A sea of garbage

Credit to Author: Tempo Desk| Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2019 08:07:34 +0000



THE recently concluded “Tras­lacion” has established newer records of sorts – the longest procession, the best attended, the most organized, the least number of injured persons reported.

Inevitably, however, it also earned the unenviable record for the larg­est volume of garbage generated in a single public event.

Almost a half day after the procession officially ended, MMDA and even barangay brigades were still busy collecting garbage along the procession route causing not a few social media commentators to refer to the annual religious event as Trashlacion.

The day after, comments in social media made for very interesting reading.

Basically, commentators analyzed the reasons for our propensity to wantonly throw garbage, not just in events like the “Traslacion” but even in ordinary outdoor public gatherings.

Here are a few comments which, to me, hit closest to home.

Basically, we have become spoiled both at home and in school. In gen­eral, there is always somebody at home, the kasambahay, who cleans up our mess. In school cafeterias, somebody else usually clears the table for us after we have left.

Another commentator explained it slightly differently.

Inside our own homes, we tend to be “garbage free”. The problem, however, begins as soon as we leave home.

Either way, the situation appears to boil down to a breakdown in indi­vidual and community discipline.

How do we restore discipline?

It is easier said than done, but the textbook answer lies in the 3 E’s: E-ducation, E-nforcement and E-ngineering. To these, I would add a fourth E: E-xample.

There is no dearth of materials on any and all of the foregoing aspects of solid waste management. In fact, a comprehensive plan based on solid waste management best practices is even available off the shelf.

What is just needed is political will.

Read that as: E-xecution.



To further complicate our prob­lems, we have had two episodes of garbage dumping originating from foreign countries.

6,500 tons of waste materials, originating from South Korea, some­how found their way into the Mind­anao port in Misamis Oriental last year.

The materials were declared as “soft plastic” for furniture reprocess­ing but turned out to be medical and electronic waste.

The South Korean government has since agreed to take back the trash.

Not so, in the the case of the Ca­nadian government.

Between 2013 and 2014, private Canadian companies shipped to the Philippines 103 containers declared to contain scrap plastics for recycling.