Managing Waste: Not a Waste of Time

Over the weekend, several cities of Metro Manila and some provinces of Luzon were submerged by the monsoon rains. Thousands of people were rescued and are currently staying in the designated evacuation sites facilitated by the different local government units of the affected areas. Many reminisced about what they experienced during the typhoon Ondoy that caused high flood level and mud, which inflicted fear and lessons among residents of the metropolitan.

It is saddening to see the bleak conditions of the affected families. It is pitiful to look at them trying to save things which are soaked in the unrelenting rain and mud. These are ordinary scenes present during the rainy season. Along with these circumstances is a problem that is getting typical. The beautiful Roxas Boulevard turned into a harbor of the sea of sewages anew as the waters of Manila Bay tossed the plastics and other waste materials which came from the nearby places of Manila. News about the tons of garbage reaching the bay is not new to everyone. It is a worsening predicament along with dysfunctional drainages and water systems during the flood as these are clogged by litters of different forms and sizes. Our cities are supposed to be flood- free if we manage our disposal of waste. But, why this is recurring? What are we doing to solve this?

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One of the core values of the Department of Education that we earnestly inculcating to our learners is Makakalikasan. We, the teachers, are integrating the care for the environment in our lessons. Moreover, we are reminding them of the usage of our bins: biodegradable, non- biodegradable, and recycled. It is a tough challenge for us to implement solid waste management as some learners are just throwing their litters everywhere or in the wrong bin. We hope that our learners have a sense of volunteerism in maintaining the cleanliness of our school that even the tiny bits of plastics are no escape to their eyes. However, this takes time, as there is a great task to change the habit of our learners who lack concern for cleanliness.

We cannot deny the fact that some of them are bringing their practices at home while staying in the school premises. If parents are tolerating at the same time doing the wrong disposal of waste, the children think that what their fathers and mothers doing is all right. The valuing of waste management should start at home. The parents should lead the households in segregating waste. They should teach their children about waste management. Furthermore, the barangay officials should check their community if people are observing the proper disposal of waste. The implementation of ordinances should be fair and fearless to convince the people not to violate. The strength of the local ordinances and republic acts protecting the environment becomes futile as we lack self- discipline, and concern for the Mother Nature.

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Give time to manage our waste. Before I start my class, I make sure that our classroom is clean by letting my learners check under their chairs if there are food foils and paper scattered on the floor. I will begin my lesson after they throw the trash in the right containers. A minute of cleaning can create a convenient place to stay. Imagine if we allot a minute cleaning our environment. We can reduce the innumerable styrofoam, mineral water bottles, and tin cans stuck in the coastline. We can make our waterways flowing continuously. Our marine creatures will not swim together with immense plastic bags that could kill them. Our seas and other bodies of water will get more attractive and safe for everyone.

Our communities need to work hard in hand to solve the garbage problem that escalates yearly. We have the power to make our places not to suffer too much from the inundation and perils of the inclement weather. In due time, our cities and rural areas will be safer places to live in if we treat managing waste not a waste of time.

Carl John Carolino is a Senior High School Teacher and a blogger. He
loves to read books and he is a techy- savvy young professional.

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