Urban management today calls for outside the box thinking

Like the mountain that is Baguio City, its garbage problem has piled up – who knows, each bag on top of the other since last year may have already topped the City’s height: another Smoky Mountain. With Pangasinan allowing the City to dump its waste there, locals are hugely relieved. But at a steep price – imagine a significant chunk of locals’ taxes going into paying for the lease of a waste dump when it could’ve been spent on soup kitchens for the homeless this holiday season (or their skilling at TESDA to improve their marketability/employability)!

At Robinson’s Ortigas recently, I saw that the mall has adopted a brown paper bag policy. This to me portrays an image of a caring and intelligent business enterprise. Similarly, Naguilian in La Union, according to an acquaintance from there, has phased out the use of plastic shopping bags. Said this acquaintance, the ordinance just needs “ngipin (literally, teeth which is a metaphor for enforcement).” Paper bags and other recyclable or reusable forms (such as “bayong” or native woven bags), apart from being “environment friendly”, disincentivize shoppers from consumerism or mindless shopping (which ultimately redounds to less waste). Paper bags can only contain so much, compared to the roomier and sturdier (but difficult to decompose) plastic. Although, according to a former colleague, paper bags are also trees felled.

Thing is, how come there were no similar initiatives from City Hall when relative to the mentioned areas the City is sitting on a fragile mountain ecosystem (rendered even more fragile now)? How come, after cutting down the natural pine tree at upper Session Road, an xx-feet tall artificial pine tree is erected in its stead (worth PhP600,000 allegedly) is being decorated with artificial wreaths inserted with plucked pine cones? Visitors ooh and aah but me, a local, thinks the whole thing’s a mockery. A mockery of the City’s very emblem – the pine tree. A waste.

Managers at City Hall need to expand their minds and continuously look for more effective alternatives such as these:

Salt Lake City’s Recycling and Construction Waste Management

and, <a href="http://animoto.com/play/12IvXCqfYnaHi1nRK751Cg“>Outdoor Lighting

More importantly, I don’t suppose these ideas came from just one individual but rather these are the products of the creative thinking of a community (i.e. City officials + citizens).

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One Comment

  1. It’s horrible to know that the pine tree was cut just to be replaced by a fake one! In case they do not know, some trees are even protected as heritage trees.

    Manila is slow to catch up on the no-plastic bag policy. We’ve been using paper and eco-bags for a year and a half now. One time, I warned tourists to bring their own bags because Philippines stores now has no plastic policy and to my embarrassment, they still used plastic bags (in Manila)! :/

    Like

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