Coconut milk an effective home remedy for constipation

Constipation is an inconvenience that we experience at some points in our lives. Unless it is chronic, it can actually be eased with coconut milk.

coconut milk

Coconut is known to be the ‘tree of life’ for of its thousand uses. From the roots to the leaves, you will surely get something beneficial from a coconut.

Coconut milk alone has several uses. It is an effective home remedy for constipation. And, I can attest to this because I personally experienced it.

Coconut milk to the rescue

The first time I experienced a difficulty in defecating, I literally panicked. I did not know what to do. How could I have it when I drink a lot of water every day! I also made sure to eat enough fibers – or so I thought I had enough!

coconut milk

My first impulse then was to self-medicate. I bought a commercially-popular brand that was advertised on TV. Unfortunately, the product did not work for me. So, I tried another brand. And still, it was useless. I also tried gulping a small bottle of castor oil. Again, these did not ease my agony.

And then, as if on cue, I saw this coconut in our backyard. I took it and have it grated. Although I was a bit skeptical about it at first, I held on to the thought that since coconut is oily, it might help ease my problem. So, I went ahead. I squeezed out the coconut milk and drank a full glass of it!

After about an hour later, I found myself hurrying to the toilet. It was a success! My constipation problem was solved with the help of the “mighty coconut milk”.

From then on, I’ve been confidently advising friends and family who experience the same issue as mine. And they said coconut milk worked for them, too. You might as well try this effective home remedy for constipation.

You might as well try this effective home remedy for constipation.

A word of caution

Some quarters claim that coconut milk may have negative effects on your health. Three of the problems they raised include fructose malabsorption, guar gum, and Bisphenol-A (BPA). But the thing is that if your purpose of taking coconut milk is only to ease constipation, you wouldn’t be consuming it on a regular basis anyway. Nevertheless, it’s still important to be prudent in everything that concerns your health. For chronic constipation problem, you need to seek professional advice from your physician.

Biking: how does it benefit you and the environment?

The benefits of biking go beyond physical fitness. It heals the environment and cuts your expenses, too. You just have to try it to prove it.


Electronic entertainment has successfully kept children and teens sitting in one place for hours, developing in them a sense of sedentary lifestyle.

There is nothing wrong with electronic gaming for as long as it is done in moderation.  Young people should not be allowed to spend more than four hours before a television set or a computer screen. Otherwise, they run the risk of developing certain illnesses. Not to mention addiction.

As parent or guardian, you have the responsibility to regulate your child’s television watching or computer gaming habit. You can do this by devising activities that involve physical movements. Such activities should be fun, too. to motivate them more.

Biking is one activity that you may want to consider doing.

Biking is not just for the sports enthusiasts. It is for everybody. Now that obesity has become a serious problem among children and teens worldwide, we should all consider it imperative to bike regularly. Not just as a form of exercise, but also a way of life! Besides, biking is not only good for the young. It’s great for the entire family.


Benefits of biking

Biking is fun. Let’s start with the fun side of it, instead of directly saying it as a form of exercise. You see, many people dread the term “exercise”, and so they would readily shy away from it. Biking is fun when you do it with your family or loved ones. It’s a perfect bonding activity.

It opens opportunities for meeting people. When you go out biking, you get the chance of meeting new faces. So, it’s a great opportunity to build new networks of friends and, potential associates. Isn’t it great to exchange ideas with people who share similar interest? Biking on weekends and holidays allows you to meet and greet your neighbours who you may not have noticed they existed right there.

Biking reduces stress and improves productivity at work. For how could you be stressed when you’re having fun! It can also help reduce your anxiety and depression – if these were issues for you. Pedalling slowly can be an opportunity to appreciate more of the nuances of your surroundings.

Benefits to your health. Among the many advantages you can get from regular bike commuting include:

  • an increase in your blood circulation and joint mobility
  • a boost on your energy level
  • it increases your cardiovascular fitness
  • strengthens your bones and muscles, and improves its flexibility
  • improves your posture and coordination
  • reduces your body fat levels
  • helps you manage your ailment
  • increases your metabolic rate

It allows you to save on health care expenses. Since biking helps you manage your health condition, you can save a lot on medication expenses.

Biking helps you reduce weight because it burns your body fat and builds your muscles.

Frees you from traffic congestion. You will not get stuck in traffic because you are going to use the bike lanes. This is advantageous especially if you bike to work.

