We moved into a new office last July 1 and noticed that someone from the previous occupants left behind a small aquarium with cloudy water and four fishes—three Guppies and a Gourami—near the sink of one of the pantries.

And, the mush-hearted idiot that I am, I could not just leave them be.

The fishes that I do not own have since been fed and the aquarium now has a hanging water filter, a water pump with an aerator bar, and LED lights.

And today, I am writing this on a Wednesday, a Lazada delivery man arrived with a device that lets me test the water for alkaline and acidity and will soon be back with other stuff. He left with all my money.

Indeed, a fool and his money are soon parted.

This is my first time to care for fish and I really don’t know what I am doing. But the cloudy water cleared up three days into the operation, so I am feeling kind of hopeful.

Guppies and Gourmis are nothing special.

I remember, as a kid, people would just catch them in the canals running along the road leading to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, after a brief downpour.

That sort of tells us just how hardy Guppies and Gouramis are.

But, then again, that also tells us how times have changed. You stare down a canal and you won’t likely see a fish. You’d likely see garbage.

Solid waste management remains a big challenge for all local government units (LGUs).

And if you audit the strategies LGUs field, they will converge around collection systems and methods of disposal.

Collection and disposal, regardless of how efficient and sanitary, will not work because they only delay the inevitable.

Sooner rather than later, efficiency will collapse as garbage volume increases. And disposal facilities, regardless of how huge, will be overrun as the human consumption of products and goods increases.

When consumption increases, waste—whether produced as a result of the consumption process, or generated as a by-product of the production process—also increases.

And the rate of human consumption of certain products is mind-blowing.

First came the concept of fast-food and the billion-dollar industry, notorious for the use of single-use plastics, that it spawned.

Now there’s fast fashion. Fast fashion, says the Los Angeles-based media brand The Good Trade, is a design, manufacturing, and marketing method focused on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing.

Its production leverages trend replication and the use of more readily accessible materials like synthetic fabrics in order to bring inexpensive styles to the end consumer.

Trend replication is a fancy way of saying they copy popular designs that they then produce in bulk and sell on the cheap.

Unfortunately, what’s popular today is tomorrow’s fashion mistakes, and the trendier the fashion the shorter its lifespan in the closet.

But because of the low price point, most people simply just buy new ones and throw their old clothes away in the guise of donating them to charity or re-selling at a fraction of the original cost of acquisition.

Either way, sooner or later, the items end up in the bin.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that synthetic nylons and plastics don’t readily decay.

So, wherever they end up after the bin, which invariably will always be the rivers and seas, they are going to stay there for a hell of a long time.

Until we widen our gaze and comprehensively define the problem of solid waste management, thereby allowing us to identify solutions that go beyond collection and disposal, the only Guppies and Gouramis I will see in the foreseeable future are the Guppies and Gouramis in the aquarium I don’t own.