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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, December 7, 2017
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Choices We Make
with Benjamin Calderon

Dumaguete landfill site

Benjamin Calderon

Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Remollo has been granted authority by the City Council to purchase a 3.5 hectare lot in Barangay Candauay worth Php18.7 million from spouses Francisco and Salvacion Divinagracia to be used as a sanity landfill. However, objection to the proposal point out the need for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to conduct and assessment as to the appropriateness and suitability of the proposed site which is situated more than 100 meters away from the nearest housing subdivision and 400 meters away from Ocoy river.

The city government is running out of time with orders from the DENR to close the present dumpsite and now the scramble to address the urgent need of properly disposing of 70 tons of garbage on a daily basis. The problem is exerting more pressure on our leaders to find a solution to the garbage disposal problem. As our leaders do their best to find a solution, we have to be part of the solution now.

We can help by making our own households implement a reduce, reuse, recycle practice to address our own garbage disposal needs. Furthermore, an editorial of a local paper has appropriately opined, “As the prominent environment lawyer Antonio Oposa himself said, garbage should be disposed of in your own territory. We are talking of recycling, composting and not buying anything that would be only be used once and thrown away wherever that is.”

“In Your Own Territory” sharply contrasts with the attitude of “Not In My Back Yard”. The former approach is more difficult as it requires being responsible for the garbage that we produce as we live our lives. The latter is very convenient as this requires just making sure our garbage is picked and thrown in another location.

Time will tell whether we, as a community or household, have learned our lessons in the proper disposal of garbage as the results will reflect the choices we make today.

Let us end with an encouragement us to positively consider the “in your own territory” approach in being part of the solution to the garbage disposal challenge with the following anecdote. An American tourist in Moscow found himself needing to get rid of a large supply of garbage from his recent stay at an apartment. After a long search, he just couldn't find any place to discard of it. So, he just went down one of the side streets to dump it there. Yet, he was stopped by a Moscow police officer, who said, "Hey you, what are you doing?" "I have to throw this away," replied the tourist. "You can't throw it away here. Look, follow me," the policeman offered. The police officer led him to a beautiful garden with lots of grass, pretty flowers, and manicured hedges. "Here," said the cop, "dump all the garbage you want." The American shrugs, opens up the large bags of garbage, and dumps them right on the flowers. "Thanks for giving me a place to dump this stuff. This is very nice of you. Is this Russian courtesy?" asked the tourist. "No. This is the American Embassy."*

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