Thursday, 13 September 2012

EDITORIAL: Community rubbish

A PICTURE posted recently on Facebook site run by a group of Mambulaoans showed an estero, or creek, beginning to choke with rubbish – obviously dumped by households sitting on either side of the waterway.

Although the exact location of this estero has not been pinpointed, it drew angry comments from those who saw it – particularly overseas Mambulaoans. It could have been in their own neighborhood bisected by waterways.

Their reactions to the scene depicted by the picture were nothing but disgust and outrage. 

They were appalled because despite the local government’s effort to encourage the members of the community to look after their rubbish responsibly at that, so that it would not spill out of their households, a big volume of such still managed to end up in creeks and water tributaries.

That the waste eventually finding its way into the nearby Mambulao Bay, which is already dying little by little from mining silt pollution and, yes, rubbish pollution, is already a foregone conclusion.

There are a number of water tributaries across the poblacion of Jose Panganiban that snake their way through heavily populated residential areas, and flowing into the bay waters.

Although the waste’s volume would still not be enough to totally block a free flow of water that could eventually cause flooding within its immediate vicinity during storms or prolonged rainfalls, this should not be a reason for residents to sit back and feel less-responsible as to what harm this rubbish may cause their neighbors later.

In a community like Jose Panganiban which pride itself with mostly educated and responsible individuals, this is not acceptable.

Obviously, however, the issue of wayward household rubbish treks back to the baranggay authorities who should know better.

The piling up of wastes and refuse in community tributaries that are later dragged into the main estero points to one thing – that the monitoring of waste disposal as one of the baranggay’s everyday responsibilities has simply failed.

Or that they have been immune to this anomaly.

Of course, concerned baranggay units – when the heat of criticisms has become unbearable for them -- may conveniently reason out that they don’t have enough people to adequately face the challenge of the task.

Have they not heard of the “bayanihan” spirit? This pooling of wits, brawn and sweat has become the last resort in dealing with a problem confronting a community. And it has not failed to do the trick.

Community “bayanihan” should be plucked from under a pile inside the proverbial “baul”, dusted off and once again put to work.

Unless the local baranggay leaders have become less credible to be able to draw community support, there’s no reason for the residents not to spare their time and exert all-out efforts to resolve a common problem facing the community.

The presence of rubbish anywhere – be it in front and in back yards of houses, along roadsides and on the roads, in the market place and in spots next to a shop or store – must not be tolerated.

And more so with the rubbish ending up in esteros only to deserve just a passing glance.

How much more education and re-education does the community need to understand that a piece of rubbish accumulating into a heap later could breed unwanted health problems that nobody wants?

But if education and re-education is the one remaining option left to spare the community of diseases spawned by improperly disposed of waste matter, so be it.

The municipal government of Jose Panganiban must see to it that this is done once and for all.

For all you know, an ill poor member of the community could end up on the lap of Mayor Dong Padilla, who has no recourse but to send him/her to the doctor at the cost of the local government, or of his own wallet.

- A P Hernandez

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