Friday, July 25, 2008

Trash talk

"Kubi! Kubi! KUBIIII!" my tita screeched, knocking wildly on the gate. I was napping and the sound of my aunt's slightly hysterical voice shocked me into waking. I ran to the door, and yanked it open.

"Darasem! Agiwar ka basura yon ta adda diyay truck!" (Quick! Take out your trash because the truck is coming this way!) she told me in one breath, her eyes wide with urgency. I sobered at that and felt the sleep seep out of my limbs. I nodded and walked purposefully to the back room. I hauled out an immense black plastic bag and carried it out unto the street. There, in the distance, I saw people busily loading similar burdens into something I had not seen in weeks: a garbage truck. I felt a rush of relief, heartened by the prospect of bidding two weeks' worth of accumulated garbage adieu. I spent the next few minutes methodically rounding up stray bags. The truck was mere meters away. My titas and I waited outside, bristling with unconcealed excitement.

"Does it look full to you?" one of my aunts whispered to no one in particular. I squinted into the darkness and made out three men jumping up and down on the back of the truck, heroically defying the laws of matter. I shook my head vehemently. This lone truck, I liked to believe, held the ticket to our sanity(-ation). My tita's doubt was infectious, but I beat it back.

The garbage truck started to move. We leaned forward hopefully...and watched an impressive pile of refuse make its slow procession down the street, completely ignoring our own expectant heap. Looks of bewilderment, cries of dismay! My titas and I waved frantically at the barangay kagawads following the truck. It's full, they said. We'll be back tomorrow, they assured us. Heads bowed and shoulders slumped, we carried our bags defeatedly across the street. We would have to wait until the next day before we could rid ourselves of this bane.

So it goes in Baguio City these days. The Irisan dumpsite has been closed, because many fear a repeat of the Payatas tragedy and because there is just too much trash. Negotiations to share dumpsites with neighboring towns have been futile in the hands of our blundering mayor. Government action is achingly slow. Our streets are lined with garbage bags trying very hard to look neat, but failing miserably. The wind carries a rotting, putrid smell not even pine can mask. The rain hastens the decomposition process so that maggots and other fauna easily colonize the accumulated waste. Why not, my dad suggested over dinner, hire a dumptruck and have them unload all of our garbage in front of City Hall? That would definitely get the officials moving.

While we consider the logisitics of this plan, we can try to ease up on trash production. The action of one will hardly make a dent, but the collective efforts of many will. Also starring in this great act are the basic R's we couldn't get enough of in elementary: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The simplest things really work. For instance, you can avoid throwing away food by cooking just enough for you and your family. Carry groceries in your own canvas bag. Buy a sturdy water bottle and keep refilling that instead of adding to the growing heap of plastic bottles. Recycled paper is always the bomb-- print a report on the clean side of used paper. It's back to basics for the people of Baguio.

For this city, the garbage problem is a fall from grace. Is it possible for Baguio's Cleanest and Greenest Hall of Fame spot to get revoked?

7 seen below:

joyfulchicken said...

The 3 Rs are great, but can I suggest another R? Roll the garbage bags down the side of the mountain and let the lowlanders deal with them >:)

Anonymous said...

i think garbage is a problem everywhere. each time i'd eat fast food sometimes i wonder where all those styro goes.

The Nashman said...

i wonder if bautista will last as long as yaranon (who was incompetent but not corrupt)


kubiyat said...

joyfulchicken: they have their own garbage to worry about :D

prinsesamusang: let's hope they go to recycling centers..

thenashman: promises indeed..bautista looks the type to hang on for dear life while spectacularly mucking things up. walang hiya haha.

Sexymoi said...

Yup... basura for life... everytime i go home to baguio i also see a lot of basura near our home.
so much for the cleanest and greenest city...

Shari said...

The scene feels familiar because that's what I go through during Wednesdays and Saturdays. I'm actually in charge of making sure that the garbage bags land on the garbage truck --- a truck full of people who demands "donations" in spite of the numerous complaints against them (they refuse to take your garbage if you don't show them some moolah).

Thing is, even if cases like one in Baguio are, in a sense, isolated, garbage is still a universal problem.

RRR is great and all, but there's only one thing that can guarantee that garbage "attack" the country in the end --- discipline. ^_^

erin said...


I saw the trash problem of Baguio and it saddens me that the summer capital of the philippines became like this. baguio is one of my favorite provinces in the philippines.

And in connection to this, I want to talk to you about this situation, becuase i am proposing this on a GMA 7 show called "Emergency". If you are interested, please email me at so we can talk privately.

Thank you and I hope this problem would be solved soon


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