The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference held in Boracay brought about more than fruitful development dialogues; it helped the island’s residents take a step forward in addressing their problems in garbage and wastewater management.
Introduced during the APEC conference, Vigormin or Organo-Mineral (OM) is a white organic powder developed through the research conducted by Adamson University’s Dr. Merlinda Palencia. Said research was funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD). For the pilot test conducted on Boracay Island, DOST donated a total of 12 tons of Vigormin. The project was spearheaded by the DOST Regional Office 6, the Aklan Provincial Science and Technology Center, and the Local Government Unit of Malay.
Vigormin is a cost-effective solution to Boracay’s waste problem, only costing Php120 per kilogram. This affordability is a boon to the island’s local government officials, especially considering the fact that other chemical alternatives usually cost upwards of Php1,000.
According to DOST Undersecretary for Scientific and Technological Services Dr. Rowena Guevara, Vigormin is a low-cost solution to the noxious odor becoming prevalent in Boracay, which is a direct result of the problem on wastewater, drainage systems, and residual solid waste. Last May, the organo-mineral was used to treat septic and drainage water in a number of hotels that were chosen to host the APEC delegates. Vigormin was also used in the Cagban and Caticlan jetty ports, in the water reservoir of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, and in a few households.
Dr. Guevara has stated that Vigormin was able to effectively reduce the unpleasant odor from the concrete septic tanks of various establishments and decaying organic waste in the material recovery facilities (MRFs) of Barangays Balabag, Manoc-Manoc, and Yapak. According to Dr. Palencia, the LGU has procured a supply of Vigormin for continued use. It is still in use today in the treatment of the truckloads of waste that arrive in the island’s garbage dumps daily.
Initially developed for disaster-stricken areas, the organo-mineral was first used in the temporary shelters built in Palo, Leyte, one of the affected areas during Typhoon Haiyan. Three dedicated septic tanks, referred to as Eco-Sep (eco-friendly septic) tanks, were installed for 522 survivors in temporary shelters. Periodic application of Vigormin was done for maintenance of the Eco-Sep tanks.
Vigormin’s success in Palo, Leyte led to the DOST’s attempt at replicating the same on Boracay Island, one of the country’s top tourism destinations. The Eco-Sep System was launched early July of this year.