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Garbage: A shared guilt

When it comes to Davao City’s garbage problem no one is at fault, that’s the good news. The bad news: everybody’s at fault. Maybe this is why everybody, from officials to ordinary citizens to the businesses, is looking the other way.

A cursory look around the city offers the gravity of the mess it’s in. Forget the grandiose structures trying to outdo each other in height and size in an emerging metropolis in the South. These sights only serve to mask the filth on the streets and sidewalks, in the gutters, coastline and waterways, and wherever humans have thumped their feet. Even the compound of the Shrine of the Holy Infant of Prague, a place of worship, was not spared by devotees who flocked there during the Holy Week.
Cleanliness is next to godliness. Indeed.

Yet, one need not be religious to know that throwing garbage anywhere is a terrible thing to do. It not only makes the situation worse; it also shows that years of formal education have failed to instill in many of us a sense of civic responsibility. And, goodness, many love to flaunt the titles “MA,” “PhD,” and other additives to their surnames, but don’t give a damn about throwing candy wrappers and other trash on the street.

True, government is also to blame for the absence of a sound waste management system and non-implementation of related measures. For instance, the failure to get rid of stray dogs and cats has worsened the problem because these animals would rip open garbage bags to scavenge for food. Add to that the lack of implementation on the “no segregation, no collection” policy.

Imposing a ban on plastics is an ideal scenario, and citizens should lobby for it. In the meantime, discipline is needed to mitigate the problem.



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