EDITORIAL: Palawan and its trash

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Palawan and its trash | A few days ago, a Facebook video posted online drew the ire of netizens. A passenger in a provincial bus was seen throwing rubbish outside the bus while it traversed along a national road.

Seemingly unwitty, the action reflects how people nowadays treat their own litters. It’s as if they own the world and they would do whatever they want instead of being responsible for what should be done – putting their wastes on their pockets when there are no waste bins around.

All the manners some people have, where wastes are littered everywhere, where plastics are thrown in the road, where rubbishes just scattered – we may ask ourselves, what is going on now?

With the increase in business activities in Palawan, there lies a lot of challenges. The influx of tourists, where most of them are being blamed to be the culprit of these garbage, is rapidly snowballing. But we disagree, since it is us, locals, who have played the role in perpetuating the littering of wastes, where we forget to segregate and properly dispose our household wastes.

Jeepneys, tricycles, buses, vans and alike should have to have their own waste bins where their passengers are reminded not to throw their wastes on the street. We see plastics scattered in the mountainside where there are no people residing in that area. In the beach front, a lot defaced the white sand and is no longer pleasing to the eyes. It all starts from throwing little plastics. And day by day, more and more people are doing it, as well.

In England, for example, their government adapted a bottle-and-can-deposit-return scheme where disposed plastics, whether they are also glass or metal, can be exchanged with money through a vending machine. Fees may vary depending on the weight and size of the plastic or can.

On the other hand, the National Solid Waste Management Authority of Jamaica in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) pushed through with their Plastic Bottle Recycling Project, where they anticipated 347 tonnes of solid waste or 3.8 million plastic bottles will be collected and processed.

Is the Philippine government not strong enough to implement its laws? And how about the agencies involved in the protection of the environment? Are they not doing their jobs to curb irregularities? Do we need international support to drum up efforts to protect our own backyard?

Section 48 of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 clearly states the requirement and has tough penalties on offending entities. But there are still gaps on how this is properly enforced.

Here in Palawan, especially in Puerto Princesa City, we have been a role model and has been considered to be the cleanest and greenest in the whole country. But how about now? Are we losing this title?

These questions left us hanging – what are we doing in our own personal capacities and in our own backyards to protect our very own Palawan?

We should not wait for the moment where we will be overtaken by the wastes we once thrown before we take action and heed not just our environmental laws but also the law of nature.

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