Imee: What Do We Do When Homework Becomes Garbage?

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Senator Imee Marcos has put the Department of Education (DepEd), local government units (LGUs), and schools on alert to a creeping environmental problem, as printed self-learning modules will begin to pile up when classes resume next week.

“Imagine the multiplier effect with the number of modules for each subject, the number of subjects for each kid, the number of kids in each home, and the number of homes in each community, and you will end up with mountains of trash,” Marcos pointed out.

Marcos said a waste disposal system that facilitates the recycling of discarded paper must be organized not just in highly urbanized cities but also in areas that will have limited access to online classes and where printed modules will become the new learning norm.

“Since paper is totally biodegradable, a recycling plan must be put in place to reduce the need to dump discarded paper in landfills,” Marcos said.

“As it is, a good bulk of landfills is made up of waste paper. With our new methods of education, its toll on the environment cannot be underestimated,” Marcos added.

Marcos cited that the growth of landfills has been a perennial problem that local government units are constantly looking to control.

“Homes tend to be less strict than schools in implementing waste segregation measures. With schools half closed, systematic waste segregation of used learning materials will be reduced,” Marcos said.

A DepEd, LGU or school program to lend laptops or allow their purchase through installments could ease the shift of students with limited means to digital learning as well as reduce the use of paper, Marcos proposed.

“The accumulated cost of paper, ink and printing through semester after semester could add up to the cost of a mini laptop,” Marcos said.

Paper is also a fire hazard and the risk of accidents will tend to increase in homes where one or both parents need to work and kids have less supervision, Marcos added.

Marcos proposed that mothers who have to quit work to become surrogate teachers to their children should be included in the government’s welfare subsidies and job creation programs.