Open the Gate to Segregate

Middle aged lady says, “Pano mo ‘Noy inapon si basura? Sinuruway mo? Adolescent boy responds, “Arog kan dati.” Lady clarifies, “Pigsuruway mo?” Boy (appears puzzled) replies, “Arog kan dati, haralo.”. Lady raises her voice, “Dai! Dapat pigsuruway mo! Saka sa Huwebes pa ang hakot kayan!”. Elderly man joins in the conversation, “Iyo. Dapat suruwayon. Mamumultahan kita kayan!”.

What’s all the alarm? The 3 R’s of waste disposal: reduce, reuse and recycle has become iconic as the three R’s: reading riting and rithmetic. Never mind the spelling. Microsoft Word has spell check anyway. Proper waste disposal of biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials is among the competencies in Science learning area, then in the middle of class, a Grade 4 pupil would mumble, “Dai man ‘yan ginigibo”. At least now, that kid won’t say that anymore.

There are many ideas and sentiments of appropriateness that the public (or most of us) agree on. Soda is not good for health. Vegetables and fruits are good for health. Inversely, chips are not. Smoking is not good for health. Similarly, liquor is not. A decent duration of sleep is good. Physical exercise is good. But despite the acceptance of these ideas as canon on literature and lip service, they are often proclaimed and rarely truly practiced. Soda is a popular drink. Most people would choose meat over mongo. Chips is synonymous to snacks. We still inhale cigarette smoke and the common folk are always watching for a birthday, fiesta or any celebration as an excuse to pop the bottle, take shots until the morning, with the videoke on the background. Heck, some people won’t even need that excuse. A vibrant night life seem to be an indicator of progress. With the work load that engulf us in our “modern” lives, could we even afford physical exercise?

There’s more. We all agree that substance abuse is an ill and illegal. Inappropriate and improper financial transactions are corruption. Pre-marital sexual relations often prevent personal progress. Lack of discipline among drivers cause traffic jams. Early Christmas shopping prevents crowded malls on Christmas eves and the running out of that cream for buco salad. We all agree on what is right and wrong and how and how not to do it. But for some reason, we can’t get ourselves up to actually do it. (That could be a good topic for an action research.)

We welcome this current development in Naga as a strong statement of integrity. My sociology professor would say that, “The ideal is always not real”; but I say, if we do not move towards the ideal and accept it as real, that is simply being idle. It is a testament of the resolute spirit of leadership and the commitment in collaboration of implementing bodies, and so far, the participation of the population. There occurs an observable keenness among waste disposers of the procedures and schedule of collection of biodegradable and non-biodegradable excess, and a fierce fear of a first offense fine. (Is it really P 500?) Now, If we come to think of it, actually doing what one has been declaring is simply a sign of sanity and honesty to oneself; and this time, we have finally gathered the strength to be in a stable state of mind. let’s just hope that this virtue of varacity keep burning brighter and not die down like wildfire on wet grass.

This stand on segregation is a movement towards advancement. A friend was contemplating on initiating placement of pairs of waste bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable. I told her that the intent is admirable, but it would be not that simple. Having placed segregated waste bins would suggest the acceptance of the responsibility of recycling or at least, the coordination of the recycling of the collected non-biodegradable materials, and proper disposal of the biodegradable, and utilization of them as compost. The same responsibility is carried by a large scale implementor of such, as in a local government unit. Waste segregation is the responsibility to recycle and the commitment to compost. Now, before I sound like a Science teacher, recycling would create local industries, employment and opening of new markets, and probably to some extent, aid tourism. Compost on the other hand, would support local agriculture; promoting crop production, hopefully boosting its economy and the related processed food industries. (Now, I’m sounding like an economics teacher.) Now, the common sari-sari store tambay never thought that waste segregation would go a long way to industry and economy.

Now, let me check when I could put these Sprite bottles out.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” James 1:22