It saves you travel money. When you switch from car use to bike commute, you will cut a considerable amount on these aspects:

  • petrol – we all know too well how petrol prices can fluctuate anytime
  • tires
  • fluids
  • maintenance
  • washing
  • parking – this can be very frustrating and time-consuming

Biking helps minimize deforestation. Advocating a cycling culture allows you to help reduce deforestation of rubber plantations and biofuel crops. A bicycle requires only a little amount of rubber and lubricant compared with motor vehicles or cars do.

Biking is low impact on the environment. When it comes to air and noise pollution, cycling produces zero-emission.

By accurate calculations, however, biking does emit carbon dioxide. But at only 21 grams per kilometre, its emission is still way lower than that of cars and other modes of transport. An average car emits 271 grams and a bus 101 grams. This calculation includes emissions related to production, maintenance, and fuel¹.

These are but few of the many benefits of biking. You’ll realize its effects only when you have started making it a habit. So let’s start biking now to good health and a cleaner environment!


¹“CO2 emissions from cycling revealed”. 13 December 2011. Web. 7 October 2014.

Obesity in children and teens

Many cases of obesity in children and teens are actually preventable – by living a healthy lifestyle.

Junk food 2

Obesity in children and teens has dramatically increased at an alarming rate in the past few years. The World Health Organization(WHO) has identified that the greatest numbers of overweight among these age groups live in South Central Asia. While obesity cases in developed countries also doubled in recent years.

How obesity swells out

Gaining a few extra pounds does not readily makes a person obese. But once his body mass index, or BMI, is more than 30 kilograms/m², he is considered obese. BMI is computed this way: weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in metres (kg/m²). Simply put, a child can be called obese when his weight is already at least 10% higher than normal for his height and body type.

Unless the problem is genetic, obesity in children and teens are due to unhealthy lifestyle.

Unhealthy eating habits. One of the contributing factors why many poor families in developing countries have unhealthy eating habits is that they are not aware or they lack proper knowledge regarding sound approaches to nutrition. They are passive targets of aggressive marketing of high-fat, energy-dense, high salt and sugar foods, and laboratory-concocted beverages.

Affordability and scarcity of healthy foods in their locality are other major issues that these families have to deal with, leaving them with no choice but to resort to cheap ‘junk’ foods. Likewise, it’s a common cultural belief in many rural areas that ‘a fat baby is a healthy baby’. That’s why they are inclined to overfeed their children.

Junk foods

Sedentary lifestyle or lack of physical activity. Electronic games and a wide selection of television shows have efficiently kept children and teens glued to their seats before a screen for long hours. And this is a common problem in both developed and developing countries. Many children in highly urbanized centres, where space at home is limited, tend to just resort to passive television viewing and video games play than go out and get involved in active games.

How to manage weight  

Unless these two glaring issues were addressed properly, we will continue counting more overweight and obese in the next generations.

First and foremost, you have to consult with your family doctor to determine the cause of obesity in you child. If genetics is not an issue, then the next thing to do is to find ways to improve your child’s weight problem.

Of course, the obvious resolution is to minimize intake (not starve) of high-calorie foods, and to be conscious about nutrition content in the food your child takes. It’s important that your child or teen has the moral support of the entire family as he goes through the process of getting rid of obesity.

You should also encourage your child to play with other children outdoors. Or, you can go out together as a family and get involved in some physical activities like biking, or bouncing at public trampoline park.

Obesity in children and teens is indeed a major problem that needs to be addressed before complications and serious health conditions occur.

Kamote: a “poor man’s diet”?

Sweet potato, or kamote (camote) in the Philippines, may be considered the “poor man’s diet” in developing nations because it is the cheapest and readily available staples among many poor farmers.  But little do many of us know – including me, of course – that kamote is very rich in vitamins and minerals.

Our body has its own way of communicating what it needs.  It may not be in the language that we know of but it speaks to us nonetheless.  Oftentimes, though, we fail to listen or we simply choose to ignore the pains and longing of our bodies to attend to the “more pressing issues” or we’re just too preoccupied with “busyness in everything and anything”. We tend to slow down only when we get (seriously) ill and can no longer function the way we want our body to. This time it could be too late! This could now be the time of regretting what we should have or have not done!  We might just find ourselves uttering words, such as:

“I wish I did….”

