I remember two national campaigns that were popular when I was a kid. One was the Smokey the Bear “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires” and the other was the anti littering campaign “Every Litter Bit Hurts”, among other themes from Keep America Beautiful. Possibly it was my impressionable age, but those have always stuck with me. Particularly being a litterbug. It really bothers me.

There isn’t the same feeling of guilt displayed here for littering. No, it’s common place and as far as one can tell there is no thought given it whatsoever. Trash is thrown anywhere and everywhere. That’s not to say that some of it doesn’t get cleaned up. I think in many cases here in Davao, in particular areas, they do a decent job of cleaning up the trash (basura).

I often hear of the pride the Filipinos have for their country. I don’t see it, not when it comes to the way they treat the country. Not in terms of things like littering. No, I think they confuse pride for their countrymen, with pride for their country. And to be honest that pride for their countrymen usually is extended to celebrities only. Boxers, beauty pageant contestants, and/or “Idol” contestants for example. Others are not worthy of pride, but often jealously instead. It’s upsetting, at least to me, to have someone tell you have much they love their country, while throwing their pop can into the ditch.

Basura in Davao - Litter in the PhilippinesI don’t know why there is the rampant littering, the lack of concern. Maybe the campaigns in America helped (I’m not suggesting there is no littering there) raise awareness enough for some to care. Maybe that’s what it would take here, someone like Davao’s Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to back a campaign. He’s been mostly successful in other areas, such as the anti smoking ordinance and the new speed limit law. And there are few that will argue that Davao is considered one of the safest cities in the Philippines, whether you agree with the alleged methods or not. No, maybe that’s all it would take, an effort to claim Davao as “Philippine’s Cleanest City.”

There is scheduled trash pickup in most areas now. Many don’t take advantage of it, because there is a cost involved. P50 is our monthly fee. Some of those that don’t use the service burn their trash instead. I don’t know that I feel that’s any better, but that’s another topic. Having more trash bins (basurahan) around would certainly help. It can be quite difficult to find a place to throw garbage, even at some of the malls. If you want people to dispose of trash properly, you’ll need to go the next step and give them a place to do so.

So what do you think? Why is littering such and issue here?

Anki Bisaya Phrasebook Flashcards