The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has signed a deal with the state-run Tarlac College of Agriculture (TCA) to train farmers in Central Luzon on proper management of agricultural waste, which is a major pollution hazard.
Undersecretary Jonas Leones, chief of the Environmental Management Bureau of DENR, said the deal was an important step towards addressing environmental problems associated with improper management of waste from farm operations.
“We need to train our farmers on how to properly manage agricultural waste in order to reduce risks to the environment, as well as human health,” Leones said. Leones signed the agreement in behalf of DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje while TCA president Dr. Max Guillermo signed for the college.
Under the agreement, the TCA will put up Satellite Ecology Center within its campus in the town of Camiling, where the academic institution will develop and hold short-term training courses on ecological solid waste management (ESWM) for farmers.
The DENR, on the other hand, will provide TCA an initial fund of P300,000 to enable the school to develop training modules and perform other roles and responsibilities.
Aside from farmers, the TCA will also train government workers, teachers, agricultural technicians and junk shop owners on solid waste management.
Leones said the undertaking was expected to develop an “army of ESWM trainers,” who use existing technologies and innovations aimed at reducing waste in the agricultural sector.
The signing of the DENR-TCA deal was among the highlights of the 14th anniversary celebration of the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, held recently at the DENR central office in Quezon City.
RA 9003 defines agricultural wastes as those “generated from planting or harvesting of crops, trimming or pruning of plants and wastes or runoff materials from farms or fields.”
The most common agricultural wastes in the Philippines are rice husk, rice straw, coconut husk, coconut shell and bagasse.
Agriculture is a well known source of water, land and air pollution. The way agricultural wastes are stored and used has profound effects on human health and the environment.
Waste from farm operations can pollute the environment resulting in impacts to water quality.
In measured amounts, farm waste acts as fertilizer. But if the amounts are excessive, bacteria and chemical can flow into the ground and contaminate water drinking sources.
Burning of farm waste causes severe pollution of land, air and water. The smoke from agricultural burning contains toxic pollutants that are dangerous to human health.
Posted By: Lynne Pingoy