Garbage time

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By Giano M. Libot

I have issues

Friday, January 3, 2014

IT’S a New Dawn, it’s a New Age. Well maybe not much, the Gregorian calendar reminded me that we’ve turned a page from 2013 and are now venturing into the hopeful unknown of 2014, but the stench of the hill we call the Zayas-Land Fill still sits firm riddled with inefficiency, and yes you guessed it, Garbage. No this isn’t an expectation to make it pristine, landfills aren’t supposed to really look that way, but after a year of wanting and waiting, this City’s solid waste management is disappointing. Take away the controversy regarding the contracting and perhaps vague truths of the city’s inability to efficiently pay but you still see garbage literally almost everywhere, what’s up with that?

Service provider for waste management has to keep up with its definition – management; meaning timely and efficient collection, disposal and maintenance of at least close to zero waste, but lo and behold Cagayan de Oro has definitely seen better days.

Barangay Gusa is nationally recognized for its excellence in solid waste management. How ironic that we boast of an area like this but struggle to replicate a system to mirror something city-wide, and while it is true that we have transferred the services to a private contractor, and we’ve done It again from BAI to now IPM, but the city is still responsible for holding that service provider accountable, not just in mere collection but in rendering quality service.


See, garbage isn’t just about picking it up and throwing it on a hill, it matters how this is done, and when this is done. After taking over a new contract in September, IPM has been observed to be quite inefficient, with some areas only seeing trash being collected once a week, sometimes even weeks without any.

Add up to that is the seeming lack of equipment as trash collectors seen without the proper sanitation like gloves to pick up garbage, maybe what was left of the P60 million they are receiving per month isn’t enough to cover the city, but clearly the money isn’t going very far, and certainly because the city is the one paying for it. We need to hold the city government accountable so that they hold IPM accountable too.

But beyond this underscores a more dire solution, community involvement is at the heart of total and systematic waste management, what we have in the city today are spoiled households that just dump trash, and barangay centers that can’t hold those households accountable.

Even if we could somehow muster daily collection, but if people lack the discipline to keep and throw their trash properly we’d have an endless cycle of cleaning up. Clearly, there is something that must be done on a basic level, perhaps through tireless information campaigns, educating citizens and making sure we all contribute a piece of the solution, for this to be sustainable and effective we need everyone doing their part.

The heart of this problem is keeping all systems in check, waste is a reality we deal with in modern communities, we need to manage, the key here is the word WE, The IPM, City Hall, your barangay captain, your neighbor, and yourself.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 04, 2014.


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