“If only I could…”

“I should have…”

Uncooked kamote
Uncooked kamote

Some years ago, a close friend told me to always listen to what my body has to say because it does not lie.  I didn’t pay much attention to it, though.

Lately, I got tired easily and find it difficult to concentrate on my work. No matter how I got myself to write, I seemed to have run out of ideas. In a sense, I was sort of suffering from brain drain!

At the same time, I was craving for boiled sweet potatoes (Kamote or camote in our dialect). And so, remembering the advice, I decided to buy some kamote from the nearby market, and cooked all one kilo of it. Funny but after some helping, I felt recharged and eager to hit the keyboard and write again.

Curious, I decided to check on the internet what could I have been missing – nutrition-wise. I found out that the humble kamote, which is sometimes called a “poor man’s diet”, is packed with powerful nutrients. And probably, I must have been lacking much, if not all, of these wonderful kamote health benefits:

That, it is a good source of vitamin C.  As we all know, vitamin C promotes digestion, blood cell formation and healing of wounds; protects us from cold and flu viruses as well as from toxins associated with cancer; facilitates in bone and tooth formation; produces collagen for healthy and youthful skin, and; helps us cope with stress.  Apparently, it was stress that kept me slow.

That Kamote is rich in vitamin B6, which is essential in reducing homocysteine in the body.  Homocysteine is a chemical said to be associated with degenerative disease.

That it contains vitamin D which plays a very important role in our immune system and general health.  Vitamin D boosts our energy levels, moods, as well as promotes healthy bones, nerves, heart, skin, and teeth.  Now, I know why I did not have much energy lately.

That it is great source of manganese. Manganese plays a very important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates useful in promoting healthy blood sugar levels.  This trace mineral in kamote stabilizes glucose levels by increasing adinopectin, a significant element in insulin metabolism.  And since kamote has a glycemic index of 50, it is considered a diabetic food.  I thank God I’m not diabetic, and I pray the humble kamote helps in protecting me from acquiring the disease, which has already claimed the life of my elder sister.

That it is a most potent anti-oxidant.  Kamote contains high level of vitamin A or beta-carotene, even higher than that of carrots. Vitamin A, as we all know, is an important anti-oxidant that helps prevent different types of cancer, and protects our skin from the harmful effects of the sun as it deflects and repair cell damage caused by too much exposure to UV rays, shielding us against premature aging. Beta-carotene in the body is converted into vitamin A (retinol), for good eye health and good vision, strong immune system, as well as glowing skin and mucous membranes.  Oh, I need this for my eyes.

That kamote is high in other vitamins, such as: vitamins B2, and E; as well as in minerals like copper, potassium, and iron.

Being one of the essential electrolytes that regulates heartbeat and nerve functions, potassium helps relax muscle contractions, minimizes swelling, and protects and controls the activity of the kidneys.

Iron, on the other hand, plays a crucial role in the production of red and white blood cells, fortifies the body against stress, and promotes metabolism and healthy immune system.

The magnesium content in kamote helps fight stress, allowing the body to relax.  It also promotes healthy bones, heart, blood, muscles, arteries, and nerves.

That kamote is rich in dietary fiber and less in fat content.  A medium size kamote is packed with 26 grams of carbohydrates, of which 3.8 grams are dietary fiber that helps minimize bad cholesterol and eases bowel movement.

That kamote is an effective detoxifying agent.  Kamote absorbs heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, and mercury that can build up in the body through consumption of commercially-processed foods, and effectively flushes them out of your system.

After knowing all the kamote health benefits, I now can’t seem to understand why it bears a connotation of a “poor man’s diet”.  Being the cheapest in terms of market value does not have to be of poor quality.

Boiled kamote
Boiled kamote

Kamote is even the best rice substitute.  I was just thinking that if we, in the Philippines, would make it a habit to make kamote a part of our daily diet, we could reduce the risk of getting diabetic, and we probably resolve the issues of rice smuggling and shortage of rice supply.  And eventually, eradicate the corrupt practices surrounding this “rice issues” in the country.

Coconut oil: effective prevention of hair fall

Coconut oil is, perhaps, the most useful product Nature has ever produced.  From dessert toppings, to floor wax, to natural healer, and even to beauty treatment: name it, and this mighty coconut oil has probably something to contribute.

Coconut oil

In my previous post, What Lies Beneath Hair Loss?, I mentioned some possible causes of hair fall or hair loss. Now, it’s time to talk about how to treat such problem the natural way.

