Humanity has a problem bigger than itself. Communities all over the world have to contend with garbage that they produce, after humanity has realized that its waste threatens the planet’s environment and its very survival as a species.
Baguio’s people have a problem bigger than themselves. They now have to contend with the garbage they produce, for they know that the garbage piling up in the streets is unsanitary and threatens their health. Apart from that, it is also unsightly and offensive to their olfactory sense.
There is no total solution to the waste that humanity creates, yet. There is no total reversal of the detrimental effects of the pollution that human-generated waste has wreaked upon the environment. Every solid waste management system has its detractors, especially on the handling of non-biodegradable, toxic, inorganic and industrial wastes. The best that humanity has to offer now is to minimize the problem, while it looks for the total solution.
In the case of Baguio, there is no solution in the offing, and it would seem that its citizens must inure themselves to endure the unsightly and smelly reality of their excessive waste.
The Philippines is actually way ahead of other nations in the effort to respond effectively to humanity’s growing garbage problem, at least on the policy level, for its laws seem to respond to the problem in accordance with international standards. However, it is one thing to have laws, and another to have the machinery and the resources to implement it. At face value, local government units and ordinary citizens are liable for violation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, yet no cases to prosecute violators have been filed.
At the least, what the law provides us are guidelines to reduce potential problems with solid waste. Highly urbanized communities like Baguio have to contend with present humongous garbage problems where the solutions offered are mostly cosmetic and merely mitigating, if at all.
The many other cities and municipalities that do not yet have the same problem can do a lot better by managing their waste while it is still manageable, the better to deal with the problem when it becomes worse. The simple but effective waste management practices: segregate, reduce, reuse and recycle will do a lot to save these communities from a situation similar to Baguio’s present garbage problem.
It is the least they can do, it is the best they can do.