Floods, drainage and garbage

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - July 7, 2016 - 12:00am

It was certainly not the first time Metro Cebu went under water. Remember the floods that covered Metro Cebu after continuing days of strong rains in the past? This time around, it was not even a full day of rain yet Metro Cebu experienced floods once again.

Then the finger-pointing took place again. What happened to the expensive drainage and anti-flood projects undertaken by previous administrators? Can those connected with these expensive but "useless" projects be penalized for squandering public funds?

But look carefully, the accused retorted. Do not blame the drainage and the drainage project-loving officials and staff. See those garbage clogging the streets, waterways and drainage? Blame the garbage and those that throw the garbage.

Observe the proposed solutions after or during the pinpointing session.

Build more effective drainage systems. Goodness, more public funds expected to go down the drain again? Or not there, but to some hidden pockets and dirty hands somewhere?

Get crew to clear the clogged areas. That was a laudable, immediate response but post-reactive. We need more proactive, workable, and inexpensive systems to control floods in Metro Cebu and elsewhere before the rains, not after, not when the rains and the floods come.

Manage garbage more effectively. No segregation, no collection. Have more education campaigns and create more responsible residents who will manage their waste more conscientiously. As we keep on repeating, garbage can be traced to people, to you, to me, to us all.

If we are able to effectively manage our own waste, our own household trash, our own community garbage, would we have garbage-caused floods again?

Let us all start small. Can we train our tiny two hands to segregate waste? Can we all take that small step to do our own little share? A tiny step of effective waste management by all, a huge leap for all, a clean, garbage-free, no garbage-caused flooded Metro Cebu for everyone.

Is taking that small step with our tiny hands so difficult to do? Is that easier and more convenient to do rather than suffer another round of floods and garbage next time?

Enjoining everyone to do their share to stop flooding, to manage garbage, to have effective, well-spent, public-funded drainage and waterways will go a long way to solving not only floods but garbage and drainage in our place.

Has a multi-sectoral assembly been convened to review the recent flooding, especially its causes, to guide future policy and action programs? If yes, can the results be publicized to engage all to participate in solving the problems of flood, garbage and ineffective, irresponsible drainage projects?

So much rain can be diverted not to cause floods but instead to be used later on to water plants, clean up areas, and for other more benefits that can be derived from harvested rain. We hope rain harvesting can also be included among the solutions for anti-flooding, anti-garbage, and anti-abused drainage projects.

It may be worth repeating that trash is treasure, garbage is gold, and if properly segregated and managed, so much good can be derived from waste: livelihood, cleanliness, no floods, protected environment, no smoky mountains, more productive lands for people rather than for landfills and dumpsites, more savings from less or reduced use of gas-driven garbage trucks, etc., etc.

If only each one will remember the inconveniences caused by the recent floods and if only each one will remember how their own garbage contributed to the floods that led to their inconveniences and if only everyone takes action, with their tiny hands to properly dispose of their own trash, we will have taken a puny but significant leap to solving the problem of floods. We can also strive to learn how to harvest and conserve our precious rain from above. Then we can enjoy the rains as we used to do in the past.

The newly elected local officials have been shown important doable goals for them to achieve within their term: have effective systems and measures vs flood, irresponsible garbage disposal and corrupted drainage projects through responsible, participatory, inexpensive and eco-friendly initiatives.

The last floods may yet prove to be a blessing in disguise and a good auspicious start for better governance and better lives for all throughout Metro Cebu.


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