Sep 30, 2009

Garbage and the Manila flooding: Lessons Learned from "Ondoy" Part 2

Have we not learned enough? Is the Philippines new to these kinds of disasters? Definitely not, we experience floods many times a year, and in some parts of Metro Manila on almost daily basis during rainy season. How come we have not learned and done anything? There are those that say that  increase in the funding for upgrading the facilities of the weather bureau should now be justifiable, to have better early warning systems. However, if we think hard and if we don't have the money to do that now, there are many things that we can do to prevent another episode of problems this huge. In fact, looking at the factors that have aggravated the flood should suffice, there's even no need to think deeper and debate over this. Let's look into this one but huge factor.

Aside from the record-breaking amount of water that poured last Saturday due to storm Ondoy/Ketsana, there are many other factors that  have contributed to the unprecedented rise in the flood water level. My number one on the list is garbage. Pieces of garbage that are either left in the streets uncollected and/or those due to littering. Garbage that clogs our waterways.

These garbages prevent the waterways from functioning in the event of a heavy rainfall. Even the smallest plastic candy wrapper when piled one after the other can cause a canal to clog. The terrible flood we recently experienced should serve again yet another lesson to the Filipinos. Be responsible enough to throw the garbage in the proper place. We should keep in mind that whatever we do, no matter how petty they are (e.g. throwing the cigarrette butt in the street, candy wrappers in the corner), has an impact on the environment. Mind where you place your garbage bag, put them in designated places, not just any street  corner, so these can be collected by the garbage collectors. During heavy rains, all these can clog the waterways and we can get easily flooded. If you are walking in crowded streets in Metro Manila, and are observing people,  you can easily grasp the problem. It's lack of discipline. And the presence of corruption in the government or poor implementation of programs have not yet come to the discussion. It's the ordinary Filipino himself. Even for just once, can we think of ourselves and what we do and stop blaming the government? The government consists of a minute percentage of entire population, don't tell me the tens of millions cannot do anything.

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