16 September 2018, Quezon City. A waste and pollution watch group today released a set of ecological and precautionary tips as tens of thousands of families clean up the damage caused by typhoon Ompong that battered Luzon and affected other regions with enhanced habagat rains.
“Cleaning up after a storm has passed is no easy task. Depending on the extent of Ompong’s impact on your home, cleaning chores can be daunting and dangerous, too,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“To encourage families to clean up in a way that will not exacerbate the garbage disposal problem in affected communities, we have gathered some tips, which, if carried out, will cut waste and toxic exposure, protect human health, as well as conserve resources,” he added.
For his part, community leader Noli Abinales emphasized that “consciously avoiding the generation of more garbage during cleanup efforts will reduce the volume of rubbish sent to disposal sites such as dumps and landfills, which sadly are often located in environmentally critical areas, including watershed.” Abinales is adviser to Buklod Tao, a community organization based in disaster-prone San Mateo, Rizal and a board member of the EcoWaste Coalition.
The following 13 eco-tips, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed, is not an exhaustive list as the group urged Ompong-impacted families to observe other safety precautions as they tidy up the mess left by the typhoon.
- Wear protective gloves and boots while cleaning up as a protection against animal bites, bruises, cuts, and water-borne diseases such as leptospirosis.
- Use “free” water such as rainwater and grey water from laundry tubs, washing machines, showers and sinks to remove silt left behind after the flooding, scrub with soap and water, and then rinse thoroughly.
- Use natural cleaning products such as vinegar and water solution to remove dirt and grime from floors, walls, kitchen and toilet.
- Wipe glass windows clean using a damp newspaper (considered a “brown composting material”), which can be shredded after use for composting. If needed, create a homemade non-toxic glass cleaner made out of vinegar and water.
- Clean furniture and other stuff that have been submerged in floodwater with hot soapy water and let them dry under the sun.
- Fix and reuse flood-soaked furnishings and other typhoon-affected items including blown-off roofing materials.
- Create non-toxic disinfectant for things contaminated by floodwater by mixing equal amounts of white vinegar and water. The mixture can be placed on a spray bottle for easy application.
- Wash flood-drenched clothes and linens separately from uncontaminated ones.
- Reduce the volume of post-typhoon discards requiring disposal by safely repairing, reusing, repurposing and recycling them as much as possible; clean and use salvaged and reclaimed materials.
- Refrain from burning or dumping fallen leaves and twigs and other biodegradable debris, and compost them instead.
- Do not mix mercury-containing busted lamps and other hazardous items, including broken TVs and other e-wastes, with regular household discards as such wastes require special handling and disposal due to their toxic content.
- Remove all trash that can collect and hold water where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
- If so required, give damaged parts of your home a fresh coat of certified lead-safe paint.