Metro Manila must solve its garbage problem
ROSES AND THORNS - Alejandro R. Roces () - August 30, 2001 - 12:00am
Sometime ago, then Health Secretary Alberto Romualdez warned that diseases like hepatitis B and C, dysentery, cholera, typhoid fever and other food and water-borne illnesses would spread in epidemic-proportions if nothing was done about the mounting garbage in Metro Manila. Now, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay has appealed to Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Benjamin Abalos to do something about the worsening garbage problem in Metro Manila. Chairman Abalos says that it is the mayors that are to blame for the mess and it is their responsibility to clean up the mess.

What they all have to do is concentrate on the problem and look for solutions. They all have to be part of the solution. The real problem is that there is garbage everywhere, but not a place to dump it. You cannot blame the MMDA or the Metro Manila Mayors for the situation. This has been the situation since the San Mateo landfill was closed.

Unquestionably, the bad weather we have been having for quite some time now has been aggravating the problem. The epidemics we fear are from water-borne diseases and people who have been forced to dump their trash in the Pasig River and the estuaries have aggravated the flood problem in Metro Manila.

Garbage disposal is undoubtedly the main problem of every municipality in Metro Manila. This has been so for some time now. The best proof is that the very first law that President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo signed as president was the Solid Waste Management Act that was enacted to address the alarming garbage problem in the metropolis. Since its enactment, nothing has improved.

An epidemic is the very last thing our country needs at this time. We have very serious economic problems and we cannot wage a war against poverty if we can’t even stay healthy and survive. First, we don’t have the hospital facilities to cope with an epidemic. Second, we have the problem of peace and order. The Manor Hotel tragedy and the moro-moro war against the Abu Sayyaf will be nothing, if an epidemic breaks out.

We all know the problem. But to date, no one has come out with the solution, which is a suitable place to dump Metro Manila’s garbage. Unless someone comes up with a practical solution, Metro Manila’s garbage will continue to accumulate and it will only be a matter of time till an epidemic breaks out. Health, they say, is a matter of mind. In this instance, it is a condition of matter. An Arab proverb says, "He who has hope has everything," but the only hope is for someone to come out with an implementable solution.

ABU SAYYAF AN ARAB B AND C CHAIRMAN ABALOS GARBAGE HEALTH SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMUALDEZ MAKATI MAYOR JEJOMAR BINAY MANILA METRO METRO MANILA PROBLEM
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