October 06, 2021

Such a waste! A major dilemma in Metro Manila (An OrbitX initiative to reorganize National Capital Region’s dirty concern)

Since June of this year, OrbitX has been working with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to identify new technologies and methods to solve the alarming concern of waste [mis]management in Metro Manila. I am personally grateful to MMDA’s Solid Waste Management Office (MMDA-SWMO) headed by Mr. Josias E. Syquimsiam Jr. for trusting us in handling an extremely huge challenge that could potentially change the region for years to come. I also want to thank MMDA Undersecretary Frisco San Juan for believing in us.

Initially, MMDA-SWMO provided us with data that we started working on. We thought of a couple of solutions that we presented to them initially last July. After getting their feedbacks, we proceeded on conducting survey but we did it in a specific manner – asking the respondents to provide a blockchain address. We also checked the quality of their responses and to reward their integrity and honesty, we promised them that we will provide a blockchain token called ORBX. From what we gathered, we tailor-fitted a possible answer and we formulated steps that we showed to MMDA last Monday. Thank goodness they like our proposal and we are about to conduct an initial testing in selected barangays.

So the question would be, “Did your strategy for the survey work?” In our observation, we can definitely say that it went well. To remind you also, we have not approached anybody directly to answer our survey. We posted it in our social media pages and surprisingly, we received 125 responses that are all valuable. So what did we learn from MMDA and the respondents?

  1. MMDA calculates the volume of wastes based on the estimation provided by the Local Government Units (LGUs). We believe that this is a huge problem because we are sure that not all wastes are properly monitored this way and to remind you readers, data is extremely valuable in the formation of strategies and policies especially in the government. Without sufficient data, we will never understand and see the whole picture.
  2. Not all LGUs have the same waste collection schedule. I personally consider this as a significant problem because I think it is best for the entire region to have a unified schedule of collection so that information dissemination and monitoring would be more organized and easier.
  3. There are different hauling services for each city and there are different landfills assigned as well. Cities have different hauling service partners. No big deal. The real thing here is that landfills are literally designed as “dumping sites” in my opinion. No site segregation. No monitoring. Let the trash sit there. Let us also take note that landfills are shared by multiple cities (and a municipality). Some of the landfills are outside Metro Manila and I think that is “cute”.
  4. Majority of the respondents agree that monitoring wastes is necessary. We asked the pollees about their viewpoint on garbage accountability by means of monitoring and tracking. More than half of them agreed that it should be done while the remaining are undecided. This sends a clear signal that the citizens of the metro recognize that everyone should be “watched” closely to become more responsible starting from households and companies to hauling services and local governments. Providing equal participation in all levels regardless of status would improve our environment and will prevent cities from further destroying it.
  5. People will comply properly if there is a reward for good deeds. This is a clear observation. When we posted the survey online and informed them about the reward, for just a couple of days, we gathered enough participants. We realized that in order for all of us to segregate and recycle wastes, incentives should be provided. One option that we can suggest is the implementation of a “segregate for points” system. Every time a household segregates or recycles, points will be received which they can use in stores, to buy prepaid load or to avail discounts and other perks.
  6. LGUs are not equally strict. We got this surprising response from the volunteer participants of the poll. Some of them said that their local leaderships are not firm enough that cause mediocre citizens. It accentuates the probability of mismanagement of human scraps.
  7. Only few knows the Republic Act 9003. I am pretty sure that some of you my dearest subscribers would even search it. R.A. 9003 is a law the provides the guidelines on what to do, what not to do, who should participate, who are responsible, what are the penalties and who are the governing bodies for solid waste management. Unfortunately, not all are aware of it. I believe this is one of the reasons why we are not taking this seriously. It is also a probability that the authorities and even schools are not doing enough to educate us about this. I think, like Dr. Jose Rizal, this should be a subject and a requirement for students so we can shape their minds to become environment-loving citizens of their communities.

You might ask us why we are doing this. My answer would be simple – it is one of OrbitX’s responsibilities. To remind you, we are not just here to launch a rocket. We also want to protect the environment while accessing space and without helping the government (as responsible citizens), our ultimate goal of flying Haribon would never happen. Trust me. Our actions will always remain reasonable and aligned to what most of you expect us to do – launch the effin’ rocket. At the end of the day, OrbitX is more than just a space company. We also contribute to the overall welfare of our society so we can ensure that one day, we will breathe clean air, drink safe water and eat healthy foods while watching “the bird” fly.

LASTLY, we do not deserve space if we cannot take care of our planet properly.

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