Even as it is important to seek medical advice on your condition, you can also turn to natural methods on treating you hair fall problem.  I particularly recommend the use of coconut oil as one of the best remedies to prevent hair fall and to promote its growth. Aside from being cheap and natural compared with the laboratory-concocted treatments, coconut oil is packed with these essential properties, such as:

Lauric acid.  This is a medium-chain fatty acid that protects the roots of your hair and prevents it from breakage. Studies reveal that coconut oil has the ability to reduce and prevent loss of hair protein more effectively than what sunflower and mineral oils do. Coconut oil is the richest source of lauric acid, containing around fifty percent of the substance.  To ensure your scalp is free of dandruff, split ends, lice and lice eggs, make it a habit to massage your head with coconut oil from time to time.

Antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Aside from lauric acid, coconut oil also contains two other fatty acids – caprylic, and capric acids – that are known to work against fungi. Meanwhile, its monolaurin component has an antibacterial property that effectively fights against bugs.  All these properties of the coconut oil are powerful against dandruff and lice, two of the contributing factors that hinder hair growth. Studies have proven that coconut oil works effectively as a natural treatment of head lice.

Essential nutrients.  Coconut oil is proven to be an effective source of vitamins E, K, and iron, which are essential for maintaining luster and softness of your hair.  Again, vitamin E works effectively against dandruff.

Moisturizer.  With regular application of coconut oil, you can expect to have a strong and moisturized hair because the oil penetrates into your hair shaft and conditions your mane from the inside. At the same time, it protects your hair follicles from heat and harsh weather conditions.

Promotes better blood circulation. By massaging your scalp with coconut oil you significantly promote blood circulation and consequently allow essential nutrients and oxygen into your hair follicles; thus, making it healthy.

How to apply coconut oil on hair

Depending on your personal preference, you may apply coconut oil either before or after washing your hair. Personally, I do it at least 30 minutes before shampooing.  For those of you who have slightly wavy (like mine), or straight hair, I suggest that you treat your hair with coconut oil before washing it.

But if you have rather thick or curly mane, you may apply the coconut oil either before or after washing it.  Don’t worry about getting greasy-looking hair because curly hair tends to absorb oil quickly, so you would not end up with too sticky-shiny hair.  Be aware, however, that some types of hair, particularly the protein-sensitive, do not fare well to post-wash oil treatment.  You better consult your doctor on this first.

Some people ask whether it is more effective to heat the coconut oil first before applying or just have it at room temperature. Basically, it produces the same effects.  However, since coconut oil can coagulate in lower room temperature, it makes sense to have it warmed a bit before using.  Be sure, though, to not heat it too much as it can damage your scalp.

Coconut oil application before shampooing. Apply a generous amount of coconut oil onto your scalp  and gently massage it in circular motion for at least five minutes.  Give particular attention to your hair strands. Leave the oil on your hair for at least 30 minutes. If your hair fall problem is severe or if your concern is hair breakage, you may let the oil on for two to four hours.  Then, wash your hair off with regular shampoo.

Oil application after shampooing. If your problem is more on dry hair or split-ends, apply a little amount of coconut oil two to three inches towards the tip of your hair. But wait until your hair has completely dried out before applying.  The oil will be quickly absorbed by your hair and makes a protective coat around the hair strands.

What lies beneath hair loss?

People tend to panic when they experience hair loss.  After all, hair is a reflection of our identity. It is even, almost always, associated with self-esteem.  For women, it’s also a symbol of femininity.  

Hair fall

I once heard a breast cancer survivor who said that the chemotherapy sessions she had did not scare her much more than the thought of losing her hair.  And, she was talking about hair falling out in clumps.

While it is normal to shed around 50 to a hundred strands of hair each day, seeing one’s hair thinning or going partially into baldness can be a frightening situation for many, if not most, women. But don’t fret yet if you are shedding more than 100 strands because dermatologists also say that a normal person can shed up to 250 strands when hair is washed.  But they do not, however, advise that you should not wash your hair at all because it will eventually fall, anyway.

Women are almost as likely to lose hair as men do; although, it can seem to be more prominent in men. Normally, women would notice the problem in their 50s or 60s, but it can happen to younger women, too, for a variety of reasons.

One of these reasons is chemical or medical treatment for an ailment. Women can suffer hair fall after childbirth, during or after menopause, when exposed to nuclear radiation, having nutritional deficiency, stress, or due to other factors.

