Trash Bins, Where Art Thou?

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2012 • 05 • 01

Aside from its sheer beauty, one of the things that we love about Puerto Princesa City in Palawan is that everywhere you look there is a trash bin. These humble containers may have contributed a lot in keeping the city neat and adorable.

But not all places are like Puerto Princesa. We have visited a number of beaches and stayed at several beach resorts and we always find ourselves looking for trash bins. Often there not enough trash bins in the area and sometimes none at all. Although it is not an obligation of the resort owners to instill discipline in their guests but it will be a huge help if they help their guests keep the beach clean simply by providing plenty of garbage bins in strategic places in their resort.

Trash bins at Punta Bulata, Cauayan, Negros Occidental. Nice!

And not just trash bins. It’s high time for us to teach ourselves how to segregate. There was a reason we were taught how to classify items as biodegradable or non-biodegradable in Grade School. Resort and hotel owners must devise and implement an effective waste management system.

But the challenge is not just for the business owners. We, travelers, should also be responsible. We’ve seen tourists totally snubbing these garbage bins like they don’t exist. Throwing trash just anywhere is bad per se but it gets even unforgivable when there are trash cans everywhere and no one is using them! And it’s just totally sad.

Please dispose of your food wrappers and plastic bags and other trash properly. If you can’t find trash bins, then put them in your pockets. You brought trash, take it with you when you leave.

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  1. Stewart says:

    This is such a heart breaking and maddening issue. You should see the beaches here in San Jose, Occ Mindoro. The beaches are full of plastic items, cups, chip bags, broken bottles, diapers and dogs who defecate all over the beach(alarmingly, humans use the beach as a toilet, too). Even if there were trashcans, nobody would use them anyway thanks to the culture of “somebody else will do it for me”. It’s sad to witness a nice beach being turned into a landfill and a bathroom. If local officials actually did their jobs this could be reversed, but I’m afraid I will never be able to comfortably see my children playing in the ocean or sand again, at least not where we live in San Jose. And it is not the tourists’ fault (at least not FOREIGN tourists) when beaches are ruined in the Philippines. it is the local governments who do not understand how to do their jobs- which is to create and ENFORCE LAWS to protect our environments. If the people who live on beaches are never disciplined by anybody when they litter or let their dogs defecate all over the beach, then it will never change. Locals are often uneducated and thus unaware that they are destroying their environment. While it might be common sense for most of us that bother to read & support organizations such as, the majority of people in real world Philippines don’t understand the basic concept of sustainability and environmental consciousness. Common practice is, eat a bag of chips, throw it aside, and walk away.
    Ignorance breeds ignorance and often, those who are in the position to make changes wont bother to make those changes unless it benefits them immediately… I’m afraid the solution often lies in the hands of those who don’t like taking advice, especially if it means actually doing their job without some sort of extra monetary gain. Also, people in this country seem to have a problem taking criticism. For instance, look at the “20 things I hate about the Philippines” video and the backlash a guy took for pointing out issues that could easily be solved, issues that even LOCALS have a problem with. Yet the moment somebody points out these things, everyone yells at him and says GET OUT YOU FOREIGNER! even when every single thing in that video was 100% true of the Philippines and something even Filipinos complain about.. Wow, talk about promoting tourism by threatening someone who gave you an excellent list of things to fix! Cleaning up your act can only improve tourism so it made no sense that rather than do something about it, people said WELL THIS IS THE WAY IT IS, LIKE IT OR LEAVE! Wrong way of thinking if this country is to ever improve on a large scale. Anyway, my point is that the heart of the problem lies not with tourism or tourists- often, that is the solution. When locals realize there is an incentive for cleaning up(tourists go where it is pretty, bringing with them opportunities and development for the local community), then that’s when real change happens. Tourists come and go, but those who live in an area make the real difference. It is these people who need to be targeted for awareness and change.

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