Waste Management Issues

January 23, 2017

Things have been very confusing for us on the waste management end for the last quarter of the year. OK maybe not just the last quarter. It was something that has been confusing for a while.

trash bins
Photo by Living_Lighter on Pixabay

At first there was this whole rule about trash being required to be separated by biodegradable and non-biodegradable and how they were going to be collected on separate dates. It was impressive: there were flyers with guides on which was which when separating trash and a schedule. We tried to follow that we were disappointed. The garbage collectors were still taking everything all at the same time and not on the dates we were told they would.

Naturally, since they were putting all the trash together on their truck even if we separated them, we decided to NOT separate the trash since it was a waste of time on our part if they were packed and thrown together anyway. Then suddenly, we were informed late last year that there were going to be changes: the biodegradable trash would no longer be collected. Ever. We needed to dispose of our biodegradable waste by ourselves. It didn’t help that our garbage collectors didn’t have enough information to answer any of our questions about it nor were they trained to answer questions properly.

The new trash rule threw a lot of people off. We were told to bury the trash, but how could we if we did not have a place to bury it? Besides, there is such a thing as not burying trash properly, since whatever juices the trash might produce could seep into the water table, which is of course where people get water in these parts. For a while you could smell trash rotting because people didn’t know what to do with it. I was worried about insect (and possibly rodent) infestations from all the exposed and uncollected trash. I heard some people in our neighborhood tried burying their trash but I was skeptical about how it was done.

After a few weeks – surprise! They were picking up the biodegradables again! Just when I was considering making a DIY composting drum the trash collectors suddenly said it was OK to give it to them again. No explanation, they were just going to do it again. This time, they were serious about collecting the trash separately.

As grateful as I was about the whole waste collection thing working out, I was concerned about how it was handled. I felt that the local government could have designated more people with information dissemination and could have gotten the barangays to take the lead when it comes to waste management. Even if they were given that job, I should sadly note that they were not doing enough about the situation.

The barangay captains and other people working for them should have been the ones to teach people about proper waste disposal (and composting, if I may add). They should have planned it more thoroughly considering that many homes do not have a place to bury their trash, leaving the stray cats and dogs to toy with their garbage on the streets and causing an even worse mess than there was to begin with. There are so many health issues that should have been considered about that. Don’t even get me started on the whole water table thing.

I know I should consider us lucky, considering that in other neighborhoods they still don’t collect the biodegradables. Those people still have major trash problems/issues to deal with.

I wish there were more government projects/initiatives to teach people about what can be done about our trash. There should be people teaching about composting, projects that encourage recycling. The government should also encourage businesses that promote recyclable products or packaging. The burden should not be on the consumers alone but on the businesses who use and produce the products that contribute to the amount of trash in our country.

There is so much information online about what can be done but it’s usually from other countries. I think that we need to have more concrete programs here in the Philippines when it comes to recycling and waste management. We need to have a group or an agency in the government that people can approach to get more information and get assistance about waste management initiatives. Someone needs to take the lead on this. Someone that people can and will follow.

I have no idea about the waste management situation in the Metro, but that’s my story here in our end of the world.

What about you? What’s the waste management story in your place?


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