With the use of “habal-habal,” the Department of Environment and Natural Resource will try to solve garbage collection woes in estero communities in Metro Manila.
Secretary Roy Cimatu said they have found an innovative solution to trash collection problems in estero communities along the Tullahan-Tinajeros River System by using its own version of the “lowly yet dependable habal-habal.” The habal-habal will be used to collect garbage from estero communities that are not reached by dump trucks and whose uncollected trash eventually ends up in Manila Bay.
Dubbed as the “poor man’s motorcycle taxi,” a habal-habal is a highly improvised two-wheeled single motorcycle usually ridden beyond its passenger capacity.
The agency has its own version of the utility vehicle that uses an eco-friendly bicycle with automatic foot break and a two-by-three feet sidecar, allowing it to carry household waste.
Citing a recent DENR study, Cimatu said that garbage generated by estero communities with narrow streets or alleys are not regularly collected since these areas are not accessible to dump trucks.
“The accumulated uncollected wastes do not only pose health risks to the communities, but also clog canals, causing flooding in these areas. Uncollected garbage also ends up in coastlines and waters of Manila Bay,” he said.
The DENR chief is the chairperson of the Manila Bay Task Force.
“Tough problems involving the presence of informal settlers directly dumping to the esteros, non-compliance of industries with discharge permitting regulations and lack of sewage management system are also being addressed under the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program,” he said.
Cimatu added that they will be distributing habal-habal units on Sept. 19 to 10 barangays within the Tullahan-Tinajeros River system, which have a relatively high number of informal settler families and with areas that are hard to reach by garbage collection trucks.
He identified these areas as barangays 160, 162 and 163 in Caloocan City; Potrero, Catmon, Tinajeros and Maysilo in Malabon City; Ugong and Marulas in Valenzuela City, and Sta. Lucia in Quezon City.
The turnover ceremony forms part of the local celebration of the International Coastal Cleanup Day, with the theme “Safe Oceans Start at Homes.”
The Tullahan-Tinajeros River System measures 36.4 kilometers, spanning 44 barangays, covering the cities of Quezon, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Malabon and Navotas.