Hair fall after childbirth is a common occurrence because of women’s hormonal changes after pregnancy.  This temporary problem usually happens around three months after delivery and should return to normal condition within six to twelve months.

Meanwhile, women in their menopausal period may experience hair loss as their estrogen levels drop and other hormones, such as the dihydrotestosterone (DHT), get imbalanced, consequently affecting hair growth.

Other women may also suffer from hair loss due to their exposure to X-rays, nuclear radiation, anti-cancer treatments, insufficient nutrition, pneumonia, typhoid fever, flu, or stress.  Yes, stress can be associated with hair loss.  But this do not necessarily have to be permanent if and when you keep your stress level under control.

There are at least three types of hair loss that can be directly linked to high stress levels, namely: alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, and trichotillomania.

Alopecia areata is an acquired skin condition that involves white blood cells attacking the hair follicle, consequently causing hair to fall out and preventing it to grow. Although, some findings trace that this disease can be inherited from ancestors, alopecia areata may be due to severe stress, abnormality in the immune system, and other factors.

Telogen effluvium is a scalp disorder marked by diffuse hair shedding, resulting from emotional or physical stress.  Hair may fall out suddenly by just combing or washing your hair.  However, if promptly tended to, you can recover naturally within six months.

Trichotillomania is rather a mental disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows, or other areas of the body.  It is more common in adult women and among children, who have to deal with negative or uncomfortable feeling, such as anxiety, tension, stress, fatigue, frustration, or loneliness.

If you notice that you are shedding more strands of hair than normal, make sure to consult with your doctor. It might be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs medical attention.  But you can already start using natural or home remedies to prevent your hair from further falling out. Among the best remedies for hair fall is the use of coconut oil.

Climate change is not just a concern of a few or confined to certain regions of the Earth. Rather, it is a serious threat that affects all mankind.  Each of us, citizens of the Earth, has contributed to the accumulation of carbon footprints.  And so, let us do something to restore and repair the damage that you and I have caused.  Let’s start from home and our immediate surroundings by at least minimizing our waste.

When we speak of waste, we refer to those materials that have lost their values in our lives and have no more economic values.  In other words, they are the things that we most likely would want to discard.

There are actually different types of waste, namely: bio-medical waste, hazardous waste, special hazardous waste.

Biomedical waste are those trash resulting from clinical activities, such as from the medical, dental, nursing, pharmaceutical, skin penetration, and other similar enterprises.

Hazardous waste, meanwhile, refers to trash that poses threat to human health and the environment.

I am rather interested to talk about municipal waste because it is something that you and I commonly produce everyday at home.

Minding the 3Rs: Recycle, Re-use, and Reduce  

Municipal waste includes our household trash , commercial garbage, and demolition junk. I seriously urge everyone to participate in managing our household waste by recycling materials, and re-using those things that can still be utilized for other purposes in order that we may reduce the amount of garbage at landfills.

Many of us may be wondering just how biodegradable or non-biodegradable are the products we commonly use at home.  For this reason, I decided to share what researchers have discovered regarding the decomposition time of the products we use everyday.

Plastic bags
Plastic bags: 200 to 1,000 years
Monofilament fishing line
Monofilament fishing line: 600 years
Disposable diapers: 550 years
Aluminum cans
Aluminum cans: 200 to 500 years
Plastic bottles
Plastic bottles: 450 years
Plastic containers: 50 to 80 years
Rubber-boot soles
Rubber-boot soles: 50 to 80 years
Foamed plastic cups
Foamed plastic cups: 50 years
Tinned steel cans
Tinned steel cans: 50 years
Leather shoes
Leather shoes: 25 to 40 years
Cigarette butts
Cigarette butts: 10 to 12 years
Milk cartons
Milk cartons: 5 years
Wool socks
Wool socks: 1 to 5 years
Plywood: 1 to 3 years
Orange peels
Orange peels:  6 months
Cotton gloves
Cotton gloves: 3 months
Cardboard: 2 months
Apple core
Apple core: 2 months
Newspapers: 1.5 months
Paper bags: 1 month
Banana peels
Banana peels: 3 to 4 weeks
Paper towels
Paper towels: 2 to 4 weeks

Plastic bags, the commonest and most ubiquitous items in every household, are very popular among consumers and retailers because they are cheap, strong, functional, lightweight, and convenient to carry. But beyond its usefulness is its apparent danger and threat to human health, other living organisms, and the environment.  Since these materials take a very long time to decompose (in fact, we don’t get to live long enough to witness its decomposition), plastics tend to pile up in landfills once they are used.

