“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Friday, November 27, 2015

Solid Waste Management ??

Courtesy Greenpeace

Since I am living in the Philippines, I am wondering how they manage their waste in this country.

Everywhere you see waste if you keep your eyes open when going around. I am sure many locals don't see the waste anymore, but as a foreigner I do, however it's getting less. It seems you get used to it.

On the beach a lot of waste, especially plastic, but the beach is usually cleaned by the owners of the sheds, because if there is a lot of waste on the beach, the price of their sheds will go down.

In the sea at some places also a lot of plastic, not only coming from the beaches, but also from the rivers (see below) and ships. Along the roads, especially in the barangay's and on the riverbeds there are many places where people dumps their waste bags.

I have no idea if there is a waste management policy on governmental level in the Philippines. What I do know is the following.

When I was traveling some time ago with my barangay captain, I asked him why they are not collecting the solid waste on a weekly basis or so, as I had seen in some other barangay's. He told me that every barangay has to organize their own waste management. The barangay-budget is based pro-rato on the income generation of the barangay, which is dependent on the number and size of businesses and property-owners in the barangay paying their property taxes and other municipality taxes.

We have no businesses here and most people have no money to pay their property tax, they even have not enough to feed themselves certain periods of the year. It is normal practice that people don't pay their property taxes. But, if you sell your property you have to pay them all of the past years, so they deduct the taxes from the sales price and then pay the community. This is all done by the property/tax department, so no way to put it in your own pocket.

So a small and poor barangay as where I am living in, has not sufficient budget to organize its own waste management, like renting or owning a truck to collect the waste and hiring people to do the work. Or it is not a priority and the barangay has decided to spend the money for other purposes, like a chapel or multi-purpose center.

I don't know if a barangay has to pay the municipality for dumping the waste on its designated dumping ground(s).

So in our case we have to manage our own wast. We do that by making holes in the back-yard, dump the waste and burn it. When it is flooding time, you can not burn it and the flood will anyway move much of the waste a few hundred meters away, downstream.

Most difficult are the diapers. They are so wet, no way to burn them before the dogs open the bags and take away what they like. They really can make a mess.

We do this for some time. In the past we had friends who helped us to bring the waste to the dumping ground, but I am pretty sure they didn't do it, but instead dumped it in the river nearby.

If someone of our municipality managers/officers is reading this, or if you know one please forward my suggestion to him/her that a clean environment is for all of us. So make it a priority for the whole municipality to manage solid waste. Don't leave it only to the "rich" barangay's.

I am coming from a country where you have to pay for your waste. The more you produce, the more you pay. I do understand that such a principle is not working here. So be smart and find ways to get it done in a way that will work in the Philippines.


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