Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How The Panagbenga Festival Highlighted The Root Of Baguio City's Garbage Problems

Baguio City is currently battling a garbage crisis. It has been for several years now. And looking at how the city is dealing with the problem, it's difficult to conclude that we'll be seeing a respite from the problem any time soon.

This is not to assert that City Hall isn't flexing their muscles enough. It's safe to say that they are doing everything they can to surmount this problem. It's either what they are doing is not good enough or they are yet to come up with a reliable, sustainable, and long-term solution to the problem.

Whenever the city's garbage problems rear its ugly head in a conversation, people tend to point their fingers at City Hall and blame the officials there. In a lot of ways, they have a point. However, if there's anyone to blame for the city's garbage woes, the residents and tourists should get a bigger slice of the blame compared to City Hall.

Filipinos are so used to blaming the government that whenever a problem comes to the fore, their automatic reaction is to raise a finger and point to the nearest public hall. This nasty habit was once again observed when trash piled up in the city due to the influx of people participating in the Panagbenga celebrations. A lot of irate people are saying "why is the city government sitting on its butt while discarded plastics mount in the streets?".

The festive Panagbenga events saw the trooping of residents and tourists into the streets and parks of Baguio City. And they piled their trash everywhere. What's so damning about this is that so many of these people didn't know how to properly deal with their litter. This brings us back to our point that the people are more to blame for the city's garbage problem than the way City Hall is dealing with it. It's time we start pointing our fingers toward ourselves in this particular issue. We, as residents and visitors, have a better chance of solving or at least alleviating the city's trash woes by simply acting like responsible waste-producers.

Below are photos that I took around town right after the street dancing and float parades. Needless to say, they highlight how irresponsible and lazy we often are in dealing with our litter. If we want a cleaner and greener city, we have to act better than this.

Trash collected at the Melvin Jones Football Grounds. This makes you wonder who would leave garbage in an open playground/field.

Garbage mounting at the biking area in Burnham Park.

Here's a tip to City Hall: The park needs bigger trash bins at times when thousands of tourists are expected to flock into the city.

Some people are just too lazy to even walk an extra foot or two to make sure that their litter reaches the bins.

Here's a tip to picknickers: If a bin is full, please find another one. Just because a bin is there doesn't mean the surrounding space is also a garbage dump. 

Not even the trees were spared.

Somebody enjoyed a box of ice cream. Unfortunately for the next occupants of the bench and table, that somebody decided to just leave the empty box there. And the plastic spoons too.

Why? This is not even a designated garbage collection area.