We are starting them young.

The challenge of educating the citizenry to increase the awareness on proper solid waste management got the Environment Department crafting a competition that tapped on the creative side of the young ones.

Dubbed as “Make Your Own Toys Contest”, the team from Tayo Ang Kalikasan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources launched the nationwide competition among children aged 7 to 12 years old. It actually encouraged upcycling by using recyclable and residual materials in creating children’s toys. But it prohibits toy designs/entries that included scraps from other existing toys (commercially available) or toys that are refurbished are not allowed.

In Western Visayas, John Dave Pilarca, a 12-year old kid from Antique province won as regional winner with his entry titled “Robo ‘Cap’: The Environment Saver.” Pilarca bested five other entries from the region. “Amo gid ri-a akon hilig. Super happy gid ako pagdaog ko,” Pilarca said in Kinaray-a when he learned that he won at the regional level.

The “Make Your Own Toys Contest” officially commenced on November 16, 2021 and ended on November 26, 2021 at exactly 10:00 PM. 

This event brought to light the probability of honing both the creative skills of the young ones while also fostering their love for the environment. The contest criteria include originality and creativity, execution, impact of the toy, and wise use of materials.

Regional winners were given a consolation prize of Php 2,500.00 and National Grand Champion received an amount of Php 20,000.00. The Grand Champion at the national level was from Region II (Cagayan Valley).

Upcycling is one good way to reduce the amount of wastes being dumped in landfills. It also teaches the young ones the value of practicing proper waste segregation which is in accordance with Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“We are happy to start educating the young ones on the importance of proper solid waste management. I hope they would remember the lessons and make it their lifestyle to be environmentally-conscious,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.

Proper Solid Waste Management is one of the top ten priority programs of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu that encourages all sectors to work together for a cleaner country.