Challenge to genuine public servants
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - August 3, 2019 - 12:00am

Calling local and national officials who are genuine servant-leaders! Would you like to be among those responsible for an effective, sustainable, inexpensive waste management system?

For decades now, you have witnessed and may also have been yourselves involved in the decision to deal with garbage through truck collection and disposal to dumpsites and landfills.

Is this continuing waste management system effective? No!

Temporarily, it does appear speedier and effective in removing garbage from households, streets, communities, and other locations. Garbage in your area may be collected today. Soon, however, garbage reappears and waste continues to be a problem.

Because garbage is dirty, stinking, ugly, unhealthy, and harmful to people and communities, the knee-jerk response is to immediately get rid of the visible, smelly garbage, collect, dispose, and dump it in landfills and other sites.

The collected and disposed garbage, however, is never at all cleared and dispensed with. What happens is that the garbage is merely transferred from one location to other dumpsites and landfills that soon transform into smoky, stinking, harmful mountains of garbage.

Your localities may have temporarily been cleared of your own garbage. However, your garbage becomes the problem of other receiving areas and communities. And sooner or later, the new landfills can no longer take in more waste volume and another landfill location will need to be identified again, and again, and again.

For decades now, this present and continuing extremely expensive, harmful and wasteful garbage collection and disposal system has been retained by most local and national government officials.

Not only is the present garbage management scheme wastefully expensive in terms of budget. This method also wastes productive land (which should have been used for farming, gardens, residences, especially for homes for the homeless) and continues to harm people and the environment.

Shifting to WTE (waste to energy) scheme is not the solution either. Before you allot billions of budget for this method, please investigate, surf the net, check with specialists, and be convinced that there are no recorded successful, sustainable, and productive WTE sites all throughout the world! Also, WTE will use up even bigger budget, end up with higher rate of pollution, and with very little proven produced energy!

Before you approve the use of millions and billions for WTE or for the present garbage collection and disposal to landfill schemes, please pause and reflect if you would like to be among the long-awaited genuine servant-leaders open to alternative, pro-people (not pro-garbage) sustainable waste management solutions?

You may doubt and ask --are there really existing, doable, tested inexpensive alternatives for managing huge amounts of garbage daily? The answer is a big YES!

Cebu City’s Barangay Luz, in the past, was a model of a successful community-based waste management system. At present, San Francisco, Camotes, continues to reap national and international awards for their very successful, integrated purok-based waste management system. Check out Naga in Albay too!

Save millions by starting with decisive political will and these suggested small steps: one, make waste generators responsible for their own garbage. Secondly, seriously implement existing rules that mandate barangays and establishments to segregate and manage their own waste. Waste segregation, per household, per sitio, per establishment will keep the wet, biodegradable, clean, and useful in compost pots and gardens. Compel communities to have effective material recovery facilities. Third, make companies pay for their generated garbage, especially those that produce plastics and pollutants. Fourth, reward responsible waste managers, communities, and establishments. Fifth, organize an integrated, participative waste management system where all are educated to be responsible and to cooperate together. (To be continued)

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