Each year, an alarmingly increasing number of used plastic bags find their way into parks, streets, beaches, waterways, and finally, into oceans.  Some people even try to get rid of these plastic bags by burning them, consequently infusing toxic fumes into the atmosphere.  

Studies show that plastic bags that get to the oceans are responsible for killing around 100,000 animals such as dolphins, whales, turtles, other fishes, and penguins every year through suffocation and ingestion, as they mistake these materials for food.  It was even found that the ingested plastic bags remain intact inside the animal’s body even when the latter has long died and decomposed. Besides, production of plastic bags requires around 60 to 100 million barrels of oil each year.

Oil and other petroleum products are non-renewable resources and they are already alarmingly diminishing and costly by the day. Therefore, it is now imperative – and I’m urging everyone – to minimize our use of these non-biodegradable containers.  While governments and some shop owners have implemented a ban on the use of plastic bags, we, as individual consumers, can also do our share of reducing the amount of plastic bags in landfills and saving our environment by using environmentally friendly alternative packets.

Let’s start making it a habit to bring along a tote bag or eco-green bag each time we buy our groceries and other goods. Did you know that an environmentally friendly bag can be reused for more than a hundred times?  That means a lot to help reduce the amount of plastic bags in landfills.

Waste management: it’s everybody’s concern

Waste management should be a concerted effort of each and every member of a community, and not a responsibility of the local government alone.  For everyone is responsible in messing up with Nature.  In Iligan City,  it seems extremely difficult to enforce a waste management program because of the divisive political views of both those in power and the constituents.

Sendong IliganIligan City in the southern part of the Philippines was one of the hardest hit by typhoon “Sendong” (international name, Washi) that triggered a flash flood and landslide in the area, and claimed over a thousand lives on December 17, 2011.  The tragedy was blamed heavily on illegal logging, improper waste disposal, and other natural disaster-causing elements. Because of this, the newly-elected local government officials are trying to implement a waste management program to prevent the tragedy from happening again.  But sadly, many are skeptical, and even adamant, about the proposed project initiated by the city’s newly-elected mayor.

When politics gets the upper hand

The new mayor, retired Col. Celso Regencia, pointed out in his electoral campaign earlier that garbage has always been one of the major problems in Iligan City, and (as usual) promised that he would do something about it if elected.  And true to his promise, he issued an Executive Order regarding the collection and proper disposal of garbage, which took effect on September 1, 2013.

But the problem is: his Councilors and even the vice mayor are adamant about implementing the Executive Order, citing too many reasons and issues – from lack of funds to communication problem to the grassroots level. Other related issues also propped up, most salient of which is funding that has been misused by the previous administration.  Even as government officials squabble over the Executive Order issue, constituents are also divided on who to follow.  And this is why up until the present, Iligan City is yet to see a properly implemented waste management program.

I recall, in the early morning following the flood, I saw for myself the tons of garbage strewn all over most parts of the city – plastic, bottles, all sorts of wrappers and packaging materials, enormous logs, appliances, etc… – not to mention the lifeless bodies of both animals and humans – you can find it anywhere!  It was indeed a horror to witness the effects of people’s indifference to the environment.  Being an environmentalist, it created a profound impact on me. I could only utter, ‘I wish you all learn from this’ at the time.

The tragedy also created a sort of realization among government authorities and the people of Iligan, in general.  They became fierce about stopping illegal logging and bringing to book those responsible for it, rebuilding their homes and lives, and a bit of concern about waste disposal.  But unfortunately, though, the impetus I saw right after the storm has gradually died down.

And, the Executive Order?  I don’t know anymore what has become of it!  I think it’s now in the back burner again as the government officials continue to squabble over matters that might threaten their political standing among their constituents. What about the supposedly massive information drive about garbage disposal?

I’ve witnessed how a significant number of homeowners are either not keen about segregation as they see it as an additional task, or simply they are not aware of the essence of the proper disposal of garbage.  I was appalled by a resident’s comment when I asked her opinion about garbage segregation.  Without batting an eyelash she said, “Ah, I have no time for such thing, I would rather find other ways to dispose of my garbage than doing that time-consuming segregation.”

