Cebu City has installed 16 garbage traps in the city’s major waterways that include Butuanon River, Lahug River, Guadalupe River, Kinalumsan River and Bulacao River, and Parian Creek and Mahiga Creek. Last Dec. 29 alone, personnel of the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCENRO) were able to collect three truckloads or 20 tons of trash trapped in garbage traps, also known as bio-fences.
The CCENRO has planned to install more garbage traps in the city’s waterways to further reduce the amount of waste and debris going to the sea, specifically the Mactan Channel.
Again, this is a good plan. But placing garbage traps in waterways is only a band-aid solution to the city’s garbage woes.
Solving the waste problem in waterways and in land entails the cooperation between local government and residents.
One of the problems lies with the people living in the city, either in its urban areas or in its upland villages, who still lack discipline in restraining themselves from throwing recyclable waste into rivers and creeks.
The city government and the Association of Barangay Councils could perhaps institutionalize an information campaign in every village about the hazards of indiscriminate throwing of garbage.
Barangay officials in villages near waterways can also do their part by assigning teams of tanods or volunteers to help in monitoring and apprehending residents who throw their waste into a river or a creek.
Last October, the Cebu City Government announced that it will deploy around 800 “river rangers” from the 80 barangays’ emergency response teams to help monitor the waterways’ cleanliness. It was reported that they will be trained to issue citation tickets to residents caught throwing trash into rivers and creeks.
What happened to them? Are the river rangers still active? They could help in instill discipline among residents who have no care for their environment.
When no more trash is trapped in garbage traps during heavy rains, it could mean that no more individuals or groups of individuals throw their waste into the waterways. And that is a happy sight to behold.
This scenario could be achieved; however, it could take years to be realized.
The City Government, in the meantime, can put up more garbage traps as a band-aid solution and prevent a large chunk of waste from entering the Mactan Channel.