Garbage collection: whose responsibility?




We cannot avoid producing solid and liquid waste or garbage but we can always properly dispose of them given the new methods and technologies.  This is why the presence or absence of waste in our homes is one gauge of our personality and character. The same is true with governance.  Uncollected garbage is one gauge of how incumbent politicians and government officials value good governance.  In the same manner it can also be true with business establishments.  Lack of proper garbage disposal by business establishments is also a gauge of how they value their customers.


With the coming of new technologies and ways of disposing garbage, this should no longer be an issue or problem in our community and society.  In fact terminologies or sayingS like “may kwarta sa basura” has become a byword since the last 10 years because indeed there is money in garbage if we know how and if we only comply with the environmental laws especially on garbage disposal like waste segregation into biodegradable, recyclable or reusable, residual and toxic.


In fact there are now businessmen who make garbage their business.  There are those who establish facilities to convert garbage into building blocks and they are as sturdy, if not more sturdy than concrete blocks that are used in the construction industry. Biodegradable waste is also used as feeds for vermi-culture that produce vermi-cast, the much sought After organic fertilizer.  In a more sophisticated technology, garbage is also used to generate electricity.  Indeed may kwarta sa basura.


Under the law barangays are supposed to establish recovery materials facility where waste that are still reusable or recyclable are stored and sold while residual waste are supposed to be disposed in authorized and designated landfill facility.  Biodegradable waste can be left at source but these are supposed to be disposed in compost pits where they can decay and become source of organic fertilizer.


Last Monday I was with a team of DENR provincial officials that inspected the facility of one of the big resorts in Panglao because of complaints that the office received from neighboring establishments about the foul and obnoxious odor that come from this resort.  The team was led by PENRO Nestor M. Canda.


The Pollution Control Officer (PCO) met and accompanied us in the inspection of the Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) and the solid waste facility. We found the STP fully functional and so was the solid waste facility. So what caused the complaint from neighbors?


The PCO told us that the municipality of Panglao that collects their garbage everyday failed to collect for more than three days and thus food waste that are stored in the facility started to decay and produced the foul odor.  He said that the resort does not have an area where to dump its biodegradable waste so the resort made arrangement with the municipal government of Panglao to collect even their biodegradable waste for dumping at the garbage site in Brgy. Lourdes.  The resort hired four (4) personnel to segregate the waste from the resort at the garbage site.


The problem is that the municipality of Panglao only has one garbage truck (I still have to verify this information) and therefore cannot cope with the volume of garbage that is produced every day in the municipality.

For a municipality that has the most number of resorts and hotels in the province of Bohol and has tourism as its primary economic driver, Panglao must invest in environmental programs especially its garbage collection. It has no reason not to unless it can live to its stature of being the jewel of Bohol without the tourists coming. One garbage truck or even two or three may not be enough if we consider the volume of garbage that is produced every day in the municipality.


Garbage segregation at source is the concern and responsibility of everyone because everyone produces is but collection and disposal of other than biodegradable garbage is the responsibility of government.  After all taxpayers and business establishments pay environmental fees to ensure that they live in safe environment.


Incidentally I also learned while visiting the facility of the Organic Demo Farm and Training Center in Brgy. Bayacabac, Maribojoc that they are in need of food wastes to feed their vermi “pets” and other livestock that they raise. Hotels and resorts that have problem with their food wastes can coordinate with Mr. Oscar Valles, director of the Training Center.


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