Obviously, the city government has still a very long way to make this Executive Order successful. First and foremost, politics has to be set aside.  Second, it needs the active participation of all its residents.  And, to get them involved in this important endeavor, the people must thoroughly understand the essence of waste management.

This leads me, then, to write this blog, hoping to help in the dissemination of the importance of proper disposal of common household trash.  And I am not addressing this only to the people of Iligan City but to all citizens of the world.

Why should we dispose of our trash properly?

Plastic, styrofoam, used electronic devices, and other waste materials strewn anywhere or thrust into rivers, streams, and other waterways can hamper the flow of water into its final destination.  The accumulated water will then find other course and overflow into the streets and other areas where it is not supposed to get into.  Besides, our trash serves as breeding ground for germs and insects, eventually causing the spread of several diseases.

Many of our household wastes are poisonous, and when discarded improperly, it may cause contamination and even death of people and other living organisms.

How to dispose of your household waste?

Segregation 2Segregate.  Separate your household waste according to biodegradable (nabubulok in Tagalog, malata in Cebuano or Bisaya); non-biodegradable (hindi nabubulok, or dili malata), and toxic waste, like used batteries. Assign a particular container, with color codes if necessary, for each category. Some localities assign Green for biodegradable materials, Yellow for Non-biodegradable, and Black for toxic wastes.  

Make a compost pit.  If you live in the rural area, or if your surrounding allows for it, make a compost pit where you can dump your biodegradable wastes.  By doing so, you will be generating fertilizer out of your unwanted items. Besides, composting our food scraps, paper, wood, waste, and yard trimmings, can tremendously cut down on the amount of garbage that would otherwise sit on landfills, serving as fodder for disease-carrying insects and rodents.

Recycle, Reuse and Reduce.  We can greatly help our environment if we make it a habit to recycle, reuse, and reduce household trash.  These are the key elements in which we can considerably minimize our production of waste.  Read Going Green Starts at Home for some helpful tips in reducing your impact on the environment.

Install a garburator.  Another way of eliminating food waste at home is by installing a garburator or garbage disposal unit under your sink. Here is how it works.

The average cost of a 1/3 horsepower-motor residential garbage disposal unit is usually around Php 2,200 to Php 5,000, depending on where you purchase it.  Nevertheless, it is important to shop around first for the appropriate unit that best suits your requirements. Beware, though, of the cheapest garburator; it might not perform the way you want it to be.

Cooperate.  Proper waste management is not a sole responsibility of the government or your barangay officials. Each person, young and old, who belongs to a certain community is responsible for maintaining cleanliness in his own area.  Let not politics, which seems to have eaten much of the fabric of development, get in the way to a cleaner Iligan City. What the community needs now is  political will to move forward!

Again, if only we strongly WILL to resolve the garbage issue and its consequential problems, we CAN actually materialize a cleaner environment and a healthier lifestyle – and we would be surprised to know that there are several ways to accomplish it! But, if we remain unwilling and passive, we will forever cling to nasty excuses!

Admittedly though, waste management is a legally, technically, and commercially complex system, not to mention initially expensive.  The local authorities, has to set specific dump sites for all the wastes, define a systematic way of collecting garbage, and spend for recycling facilities, to name a few.  But these should not stop us from doing our part as citizens of the earth and in our own locality.

As the saying goes, “Improvement begins with I, not Y”.  So, let’s get moving!  Besides, we don’t want to have a repeat of Sendong, Pablo, Ondoy, or Yolanda, do we?

First Option: Reduce Waste at Home

Even as we consciously make an effort to dispose of our garbage properly, we should also make it our primary concern to minimize our waste.  This way, we not only reduce our carbon footprints, but we also cut down on our expenses and bills.  Here are some helpful ideas that you might want to consider.

  • When buying new products, try to choose the better quality or more durable items, instead of opting for the cheaply-made or disposable ones.  The seemingly ‘high price’ you pay for the item will actually give you your money’s worth as you get to use the product for a longer period.
  • See if your old or broken items can still be repaired or restored before deciding to replace them.
  • Purchase products that can be reused for a long time.  For example, it is more practical to buy china or enamel crockery than paper plates and bowls.  It is also way better to pack your children’s school lunches in reusable containers with cover.
  • Buy products packed in recyclable containers, such as beverages in returnable bottles or packaging.
  • Buy your consumable goods in bulk to avoid unnecessary or excess packaging.
  • If you have some unwanted items in your home, you may give it to someone who might need it, or you may sell, or donate it.
  • If you need to purchase paints, pesticides, or other chemical-based materials, make sure to get just enough amount you need; otherwise, share the leftover with your neighbor or other people. This way, you are able to reduce toxic waste at home.

