Kalam before the storm

October 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

Filipino scavenging in Manila Bay during Pepeng

Filipino scavenging in Manila Bay during Pepeng

Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng left a swath of destruction across the vast landscape of Luzon. Luzon is like a war zone. Roads, bridges, power lines, and fields were damaged by floods. Strong winds caused by Pepeng (Parma) destroyed houses. Thousands of families were affected.

Here in Metro Manila, people left homeless by Ondoy resort to drastic actions. Though a few hundreds remain in evacuation centers, many already went back to their homes, only to find them damaged, some even beyond repair.

People started cleaning up their homes from mud, dirt and flood waters. Some areas have stagnant flood waters. Garbage found on homes were dumped in selected areas, creating “emergency” garbage dumps. You can find it from Muntinlupa up to Montalban in Marikina. Local government units are not collecting them. And you know what happens when these piles of garbage are left uncollected. They attract flies and disease.

Scavengers in Manila Bay

Scavengers in Manila Bay

Some people dump their garbage in Manila bay. At the height of Pepeng (Parma), I went to Manila bay and found scores of people scavenging for scraps of metal and other useful items. The entire bay was littered with tons and tons of garbage.

I asked around and found that garbage trucks go to the bay and dump their collections directly unto the sea. What happened to those dumping grounds in Montalban and some parts of Rizal? I researched and found that MMDA and the city government of Montalban are still fighting over dumping of Metro trash in their sites. Other areas, such as Payatas, were destroyed by huge floods.

Bay fronting US embassy turned into garbage dump

Bay fronting US embassy turned into garbage dump

Seepage coming from dumping sites are toxic yet we still await for government action on this. We still don’t know how many tons of leachate, that liquid from garbage dumps or landfills, flowed out and spilled over to communities, rivers and streams. These are toxic.

Now, look at Manila Bay. We still don’t know how much toxic materials flowed into it during the height of the storm but we do know is its a lot.

Government should do some studies for us to know the effects of this environmental disaster.


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