Good example
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR - Singkit (The Philippine Star) - May 6, 2018 - 12:00am

On my way to work I cross Sevilla Bridge on the road that becomes P. Sanchez in Manila from Shaw Blvd. in Mandaluyong. The DPWH is currently retrofitting Sevilla Bridge, and at the same time the San Juan River under it is being cleaned up. The latter is really quite a gargantuan task, as the river is not only murky and yucky and all other horrible things you can say about a river, it also has these floating islands of garbage. One day last week a group of workers managed to scoop up a huge mound of what was mostly plastic trash; unfortunately two days later another island of garbage came floating along.

Obviously – sadly, tragically – segregation and recycling have not quite found their way into the daily life of residents along the river and – again, sadly – even in many areas in the metropolis, national laws (particularly RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000) and municipal ordinances notwithstanding. The trash receptacles marked “Nabubulok” and “Di nabubulok” seem to be but token compliance with these laws, and not many people take them seriously, tossing paper and plastic into the Nabubulok can anyway.

But that’s here in the city. Recently I was most heartened to discover that there are places where residents take proper solid waste disposal seriously. My helper just returned after two months in her hometown of Candijay in the eastern part of Bohol. Candijay is a fourth class municipality 97 kilometers (about a two-hour road trip) from Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol, with a population of about 30,000 hardy folks. While not quite a tourist destination, Candijay boasts of rice terraces and the Can-Umantad Falls, reportedly the highest falls in the province. It is prin- cipally an agricultural area, although not on any big or commercial scale.

She came loaded with produce – black rice, bananas, cacao tablea – all from her backyard farm. There are coffee trees up in the mountain that her father had planted many years ago, but she doesn’t go up to harvest because she is afraid of the wild monkeys and other creatures inhabiting the mountain. So the monkeys and probably civets enjoy the coffee berries; not even my stories of how expensive civet coffee is could make her agree to go harvest the coffee.

In Candijay they are very strict about waste disposal. Garbage is segregated at source, meaning the kitchen. All plastics are collected by someone who brings them to a recycling facility; other people come for bottles, cans and paper. Food scraps and other organic waste are used as fertilizer and buried around her trees and flowering plants – dapat malalim (has to be deep), she says, or the stray cats will dig them up. “Kaya ang sipag mamunga ang mga cacao ko, at ang tamis ng saging na- min (That’s why my cacao trees are so prolific and our bananas are so sweet),” she boasts. Thus they do not burn dried leaves or garbage – the fine is P500 if you’re

caught burning – which means they cannot make pausok (smoke) their mango trees, so unfortunately these do not produce much good fruit.

Now if only city folk can be as disciplined as the folks in Candijay!

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