Filipino villagers swap trash for rice in fight against plastics

Food-for-trash swap is teaching people how to properly dispose of their waste. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 September 2019

Filipino villagers swap trash for rice in fight against plastics

  • Residents can get one kg (2.2 lb) of rice, the staple food for Filipinos, for every two kg of plastic waste
  • The Southeast Asian nation is among the world’s top marine plastic polluters

MANILA: A village in the Philippines is trying to tackle the scourge of plastic waste by offering rice to residents in exchange for their trash.
Residents of Bayanan outside the capital, Manila, can get one kg (2.2 lb) 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.
The Southeast Asian nation is among the world’s top marine plastic polluters, studies show, with laws on solid waste poorly enforced and no regulations on packaging manufacturing.
“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,” Veronica Dolorico, a 49-year-old supporter of the program, told Reuters.
“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,” she added.
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 of 107 million people live 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.


Protests mount in Indian Kashmir clampdown

Updated 44 min 49 sec ago

Protests mount in Indian Kashmir clampdown

  • Tensions remain high in the disputed Himalayan region
  • New Delhi last month to revoked the territory’s decades old semi-autonomous status

SRINAGAR, India: Kashmir has seen an average of nearly 20 protests per day against Indian rule over the last six weeks despite a security lockdown to quell unrest, a senior government source said.
Tensions remain high in the disputed Himalayan region after New Delhi’s controversial decision last month to revoke the territory’s decades old semi-autonomous status.
Despite a curfew, movement restrictions and the severe curtailment of Internet and mobile phone services, public demonstrations against India — mostly in the largest city Srinagar — have been constant, the source said late Saturday.
Altogether there have been 722 protests since August 5, with Baramulla district in the northwest and Pulwama in the south the biggest hotspots after Srinagar, the source said.
Since that date, nearly 200 civilians and 415 security force members have been hurt, according to the source.
Ninety-five of the civilians were injured in the last two weeks, the official said.
So far more than 4,100 people — including 170 local political leaders — have been detained across the valley, with 3,000 released in the past two weeks, the official said.
It was unclear whether any politicians were among those released.
Indian authorities have so far insisted that outbreaks of violence have been minimal, and that only five civilians have died since the clampdown started.
The relatives of four of those killed said they believed the security forces were responsible for their deaths.
The latest updates came as police said Thursday that three men suspected of belonging to a Pakistan-based militant organization were arrested while transporting weapons and ammunition toward Indian Kashmir.
Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, which was split between the two countries in 1947.
India deployed extra troops ahead of the August 5 decision to reinforce some 500,000 soldiers already stationed in the region, one of the most militarized places on the planet.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday promised to raise the decision to strip Indian Kashmir of its autonomy at the upcoming UN General Assembly session.