By Chito Chavez
With several more typhoons expected to hit the country this year, Quezon City officials cautioned the public to take necessary precautions to prevent casualties during disasters.
Councilor Victor Ferrer Jr. asked local residents in flood-prone areas to place important documents in plastic envelopes and store additional food like canned goods which they may need during inclement weather.
As floods were traced to the city’s clogged drainage systems, Ferrer issued a public appeal against the indiscriminate dumping of garbage on the waterways and drainage systems.
Earlier, Quezon City Engineering Department (QCED) chief Isagani Verzosa said that his men have been continuously conducting de-clogging operations on the city’s inlets, esteros, creeks and canals to quicken the receding time of flash floods.
In the past, QCED field personnel said tons of garbage were collected daily from the city’s waterways citing the public “should also share the responsibility in easing flood in the locality’’.
Verzosa added his men collect as much as 750 fully-laden dump trucks of garbage daily from the city’s inlets and drainage system.
“Candy wrappers, plastic containers, fruit peelings and non-biodegradable junk food wrappers are some of the waste materials retrieved from the city’s drainage system,’’ Verzosa said.
Ferrer also advised the public to keep covered trash boxes inside their vehicles to resist the temptation of throwing litter on the streets that may cause flooding during heavy rains.
He noted that passengers of private and public vehicles are forced or intentionally throw candy wrappers, fruit peelings and other non-biodegradable waste materials outside the vehicles due to the absence of garbage receptacles.
The discarded waste materials eventually end-up in the inlets and drainage systems negating the considerable amount of spent by the government on the year round cleaning of the major waterways to ease flooding on major roads and highways.
Due to the huge volume of garbage, Director Baltazar Melgar head of the of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Flood Control and Sewerage Systems Office said that the pumping stations in the metropolis incur premature damage as non-biodegradable materials and other waste objects are stuck to the facility.
Presidential decree 815 requires PUV to have garbage containers where the passengers can dispose their trash instead of indiscriminately throwing them out of the window.
Aside from the exorbitant flood control budget, Ferrer noted that the government has also spent huge amounts for the promotion of cleanliness and orderliness campaign on proper waste disposal.
Among the more prominent government advertising campaign on sanitation are the waste segregation scheme and similar programs imposed by the MMDA and the Quezon City government.
Aside from industrial wastes, the informal settlers account for the most number of garbage erroneously disposed on the murky rivers virtually making some of the waterways of Quezon City oversized dumping grounds.
Ferrer stressed that his call for requiring trash bins inside passenger jeepneys, taxis, buses and the like is not a new law since a presidential decree is still in effect concerning the matter.
As provided in section 3 (f) of Republic Act 7924, the MMDA has the authority to formulate and implement policies, rules, regulations, standards, programs and similar projects for the promotion of health and sanitation; enhancement of ecological balance and prevention and control of environmental pollution.