Sanitation in the Philippines
Lets explore the problem of sanitation in the Philippines.
It is easy for 'foreigners' to be critical, but we need to 'think different'. The problems surrounding sanitation is very complicated. For one thing, the water table is high. The ground is saturated in most places. There are so many 'squatters' that live in make shift houses with no plumbing that the water-ways make the easiest and quickest fix for waste deposit. Mother Nature picks it up, carries it off and disposes of it in the ocean. The ocean has its own way of decomposing and cleaning.
This method has worked well for many many generations... until the population reached saturation point.
Now Mother Nature is tired. She is over worked, over polluted, over used.
Tired Mother Nature
One of the greatest health concerns all over the world is sanitation and waste management. Human waste, both sewage and garbage breeds disease, which spells health disaster. The last I heard, one child dies every 15 seconds from to contaminated water around the world. That is not the case here.
The Filipinos have long lived with Mother Nature taking care of their every need. They seem to appreciate and enjoy the beauties of their surroundings. They have lived in harmony here, proving mankind is capable of a kinder existence.
That being said... the Filipino now finds themselves in a dilemma. The rivers and streams have become so contaminated with human waist that they are no longer able to keep up with the demand for clean water. Hep is rampant. LBS is a standing joke here. ---But where isn't it?? Even in the US we have come to realize we have to be careful, wash our hands, and use hand sanitizer. Public schools and colleges are requiring all students to have Hep B shots to prevent infection. Germs and disease is just part of our lives in today's world.
It's A BIG Problem All Over The World
Do the Filipinos have a big problem? Yes. But not nearly as big a problem as a lot of 3rd World countries. They are a clean people. Even in the squatter areas they do the best they can. The ocean, their habits, and Mother Nature have kept them healthier than most undeveloped countries. For a third world country, they are amazing.
I wouldn't even call them 3rd World. 2nd World (is there such a catagory?) probably. Their clothes are clean, they bath often, even if it is in a pipe coming out of the mountain, and they sweep and clean. Like I said before, where are the mosquitoes, the flies, the rats that feed on garbage. I am amazed at the areas.
I don't know what they can do. I know some complain that the Government needs to do more... that the Government is corrupt... and I don't know about any of that. I understand here in Ormoc, the government does have a program to encourage people to dig a septic tank for themselves and they will be given a free 'bowl'. I picture this something like building yourself an outhouse, and the government will provide 'the throne' to sit on. I'm not sure, and I haven't checked it out, but it does show 'the government' is working on the problem. Pretty good idea. My problem with this solution is, the ground is so full of water that the sewage will just seep back in to the streams before Mother Nature has the chance to purify it.
Big Problem. Does “we all live downstream' ring a bell with any of you?
So, I do know until the infrastructure for sewage systems are in place, which will be a long time out, people will have to do what they can on their own. There are solutions that people, individually can do.
Have you heard of peepoo bags? I am not sure I would want to use them. And there still is the problem with the need for a designated area for disposal, but it is worth thinking about.
Catholic Relief Services has partnered with Peepoople in other parts of the world in an effort to combat this ever-growing problem. It is really facinating when you get in to it.
If any of you are gardeners and are into composing, this may have a ring of solution to a hard problem. I think I will have to do a whole Hub on this product. It is an interesting concept.
These peepoo bags are bio degradable, render the fesses harmless and makes for healthy fertilizer! I was fascinated with the concept. It would take a huge educational effort to get people to to really use them, but I think it is a concept that could be worked with.
So... from a foreigner's new prospective, I think the Filipinos are doing a what they can with what they have for the moment.
- They are careful with where they urinate, they clean up after themselves, and they keep it away from where people would walk, live or sit.
- I feel clean and safe here as long as I keep my hand sanitizer close. ---Something I have to do in the good ole US of A as well. And yes, I don't drink the water here unless it has been filtered. And, no, I have not been sick from the water even once since being here.
The other thing I find is that the people here are very considerate of my 'foreigner's stomach' and do all they can to keep me safe from LBS (Lose Bowel Syndrom) or anything else that may be a danger to my fragile, sensitive digestive system.
Did I mention how much I love and admire the Filipino people?
Next I will write about the traffic. Here too, you will find my perspective of driving has dramaticly changed.