The Great Flood of Metro Manila

Saturday, September 26, it is way beyond words what Metro Manila has gone through in the hands of the recent storm, Ketsana. With the unusual amount of rain that Ketsana brought, it flooded where it never flooded before. Water seeped into houses and in a matter of minutes, reached 30 feet. The speed of the flood took everyone by surprise. People have gone to their rooftops or their neighbor’s roofs to save themselves. Rich or poor, everyone was caught off guard and no one was spared in this massive flood.

Picture this, this is a place where I have spent 34 years of my life and never had I encountered such a disaster. This is the national capital region of the Philippines. So, whatever happened to Manila? Who’s to blame? All of us is to be blamed. Environment Secretary Lito Atienza released a report that the cause of the recent immense flood that submerged Manila was the clogged waterways, wherein Laguna de Bay could not flow water into Pasig River to reach Manila bay, which in turn empties out into the China Sea. Laguna de Bay and Pasig River have become Filipinos great waste bin.

Filipinos have mercilessly thrown all their garbage in them that when we pass by any of the two, the stench will linger. The sight of Pasig River has been unfathomable. We did destroy them and now we are to pay. It has long been a topic that the clearing of Laguna de Bay and Pasig River has been going on for years and yet nothing has happened until now. Nature is now getting back at us. Perhaps, we should all watch Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”? Very few of us, Filipinos follow environment friendly practices. How about we lessen our use of plastic wares?

Our drainage systems are clogged with plastic bags. A million of Filipinos could only care less about the use of eco bags and reducing the use of plastics. I advice that we bring our own water bottle everyday and have it refilled than buy a bottled water. Imagine where these bottles will end up at the end of the day. Refuse plastic bags from stores. Use your own bag. Stop buying little sachet packs of shampoo, whitening, chips, peanuts etc. Start composting. Segregate garbage. Organic waste can be buried and converted into compost. How about just use an electric fan than air-conditioning?

A little sacrifice would go a long way. So, what is next? What just happened to us was a wake up call. Let us all do our share of making our country a better place. Let us exercise the use of environment friendly materials. Be conscious of the environment. Make an effort to be aware. Let us try to pressure government and corporations to take back their own waste. Corporations who use plastic packaging should be responsible for their recycling and re-use. As Environment Secretary Lito Atienza said, “God forgives. Man sometimes forgives. Nature never forgives. ”

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