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A Systems Approach to Solid Waste Management in Mahiga

The riparian segment of the Creek has been stripped of its vegetation and functionality of the remaining trees in the area. Mahiga Creek presently houses more than 200 families, most of which informally settled in the area for as long as 20 years. People have constructed various make shift homes over trees, shrubs, and grasses that would have otherwise benefit communities living in the creek.

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Instead, rampant pollution has overcome positive biological forces that used to provide shelter and ecological benefits to nearby establishments in the area. Among the other bodies of water in-bound of Cebu City, the Mahiga Creek plays a significant ecological role that links various surface water streams originating from the mountainous slopes of Cebu down toward the central northern coast of Cebu City. This function supports drainage of surface water runoff from higher lands of Cebu City.

Due to a myriad of social, physical, and ecological factors that have affected the health and functionality of the Mahiga Creek, affected communities, policy makers, members of the media, and many more of have observed that flooding now reaches as high as 3-4 feet in depth from the floor up to the waist within and around area of SM City Cebu, North Reclamation Area, Cebu City. This has obviously affected a vast number of the commuting public as it has been reported to damage motors and electrical components of automotives.

The presence of settlers in the Mahiga Creek prevents the natural gravitational flow water from upstream sources to the coast due to the obstructions caused by crudely built homes and massive accumulation of garbage (including human waste) in the Riparian zone of the river bed. Riparian land is defined as ‘any land which adjoins, directly influences, or is influenced by a body of water. However, there is no rule of nature that defines the ‘width’ of riparian land: the width of interest or concern is largely determined by the management objectives (LWRRDC, 1999). Review of Related Literature

Solid Waste Management in Cebu City A study of the waste discharge amount of Cebu City in 2001 supports that people living in Cebu throws 511 tons/day or 57% of composes residential and non-residential related wastes. The current waste collection rate in Cebu City is at 80%. While the waste discharge amount is estimated at 0. 7 kg/person/day. (Villarete, N. G. C, City Administrator, Cebu City) Civil society and policy makers should be encouraged to understand the value of proper Solid Waste Management (SWM) or recycling practices, and effects of land use modification, and water transfers.

Waste Amount Forecasts The following table shows the projected total solid waste generation in Cebu City in the next 10 years based on an annual 2% growth rate for residential wastes and 4% growth rate for non-residential wastes. The projected growth rates are proportionate to the growth of the city residents’ personal consumption, commercial and industrial activity, and social and cultural interaction. [pic] The non-residential wastes include all wastes other than the residential wastes, such as wastes discharged from shops, streets, parks, schools, offices, tourists, etc.

Presently, there is no available information on the breakdown of non-residential wastes to commercial, industrial, school, office wastes, etc. Waste Property Forecasts Replacing conventional small shops with large shopping malls and supermarkets will increase packaging materials, which are required to carry goods to their homes. The economic growth will change people’s lifestyles leading to an increase in demand for fast foods. This will result to an increase of packaging wastes. [pic] Constructing vulnerability The level of urbanization in the Philippines, that is the proportion of urban population to the total, rose from 21. per cent in 1950 to 47. 6 percent in 1997 (Rebullida, 1999: 16; Ibon, 2000: 66). Most of these people were poor and could not afford the high costs of land, housing materials and construction. Land values throughout the country increased 12 to 15 times between 1940 and 1969 but 27 times in the NCR. In the 1980s, land prices rose 35 to 40 times in Quezon City, 50 to 80 times in Makati, 250 to 400 times in Diliman and a staggering 2,000 times in Escolta. In 1996, the CBD was registering an annual increase of 50 per cent and even the value of land in peripheral areas rose by 25 per cent annually (Rebullida, 1999: 16– 17).

As a consequence, migrants have generally had to find accommodation in the informal housing sector becoming interchangeably squatters (illegal occupiers of land), slum dwellers (residing in blighted urban communities) and makeshift dwellers (living in shelters made of scrap materials). Such neighborhoods are often situated on the urban fringes or wastelands that proliferate in Third World cities, especially near to areas that provide work and along major transport hubs and links. Take for example the case in Metro Manila, the banks of rivers, canals and esteros have frequently served in this capacity.

Since the demand for land is at such a premium, spaces that are vacant or only nominally owned by national, city or municipal authorities prove particularly attractive as locales for squatters. The result is that makeshift housing often encroaches on to available waterways, blocking the access of maintenance personnel and equipment from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) or the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and, by a gradual process of accretion, narrows their flow capacity and diminishes the volume of discharge they are able to handle (Labrador and Bualat, 1996–7: 44).

A recent report submitted by the Office of the City Engineer details the specific histories of how such processes actually occur. How the Estero de Tanque in Paco was partly filled in and is now occupied by adjacent lot owners and squatters; how the Estero Tripa de Gallina in Santa Ana was subdivided and disposed of by the Land Authority to tenants during the administration of President Macapagal; and how a portion equivalent to 1,788. 30 square meters of the Estero de Aviles in San Miguel was titled to a certain Arsenio Dy of 3011 Nagtahan, Sampaloc as TCT Nos. 67,425 and 67,426.

Nor are squatters and the urban poor the only ones responsible for these encroachments. Thus the Estero de Maytubig in Malate that has been dried up since 1925 is currently occupied by the Agno-Leveriza government subdivision, Bank Plaza and the Manila Zoo among others, or the Estero de Concordia in Paco that is currently included in the private land title of the Manila Gas Corporation (Aboy, n. d. ). The extent of the esteros problem is indicated by the number of what are termed informal settler families (ISFs) that were deemed by the DPWH to be in urgent need of relocation before the onset of the rainy season in 2001.

Priority areas included 279 families living near or on the Estero de Valanecia, 336 on the Estero de San Miguel, 200 on the Estero de Aviles, 151 on the Estero de Santibanez, 858 on the Estero de Magdalena and 650 on the Estero de San Lazaro totalling 2,474 families and costing an estimated P208 million to relocate (DPWH, 2001). Recent estimates of ISFs living along the banks of the metropolis’s waterways are 27,300 families — or some 164,000 people (Fano, 2000: 59). Unfortunately, the construction of informal housing is not the only environmental problem related to the encroachment and gradual infilling of esteros.

Residential communities are primarily responsible for generating about half the total volume of the metropolitan area’s solid wastes. Metro Manila inhabitants disposed of 6,050 tons of garbage daily in 1995 with an annual increase estimated at 2 per cent and were generating on average 0. 71 kilograms of waste per person per day by 2000 (Ibon, 2001: 4–5). Only 71 per cent of this rubbish is collected by trucks and taken to landfill centers. The remaining 1,750 or so tons are simply left on street corners, dumped on vacant lots or thrown into storm drains, canals, creeks or rivers.

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