December 2, 2023

Better waste management for a ‘better normal’

Since March 17 when Luzon was placed on lockdown, residents have been tasked to adapt to the “new normal” such as staying at home and keeping our hands clean.
Meanwhile, there are individuals who take on the duty of the exact opposite. They get their hands dirty as they tour the city and come into close contact with the city’s trash.
Garbage collectors provide an indispensable service by limiting environmental and health hazards, especially during this time of health crisis. Their line of livelihood, without the pandemic at hand, is dangerous as is. Dealing with trash poses health risks not limited to exposure to chemical and biological hazards, and heatstroke.
With the heightened threat to their health, I pose that we have a greater task than to stay at home. As those who produce the trash they handle, we have the responsibility to limit the health risks for these under-recognized frontliners.
For the volunteers who take part in this job to sell to junk shops, we should separate plastic bottles, cans, paper, cartons, and glass bottles so they no longer need to dig through the rest of our garbage. We should dispose our face masks in a separate bag with the proper label.
Respect for them is best manifested when we better handle our trash, even beyond this pandemic.
A “better” normal includes making it a habit to segregate waste properly for the sake of our noble garbage collectors and for our environment. — LAURA MAE T. TENEFRANCIA, Baguio City