A VETERAN school administrator, Rhodora Sacramento, has been waging a War on Waste (WOW) since 2016, leading programs to minimize garbage by convincing her students to stuff plastic wrappers into bottle bricks, giving them their own personal eco-bags, and persuading them to throw used bottles and cans in convenient wireframe baskets. Collected bottles and cans are then sold to recyclers.

Sales proceeds reached P2,500 in just the first three months of the program, enough to fund one of the school organization's Christmas parties.

To further motivate students to maintain the school's cleanliness, certificates and prizes were awarded to the cleanest rooms at the end of the school year.

"Our War on Waste has drastically reduced the garbage we generate. From around 20 garbage bags a week, we were down to five," revealed Sacramento, who is currently principal of the Mabolo Elementary School in Bacoor.

She is just one of many champions promoting viable ways to reduce plastic waste, preventing them from entering Philippine waterways. She says there are more solutions that can be developed and shared by other schools across the country.

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According to the Environmental Management Bureau, Cavite generated an average of 1,514 tons of waste daily in 2018, 22 percent or 333 tons of which could still be recycled. The Imus River traverses the highest waste-generating cities in Cavite — Bacoor, Dasmariñas and Imus — making it a conveyor belt for leaked plastic waste flowing out to Manila Bay.

Funded by the Government of Norway, Project Aseano is led by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies Indonesia in close collaboration with the Pemsea Resource Facility and Asean Secretariat under the purview of the endorsing Asean sectoral body, the Asean Working Group on Coastal and Marine Environment.