Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Evidently some people think I have “magical” powers. They feel all I need do is write about a “problem” here in the Philippines and somehow it will magically be resolved. Only wish it were that easy or that I had that type of influence. There are many Filipinos much smarter and more articulate than I trying to solve most of these problems. My mumblings and scribblings go in a different direction. All I do is try and focus on the positives; while giving you a possible “new” way to look at an old problem.
One of these old problems that people keep bringing to me is “air pollution” Specifically the burning of trash each evening. Most of the people complaining are upset about this odorous pastime but I doubt they have really given it any real thought.
Why is the trash burned? Obviously the first reason is to get rid of the trash. Then why not just have the trash hauled to the dump? Oriental Negros uses 2.5 hectares of landfill per year. Not only would hauling this extra trash to the landfill stress the already overburdened sanitation trucks but potentially it would double or triple this annual land loss. In the current situation it is not practical or efficient to try to haul it all away. So what can we do? If you let the trash accumulate we run a high risk of having an unplanned fire that would kill people and destroy property.
The secondary reason the trash is burned is indicated by “when” it is burned. Trash is burned usually in the early evenings when insects are at their worst. Without the smoke of the burning trash to help control these insects there would be a sharp increase in disease. For example many more children and old people would die of dengue fever. So why not get chemical foggers like they do in the United States? First, where do we get the money to support this expensive program? Beyond that, I have lived in Florida where they have these “safe” (?) fogging programs. The fog not only smells much worse than the smoke but it kills “good” insects as well as the bad. This could upset the balance of nature and create more problems. For example without good insects farming could be impacted. If the fog kills insects how good can it be for our growing children to breathe it?
You have children going hungry or not being able to go to school because they can not afford supplies and uniforms. You have children living and eating amid the fetid stench of a landfill to just survive and you worry about a little wood smoke each evening. Sorry but I think the burning of trash is a non-problem and sometimes the smoke even smells good. Be an Everyday Hero and help a child get an education and stop worrying about a little smoke.

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