A few days after assuming office, Governor Lilia “Nanay” Pineda has been seen serious on her public service job.

She has indulged herself into looking what are the present needs and problems of the province including our predicament on garbage disposal. Garbage everywhere.

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A personal visit on the megadike has revealed the indiscriminate throwing of garbage including some alleged waste materials from Metro Manila. The once protective armor of Pampanga from lahar is now a large garbage bin of irresponsible citizens from the province or from other places.

Every town not only in Pampanga but in the whole Philippines as well has a lot to solve on waste disposal. At the moment, the most common but illegal mode of managing our waste is through open dumpsites. I say its illegal because the government has banned disposing garbage in open dumping grounds and is on the run doing efforts to close the existing ones.

Metro Manila alone is generating thousands of tons of garbage daily. Nearby towns south and north of the metro are likewise starting to grow their piles of wastes. Call it urbanization, this is what rapid development brings. Growth in an area poses a threat to the environment, ask Mabalacat Councilor and certified environmentalist Rox Pena on that.

Pampanga is undoubtedly getting urbanized. The presence of malls, monstrous traffic jams, and growing number of rising buildings are just a few of the indicators to the unavoidable changing landscape of the province.

Due to this metamorphosis, garbage in households which we simply put in holes we dig in backyards is now enormous. Growing population can be equated with growing waste generators. Subdivisions, villages, town houses, residences are mushrooming in Pampanga too. So are their bags of garbage.

The provincial government, under the baton of Gov. Nanay would not take this sitting down. She is an environmentalist and an advocate of responsible care for the environment. She visits personally areas where there are concerns on the environment to look for the problem in order to find a real and appropriate solution for it. She is serious in fighting it out with problems affecting the environment.

When she speaks, everyone listens. What is good about the capitol leadership now is the fact that the political bureaucracy from the capitol legislature, down up to the officials in the barangay are supportive to the new provincial administration.

Last Tuesday, a consultation/orientation meeting on solid waste management was held at the Capitol grounds. The activity was spearheaded by Gov. Nanay and was attended by municipal mayors and barangay officials in the province.

Presentations were made on the present status of Pampanga on wastes. Many eyes were opened when it was learned that we have now a serious problem on our garbage that needs serious solutions and serious participations of every sector especially our elected leaders.

Waste segregation on households was encouraged. We need to go back perhaps to what I’ve witnessed during my younger years where we simply dug up the ground and bury the biodegradables.

Material Recovery Facilities need to be mandatory for every local government units particularly municipalities. If only the MRFs are of the same number with junkshops, they’d be a lot of help in finding solutions to our garbage problem.

The Environmental Management Bureau has offered its help to LGUs for their management of their respective piles and heaps of garbage in their territories. The said office has filed a number of cases to some environmental laws violators. However, the bureau should also update us on what happened to these cases.

By the way, my good friend Art Punsalan, the shadow and trusted working confidant of Vice Governor Joseller “Yeng” Guiao is now the Environmental czar of the province. On the legislative side, 4th District Provincial Board Member Nestor Tolentino is the Chair on the Sanggunian’s Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. They have both active and serious advocacies on environmental protection and care.

With top caliber workforces, participatory local government units and active non-government organizations supporting and complementing an environmental governor, we can expect more than solutions in fighting it out with our solid waste problems.