When I was in college, I used to buy lemonade from the cafeteria every day. I loved it but I couldn’t help computing how many plastic cups I went through in a year. Every single time I bought a drink, I felt guilty about that damned cup. I distinctly remember one of my friends saying, “Naiisip mo pa yan?” I couldn’t help it but at the same time, I didn’t do anything about it. Hindi pa uso ang Klean Kanteen no’n, so the idea of bringing my own cup for my daily lemonade didn’t really cross my mind.
This kind of gives you an idea of how important the environment is to me (and also how exhausting it is to be in my head). But it turns out, I was right to be anxious. I recently wrote about waste management (I know, so sexy) and found out just how bad the trash situation is. Consumption is at an all-time high and waste is growing exponentially, but we don’t have the right infrastructure to deal with it. Our landfills are filling up too quickly; at this rate, the 19-hectare Rodriguez landfill isn’t expected to have the same life span as the 20-hectare Payatas dumpsite, which took 15 years to fill and is now permanently closed. And there’s a huge amount of trash floating in our oceans, of which our tiny country is the third biggest contributor (for shame!), according to a report by the Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business Development. (This is the result of the aforementioned lack of efficient waste management plus the illegal dumping of trash by garbage haulers near open water.)