For teaching an entire community how to dispose of its garbage properly and more responsibly, a Negros Occidental school topped this year’s National Search for Sustainable and Eco-friendly Schools, elementary level.
Iliranan Elementary School in San Carlos City bested some 45 regional winners from across the country in the second year of the competition.
The Camarines Sur National High School and De La Salle University-Dasmariñas were first in the high school and college categories, respectively.
The annual search for the most eco-friendly schools is conducted by the Departments of Education and Environment and Natural Resources, Commission on Higher Education and Smart Communications.
“What set us apart from other schools is that we are reaching out to the community and (are regularly monitoring and evaluating the program) to achieve our project’s goals and to guarantee its sustainability,” said Iliranan head teacher Jessie Batosin in a statement.
Iliranan initiated earlier this year a solid waste management system that extended beyond its campus.
Partnering with village leaders, the school helped community residents change their habit of dumping their garbage in open pits or burning the trash.
The school taught and led the community in practicing waste segregation and recycling. Teachers and village coordinators also worked together to monitor how households managed their trash.
“A household that practices open burning and open dumping is given a chance to change its ways within a three-month period. After three months (without any) sign of behavior change, the council invokes the solid waste management ordinance and the no-garbage collection policy is strictly enforced,” Batosin said.