The Black Hole PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 November 2011 15:06

By REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO

The lead for an item in a Manila newspaper read “Black Hole”. However it  had nothing to do with the black holes in space, those regions which exert  such a strong gravitational pull that not even light can escape from it. This black hole is  a machine that was tried out in Baguio  to address the problem of what to do with solid waste. According to the report the machine  can disintegrate several tons of garbage within hours into harmless dust.  And the machine runs on very little power.  Since Zamboanga has been on the look-out for an appropriate space for a landfill, this item caught my attention.

Our  city, like most other cities, has to deal with  tons of solid waste generated every day. At present we deal with our garbage by dumping this in a landfill. The present one cannot take any more and so a new dump site has to be developed. But here is the rub: Where should it be? The city government has to deal with residents’ aversion to having a landfill in their barangay  and this is understandable. After all there are threats to health and well being. And even if a chosen site for the landfill is not met by opposition from residents of nearby areas there is the other consideration of possible impact on the aquifers and water wells. With these factors to consider a machine that can “eat up” tons of garbage every day and turns this into harmless and much smaller other form should be a godsend. But is it really?

Perhaps if there is someone in our local government  who is sincerely interested to address our garbage problem he/she can look into this machine tried out in Baguio. This should not be an occasion for making political points. The present garbage situation of the city has degenerated into a  rather ugly cat fight, the kind that makes voters wonder if our elected  officials  are in their positions to see who can outpoint who, rather than being there to serve the needs of their constituents. While we know that there will always be the  dynamics of politics, it doesn’t  mean everything will have to be reduced to a contest of pogi points for this or that official. Sometimes these same officials should consider the good of the people.

Black hole garbage machine or not, this housewife sees that solving the garbage problem in our city will require looking into the following variables:  1) segregation into the biodegradable or non-degradable types  2)a workable system which allows households to dispose of their garbage in a systematic way  3)   efficient and regular collection of garbage according to types and   4) dumping the garbage into sites per type .  I admit that this is a city basic service that is not that simple. On the other hand one does not need a degree in rocket science to try out various ways that will work.   All that  will be  needed  is a sincere  acceptance  that the public deserves the service and should get it.