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.


Curfew call in Indian capital after 20 die in sectarian clashes

Updated 26 February 2020

Curfew call in Indian capital after 20 die in sectarian clashes

  • Clashes began on Monday between people supporting and opposing the citizenship law
  • Unrest is the worst sectarian violence seen in Delhi in decades

NEW DELHI: Riot police patrolled the streets of India’s capital on Wednesday and the city’s leader called for a curfew following battles between Hindus and Muslims that claimed at least 20 lives.
The two days of unrest — which has seen clashes between mobs armed with swords and guns — is the worst sectarian violence seen in Delhi in decades.
The clashes come amid worsening religious tensions following a citizenship law that critics say is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda.
Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, called Wednesday for the army to be deployed and for a curfew to be imposed over flashpoint northeastern districts.
“Police, despite all its efforts, (are) unable to control the situation and instill confidence,” Kejriwal tweeted on Wednesday morning.
“Army (should) be called in and curfew imposed.”
The clashes began on Monday between people supporting and opposing the citizenship law, then descended into pitched battles between the mobs.
Twenty people died and nearly 200 others were wounded in the first two days of violence, the director of the hospital where people were taken, told AFP on Wednesday.
Sixty people had suffered gunshot wounds, according to the director, Sunil Kumar.
The area is home to mostly poorer economic migrants living in many shanty neighborhoods, and some fled on Wednesday ahead of more expected clashes.
“People are killing (each other). Bullets are being fired here,” a tailor in the Jaffrabad area told AFP, adding that he was returning home to his village in northern Uttar Pradesh state.
“There is no work... It is better to leave than to stick around here. Why would we want to die here?“
On Wednesday morning AFP saw people cleaning out the blackened and trashed interior of a mosque in the Ashok Nagar area burned out during the violence.
A video circulated on social media and verified by AFP showed men ripping off the muezzin’s loudspeaker on top of the mosque’s minaret and placing a Hindu religious flag and an Indian flag.
The new citizenship law has raised worries abroad that Modi wants to remold secular India into a Hindu nation while marginalizing the country’s 200 million Muslims, a claim he denies.
The law expedites the citizenship applications for persecuted minorities from India’s three Muslim-majority neighboring countries, but not if they are Muslim.
The flare-up in violence occurred as US President Donald Trump visited India and held talks with Modi in Delhi on Tuesday.
But Trump left as scheduled on Tuesday and his visit was not visibly interrupted by the violence.