Saturday, 14 September, 2019 - 04:45
Local rice varieties are pictured at a food market in Manila, Philippines. Reuters Photo/Erik De Castro

A village in the Philippines is trying to tackle the scourge of plastic waste by offering rice to residents in exchange for their trash.

According to Reuters, residents of Bayanan outside the capital, Manila, can get one kg of rice, the staple food for Filipinos, for every two kg of plastic waste, which are handed over to the government for proper disposal or recycling.

Veronica Dolorico, a 49-year-old supporter of the program, told Reuters: "I weighed in at 14 kilos of residuals, so I got 7 kilos of rice grains. This is a big help for us to have one kilo of rice for the day. I feel that our surroundings are really dirty. If only I could, I would pick up all the plastics along the road when I walk outside."

One kg of rice costs about 30-40 pesos ($0.70), which is costly in a country with a fast-growing economy, but high rates of urban and rural poverty. One-fifth of the population (107 million people) lives below the national poverty line, with monthly consumption of less than $241 per person.

Bayanan collected more than 213 kg of sachets, bottles and plastic bags in August, said village Chief Andor San Pedro, adding the food-for-trash swap is teaching people how to properly dispose of their waste.

Editor Picks