Saturday, February 19, 2011

Eco Echoes: Typhoon Ondoy Makes Muntinlupa See Green

     (Note: This entry is inspired by both MyMommyology and O.C.Mominmanila's recent entries. Thank you, ladies!)

     I think O.C.Mominmanila's blog post on MyMommyology's recycling efforts is very timely because there was a recent television news report saying that since January 18, 2011, Muntinlupa City has enforced City Ordinance No. 10-109.

     In essence, the ordinance puts a ban on the use of plastic bags and styrofoam materials as packaging for wet and dry goods in palengkes (wet markets), groceries, and other establishments. The news report further said that even a gigantic mall and fast food chains like McDonald's are changing the packaging for their Muntinlupa branches to comply with the ordinance (Why not in other areas in the country as well? It would be good for the environment, anyway, right?)

     I am proud that at least one city in Metro Manila has had the courage to propose a law like this a year after typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) devastated much of Metro Manila with the worst flooding record in history, and have it passed and implemented a year after. You can see photos of a clean-up project a few friends and I did right after the flooding  in Provident Village, Marikina here and here. (Mahalo, Mike E! :-) )

     I think Muntinlupa is only ranked 5th in terms of land area among the cities that make up the metropolitan region. Nonetheless, what it has done by way of this ordinance is a very laudable move in leaving  gigantic positive tracks towards eco-friendly living. It isn't easy to get people to follow and really live their lives thinking of how to save the planet and care for the environment because the use of plastics and styrofoam products have just been second nature to this generation at least.

     Sometimes, on the way to work, I see trashcans on the sidewalk clearly marked for the city's effort's for garbage segregation and sadly see people beside it, unmindful of the markings and just throwing their garbage into any trashcan
(Pet peeve alert! While it is pitiable practice, I would take that over inconsiderate people throwing their cigarette butts and candy wrappers on the sidewalks or plant boxes even if they are already standing beside trash cans.)

     Admittedly, the practice of bringing reusable bags to the malls still takes getting used to, and personally, I think I need to remember to do it more often. We also reuse plastic bags here at home. Though we do not sort the bags by color or type or designate a particular type of bag for a particular use, it feels good to give these plastic bags more than one use.

      Think about the humble bayong. It is literally the quintessential FILIPINO MARKET BASKET. I grew up seeing this used by my grandmas whenever they went to the market. It was also packed into the car on long trips out of town to carry mostly kitchen essentials. It is basically a sturdy, reusable woven mat traditionally made of buri palm strips. Some modern bayongs are made out of plastic strips instead of buri palm for recycling efforts.

Traditional Philippine bayong made of buri leaves


Modern bayong

Modern bayong detail, made of plastic
laminated food labels / packaging

      With the adaptation of the grab-and-go lifestyle, that symbol of rural, peasant living, the bayong, came into disuse. The prevalence of plastics and the "disposable lifestyle" then became the norm. Sadly, today we face the problems of lack of landfills and sanitation problems because our garbage has caught up and is threatening to overtake our lives. Please, God forbid, that another Typhoon Ondoy tragedy strikes the city, or any other part of the country, what with the crazy global weather nowadays.

     Though some may argue that it may be a case of too little, too late, I do not agree. I think every little bit helps. I hope the bigger cities like Quezon City would follow suit. Maybe we can overlook the small gripes people are likely to vent out once a program like this is implemented. Think about the money the city can generate in savings from better working drainage systems, less ecological waste, less flooding problems, less people displaced from their homes during typhoon season, better health for city residents, and all of this credited to whoever is the current city mayor. A crowning achievement in local government administration, all because a typhoon named Ondoy came with a fury and such a force to drive home a lesson in caring for the environment.

©CherWriter 2011.02.19


  1. This is inspiring, truly great news! And I hope many others follow suit. Even in the late '90s in UPD when I got involved in a research effort to study flooding in Metro Manila, our team found that most of the esteros do get clogged by plastic bags which aggravate flooding in Metro Manila. This is just one fabric of the issue but it's a good start! Thanks for sharing this :-)

  2. We should be more conscious about making it a better environment since Satchie, Kai, Santi, Sam, Janina, Rocco, Jamie and Patty's #2 will live in it someday soon!

  3. Yes, ladies! This bit of news is really inspiring but more should be done, and right away! :D



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