15 August 2012

Garbage Granulator in Taal, Batangas Shows the Way

There is life after garbage, after all. The past two nights, TV Patrol anchor Noli de Castro ran a two-part series on a reasonably low-cost engineering solution to the garbage disposal problem that plagues many cities and municipalities in this country. The solution is called the garbage granulator a.k.a. basura grinder, invented and developed by a Filipino engineer and the use of which is now benefiting the municipality of Taal in Batangas.

The name of the engineer is Bong Archeta. De Castro did not state that Archeta is from Batangas; and unless there is a massive case of coincidence, this is the same Bernabe Archeta of Nueva Ecija who is registered as the developer of a garbage granulator machine called ‘Markell.’ If Bong and Bernabe are one and the same, thank you Google!

The device does not use up a lot of space; although of course, the wastes generated by a small town like Taal will pale in comparison to those of a large metropolis. Still, the technology itself even if employed on a larger scale is still beneficial because it reduces the space requirement for a dump site.

The way I understood it from the short report, segregation of garbage into degradable and non-degradable is done on-site by the machine itself. Degradable wastes are shredded and ground into granules, which means that less land is required for composting these. Compost is, of course, in demand as organic fertilizer.

The non-degradable materials are first filtered to remove bits of rock, sand, broken glass and liquids before being converted into granules. These granules are then mixed with cement in lieu of gravel and pressed to make sturdy bricks that sell for roughly half the price of ordinary gravel-and-cement bricks.

No less than the Mayor of Taal, speaking in an interview with de Castro, attested to the efficacy of the system. I understand that the municipality of Cuenca is also looking to acquire the technology if not already benefiting from it.

Archeta himself stated that among his main considerations was the reduction of operational costs. The machine runs on diesel and including the costs of manpower can be operated unbelievably cheap. Archeta cites the case of Cuenca for which a mere 300 pesos need to be collected per 1,200 families per year to be able to operate the garbage granulating facility.

The technology is already registered with the patent office and approved by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Filipino Inventors’ Society, a Filipino solution to a typically Filipino problem of the modern day.

Archeta told de Castro that his main aim in developing the granulator machine was not so much personal profit but to solve the country’s perennial garbage problem as a matter of social responsibility.

TV Patrol’s short series on the garbage granulator could not have come at a more appropriate time. Left by itself, Nature deals with its own wastes in its own way; and nothing is left to waste, pun intended.

Man, however, has created things that Nature needs a lot of time to deal with; and when it cannot for the moment do so, it has this nasty habit of dumping back on man what he himself has created. The recent spate of storms and floods have done nothing if not highlight this quirk of Nature.

Every night on the news for the past two weeks, if it has not been about the flooding, it has been about the tons of garbage accumulated by the shores of Manila Bay or left behind by the floods on the streets of Metro Manila.

Local governments, what are you waiting for?

[Images captured from http://www.abs-cbnnews.com.]








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RELATED STORIES:
Rains, Garbage, Floods
The EDSA Yellow Lane Bedlam

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