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Alan Gensoli

What Risk Reduction?

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Should I applaud now that Typhoon Glenda killed only 94? I think not. I think we owe these souls an apology for not preventing their deaths. True, most of them were killed by flying debris, but only because they were running to evacuation centers, fearing death by flooding. Which begs the question: What is the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) doing about risk reduction? It seems all focus is on management, but we couldn't even manage

I Hate Plastic Bags

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My Instagram profile describes me as a Plastic Hater. It's time you be one, too, and not because you and I are self-righteous. I have tolerated the suggestion that we "regulate" the use of plastic bags, as opposed to banning it completely. But at our July Solid Waste Management Board meeting, I realized my lenience has been abused. Plastic bags have become "residual waste". The contention is logical, mind you. Residual waste is the only kind of waste allowed by Republic Act 9003 to reach our sanitary landfill. Technically, it is waste that is left un-recycled. Since no recycler is buying our used plastic bags for now, these become residual. Logical. But, hardly correct. The Filipino's unabated disposal of plastic bags causes sanitary landfills to be filled up quickly, requiring local government units to borrow more money to buy more land and construct more landfills. In the case of Bacolod, a one-hectare landfill costing some P30 Million interest-bearing borrowed money to construct (land cost not included), will be filled up in three years if we do not segregate garbage at home. That's over P10 Million a year just because we choose to use plastic bags and throw these away uncaringly. It galls me that the plastic bag industry holds us hostage. Now, the recycling industry holds us hostage, too. And if you read further, you will realize that even waste pickers hold us hostage. Is it that they are more intelligent than we are, or that we are indifferent?

What’s your excuse?

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My four-month retreat from this column over, I am dumbfounded to awake in the same spot where I doze off: no garbage segregation, clogged waterways, and floods. Last June 26th I found myself listening to traffic and flooding advice on television and passing these on by social media to friends in Manila who were either stuck in their offices or in standstill traffic. On that day, at the height of the flood, there was no typhoon in Metro Manila and we were at low


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