Even with face-to-face classes suspended and other pandemic restrictions, traffic slowed to a standstill in many parts of Metro Manila and neighboring provinces on Wednesday as Typhoon Fabian combined with a tropical depression and the monsoon, dumping heavy rains and spawning flashfloods.
Traffic was snarled in the affected areas for much of the day even as government workers were sent home in the afternoon. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority reported that except for one pumping station that was being repaired, its 66 other stations were working fine. The problem, the MMDA said, was the large number of garbage in the floodwaters. This slowed down the pumping operations, prolonging the time that it took to make the floods recede.
Mobility restrictions have been eased, so there is no excuse for inefficiency in the collection of garbage. In densely populated communities, barangay personnel and local government officials must work together to promote proper garbage disposal and prevent the pollution of waterways. All local governments have ordinances against littering. These ordinances must be fully enforced, and promoted through the provision of garbage receptacles.
The problem with pollution is not necessarily the type of material that’s tossed into the environment, but filthy habits of people who ignore or are unaware of the adverse impact of littering. Whether it’s single-use or biodegradable plant-based plastic, or double-layer paper bag, tin can or Styrofoam food container, improper waste disposal and filthy habits will ensure continued pollution.
In turn, pollution will continue to derail every effort to mitigate flooding. The poetic justice here is when the destructive floods caused by drainage systems clogged by garbage hit the homes of the polluters. What goes around comes around.
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