I left the bike at home today and traveled to the Inawayan landfill in Cebu. This post goes out to one of my inspirations named S.E. Lottie who I once hassled for visiting a landfill in Manila. So you should never hassle, or judge, else you might just find yourself interested in visiting landfills one day. God help you.
There is one big difference between waste in developed and developing countries and that is visibility. Many landfills in the Philippines are really just dumpsites so it’s possible to see the extent of muck and waste we create. It makes me reflect on how little of the planet we are leaving for future generations to use. How throwaway our society is.
At Inawayan I met with Dann diez one of the founders of the lets do it movement in the Philippines with a huge network of volunteers involved in cleaning up the country.
Dann showed me how the rivers surrounding Inawayan flow directly into the ocean and how these rivers can become big trash conveyor belts when there is heavy rain flowing into the ocean.
So we’re using heaps of the environment to make our waste, then we’re ruining our environment by improper disposal. That doesn’t seem that smart. We won’t start on the topic of waste to energy yet. But for me I can’t see this being a good solution. Maybe it will reduce ocean plastic and make streets cleaner but it won’t deal with any of the broader environmental challenges we face.
But there is hope. Individuals are finding ways to live a zero waste and plastic free life. Kudos to The Rogue Ginger, The Non Plastic Maori, Sarah Tait, Beth Terry, and many others who manage to live without plastic. Follow their blogs for ideas on how to do the same. Smart businesses like Ethique are creating products with no waste and others like The Green Collective are helping us with some great eco-bags to take to the market. The circular economy is growing. There is a growing realisation that excessive consumption doesn’t bring happiness. And we’ll leave it there, on a note of hope.