Thursday, May 19, 2011

In Which I Go Batshit Insane About Garbage Disposal

I know, I know. That pink bag Zhorai hates. LOL.
A few weeks ago, Avon Philippines, in cooperation with the Direct Selling Association of the Philippines (DSAP), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) held a coastal clean up along Freedom Island and Long Island (Numu-New York!) at Manila Bay.

My first tarpaulin! Made that with my (not so mad) Photoshop Skillz.

The site for the Manila Bay area clean up was originally planned for reclamation as a part of a development project in Manila Bay. However, in April 2007, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared the site as a critical habitat and ecotourism area, which eventually prevented further land reclamation in the Manila Bay area. The place is home to 40 species of birds, including migratory birds, and 9 species of mangroves including the Nilad, which used to be abundant in the area and on which Manila derived its name (May nilad – to have Nilad).

An ornithophobic's nightmare
Of course, being part of Avon's Communications Team (of which Corporate Responsibility falls under), I was there with other members of our team to help out. I am usually the couch potato environmentalist when it comes to activities for Mother Earth - using both sides of the paper, recycling, segregating my garbage, using earth-friendly products - but I never really took the step to go out there and literally pick up trash.

So there we were at along the Manila Bay coast at 7 AM, picking up people's trash that got washed ashore. You won't believe what people throw out as garbage, and into the sea for that matter! There were suitcases (plural), several pieces of shoes, a freakin stroller, basketballs, glass bottles, and every size of sando plastic imaginable. 

The activity reinstated my ongoing peeve about how A LOT how FILIPINOS can be so careless with their garbage. Filipinos, as I see it, have a habit of throwing everything without really giving a damn about the consequences. We take pride about taking baths twice or even thrice a day but we are HUUUUUGE LITTERBUGS. Just go outside your office building and see how many cigarette butts or candy wrappers you see lying around. In my condo alone, a day does not go by that I do not see a piece of plastic or a plastic cup from Jollibee inside our FREAKIN' ELEVATOR. It's really disgusting.
Photo not relevant.
Just so you have an idea of how long it takes for your garbage to decompose:
Paper- 2.5 months
Cigarette Butt - 10 to12 years
Plastic bag- 10 to 20 years
Disposable diaper - 75 years
Tin can - 100 years
Styrofoam- NEVER. They're immortal, like Edward.


Photo by Francis R. Malasig/EPA

According to The Resources, Environment and Economics Center for Studies, Inc.’s (REECS) 2002 study on household waste management systems and the attitudes and behavior of the communities in two barangays in Metro Manila ( Bennagen, Nepomuceno, Covar, 2002) showed that:

1. Waste management is still perceived by many as the responsibility of government.
2. Public participation in waste management, especially in segregation at source, remains limited.
3. More extensive awareness- raising activities and training on ecological waste management are needed, together with stricter enforcement of the Law and local ordinances must be observed.
4. There is lack of community empowerment and political will to resolve the problem.


It's not. Waste management is EVERYONE'S responsibility. Don't expect the government, OUR GOVERNMENT, the same government who can't feed you, will pick up your trash. DON'T BE LAZY.


To say that the coastal clean up activity was an eye opener is an overstatement. We already know our coastal areas are disgusting and congested with garbage. Haaaaaave you met Ondoy? If we continue to carelessly litter, the beaches we are oh so proud of - Boracay, Panglao, Anawangin - all of those will be gone.

More than enacting anti-plastic laws, more than dreaming about Priuses, more than building solar-panelled houses, I believe it's the people's attitude about waste disposal that needs tweaking. We as a nation should know that Garbage dumped into the sea or anywhere is no longer an environmentally or socially acceptable practice. It's NOT Cool.

So here's what I suggest: instead of being preachy about The Environment, la di dah, throw a disgusted look at anyone you see littering. People should be ashamed to litter, to throw garbage anywhere they please. It should feel cool to segregate, to not be wasteful, like District 13 in The Hunger Games!

I may sound like a tree hugger to you right now, but try walking around Manila after the rain, with all the mud and soaked garbage on the streets WHILE WEARING FLIP FLOPS and see why I am so passionate about this.

Just think about this: We could've had a stretch of beach just a few minutes away from Manila. Instead of flocking into malls, we could've been sun bathing along Manila Bay. But no, we don't have that. We have a stinkin' body of garbage instead and it's nobody's fault but ours.

For your reference:



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