Through a typically hot day in Marilao, Bulacan, sacks upon sacks of trash are weighed one by one in a seemingly endless cycle at the local Aling Tindera collection station. In the heat, Evelyn Garcia, also known as Aling Evelyn in her local community, has kept her watchful eye out as she records each set of previously cleaned and segregated used plastic bottles, sachets, and styrofoam containers that have been thrown away, now being weighed in batches by the collection station’s workers.
Before she became an Aling Tindera, the Garcia family’s main source of income were from the trips Aling Evelyn’s husband would make everyday as a jeepney driver, and the earnings from her own small sari-sari store. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, her husband’s trips were severely reduced due to health and safety restrictions, which eventually led to less earnings to bring home everyday. Through the pandemic, their combined incomes were just enough to survive every day, but since joining the Aling Tindera program by HOPE on January 18, 2022, Aling Evelyn has been able to earn enough extra income for her family’s daily sustenance and to help her only child finish his schooling. Within a week, Aling Evelyn typically earns 500 pesos per hauling session, and with three trips per week, the Aling Tindera program helps her earn up to 1,600 pesos per week.
Alongside attending to herself and her family’s needs, the Aling Tindera program has also helped the community of Marilao, Bulacan in general. After just a few months under the program, Aling Evelyn says that the tiring work she does as an Aling Tindera is extremely worthwhile as it allows her to help Marilao lessen its overall waste build-up. Throughout her time as an Aling Tindera, the work Aling Evelyn’s work has helped Marilao’s local waste management group save on expenses.
Moving forward in 2022, Aling Evelyn’s exciting journey as an Aling Tindera seems to have a long way to go as she stands proudly as one of Marilao, Bulacan’s budding eco-warriors. In her own empowered effort to fight against plastic pollution and advocate for proper waste disposal, the 46-year old Evelyn Garcia leaves a cleaner, greener society, and inspires us all with her story of being a champion for the environment.