DAVAO City has been recognized as among the cleanest cities in the country. This is thanks to the efforts of the city’s street sweepers, garbage collectors, and the environmental laws it has enacted in the past years.
However, it is quite obvious that it also has its fair share of environmental problems. Clearly, the garbage problem in the city is worsening given that it is rapidly growing and more are migrating here.
Since January, there is no shortage of news reports and photo stories on the garbage problems in Davao City. Whether it is the garbage filled canal in Bucana, trash filled shores of Isla Verde, or waste exceeding the capacity of the sanitary landfill, the city has a serious garbage problem that needs to be addressed immediately.
The Interface Development Interventions (Idis) reported that based on the 2018 data of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), the city generates an average of 1,012 tons of trash daily. However, only 292 tons were collected each day.
Idis policy advocacy officer Raine Catague also said the city landfill in Carmen, Tugbok District has already reached the level of more than 900,000 ton level, based on Cenro’s 2016 data. The landfill’s capacity is only between 700,000 to 800,000 tons.
These data and what we see around us are clear signs that there is an immediate need to address Davao City’s garbage problem. Some may argue that it is not as bad as Metro Manila or Metro Cebu. Do we have to wait critical levels before we or the local government unit act?
There are a number of factors that come to play in the city’s worsening garbage problem. Catague pointed out that poor waste management practice is a culprit in the city’s garbage woes.
“If naa lang unta ta’y proper waste segregation, dili na unta ta miresulta sa ing-ani nga kahimtang (If we only practice proper waste segregation, we won’t have resulted to this problem),” she said.
Another major culprit is the people living in the city. Reality is, not everyone living in the city have the discipline to properly manage their waste or are responsible citizens. There are still people who would throw their trash on the streets, side of the roads, in alley ways, or in vacant lots. Whether it is a cigarette butt, shampoo sachet, candy wrapper, or a price tag, they still form the 1,012 tons of garbage being generated everyday.
As people living in Davao City and those who call it home, we must each do our part in being part of the solution in solving the garbage problem. Maybe it is time for a lifestyle change for some so that they can minimize the waste they produce.
As for the city, it may have to step up its efforts in finding solutions to the garbage problem. Some strategies may include intensified information and education campaign on waste management, stricter penalties on violators of environmental laws, and better implementation of the laws.
In solving the garbage problem of Davao City, the local government and the people living in the city must work hand in hand.