21 July 2008

Flashfloods expose filthy habit that has to go

Quezon City. The flashfloods that hit sections of Metro Manila last Wednesday has exposed an ugly habit that has become a way of life for some people: garbage dumping.

After the intense rainfall, parts of the metropolis, particularly Blumentritt St., Piy Margal St. and Rizal Ave. in Sta. Cruz, Manila, Barangay Sto. Domingo in Quezon City and other low-lying areas were submerged in floodwaters for several hours.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, noted that the callous practice of some citizens to dump their discards wherever they please, from pieces of tiny litter to bagful of mixed refuse, is a major cause of rapid flooding after a heavy rainfall.

“Many of our streets and communities are becoming dirty and dangerous with these illegally thrown discards that ultimately end up clogging the watercourse, disrupting the flow of rainwater, and turning low-lying areas into instant waterworld,” observed Ben Galindo, representative of the EcoWaste Coalition and the Sagip Pasig Movement.

“Some hardhearted citizens even throw their garbage in canals and creeks on purpose, unmindful that this can lead to flooding, which in turn can damage properties, spread water-borne diseases, spawn economic losses and even kill humans and animals,” Galindo added.

According to the group, the routine clearing and dredging operations are essential steps to mitigate flooding during the rainy season, but will be pointless if littering and dumping remain uncontrolled.

Reports reaching the EcoWaste Coalition reveal that many neighborhoods in the metropolis have yet to enforce and embrace the ecological way of managing discards as can be seen in littered streets and sprouting dumps in street corners.

“The ecological management of discards is a critical component in any complete flood prevention and management program,” the EcoWaste Coalition said, stressing that individual, family and community participation is the key for its success.

“We call on all barangay councils to exercise effective leadership in educating and mobilizing our people towards the environmentally-sound management of their discards for tidier, healthier and more vibrant communities,” the EcoWaste Coalition stated.

Considering the special needs of informal settlers, especially those living along creeks and rivers, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the authorities to ensure that constant efforts are made to inform and assist them in managing their refuse for public health and safety.

“The informal settlements are here to stay unless and until we have fully addressed the needs of our people for humane and sustainable employment, livelihood and housing. In the meantime, we urge the government to invest more in uplifting their living environments, including implementing a program on ecological waste management program that will cater to their specific conditions,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.


EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376
ecowastecoalition@yahoo.com

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