These are but a handful of many ways to reduce household wastes.  For sure, you also have your own ideas to share.  And, as we make this a daily habit, there’s no doubt that we will still discover more options to better manage our household trash.

Clean water is not everywhere

Water may be a renewable resource as it replenishes itself through rain. But we should bear in mind that only 3 percent of it is fresh, and only a third of this amount is potable. The rest of the Earth’s water is part of the ice caps and glaciers.  Over 700 million people in the world, especially those in populous states, don’t have access to improve water source.  Thus, it is imperative for all of us citizens in the world to be frugal in our use of water.

water 3
Water, sanitation, and hygiene-related diseases claim more than 3 million lives each year, 99% of whom are from the developing countries.

You don’t want to wake up one morning with this kind of water to wash your face with, let alone drink, do you?  

I’m not being grim here, but this can happen to us. Reality is that, at present, 780 million people in the world are already suffering from lack of access to potable water, which translates to a ratio of one in seven persons is deprived of it.

It is true that water is a renewable resource; but we should also take note that this basic life support is finite! Of the earth’s water resource, only 3 percent of it is fresh, the rest is salt water found in the ocean and seas, locked up in glaciers and constant snow cover. . Of this 3 percent fresh water, only a third is fit for drinking.  Research findings also show that water scarcity even occurs in areas that receive plenty of rainfall or freshwater. 

Here are more horrible facts related to world’s water condition:

  • Almost 4 million people die each year due to water-related water ailments, unsanitary conditions, and hygiene-related diseases. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths happen in developing countries.
  • In Africa alone, diarrhea kills five to ten times more people than war.
women carry water
Women and children in developing countries spend around 200 million hours a day fetching water from distant sources.Diarrhea is more widespread in developing countries because of their inadequate supply of clean drinking water and sanitation, aside from lack of access to life-saving treatment, hygiene, and nutritional condition.
  • Diarrhea claims a child’s life every 21 seconds.  Studies show that the disease is the second leading cause of death among children five years old and below. Because of inadequate access to fresh water source and sanitation, children’s death rate is equivalent to that of a jet airliner crashing every four hours.
  • Around 2.5 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation facilities or toilets, and around 1.2 billion of whom still resort to open defecation.
  • Contaminated drinking water, and poor sanitation and hygiene attribute to 88 percent of global cases of diarrhea.
  • An average toilet uses 8 liters of clean water in just one flush.
  • Studies made in 45 developing countries reveal that women and children bear the burden of collecting water for drinking, washing, cooking, cleaning, and other uses in the household.  Most often, they have to travel an average of 3.7 miles (around 5.96 kilometers)  and spend untold hours daily waiting for their turn to collect water, often from polluted sources, and return home with around 40-pound jerry cans on their backs. Because of this responsibility, millions of them have to forego school or education, locking them in a cycle of poverty and unemployment. When the women get old, the girls have to carry on this task to provide such basic necessity for their respective families.
  • Around half of the world’s schools do not have clean water supply.
  • A simple washing of hands can significantly reduce the chance of diarrhea by around 35 percent.

Given these facts, what then should we do to solve and/or avoid potable water crisis?

As much as it is the duty of the local government to provide the community with water system and safeguard its quality, local residents must also cooperate in such an effort.

Protect the water supply.  Reduce or keep bacteria and other disease-causing organisms, nitrates, or synthetic organic chemicals from coming into your water sources by protecting your well or watershed.  In constructing your local well,  make sure that the ground around it slopes away so that rain and runoff water will not get into it.  Never allow surface water to flow down into the well.

Avoid and/or remove sources of contamination. Do not use pipes, fitting, and other fixtures that contain lead and other hazardous chemical compounds.  Keep your water sources away from possible sources of contamination, like industrial facilities, livestock holding areas, septic systems and sewage force mains, and underground storage tanks.

Apply water treatment.  To maintain a safe drinking water supply, you must treat your water regularly to eliminate bacteria and remove hard water and other mineral deposits. There is no single water treatment system, though, that can totally eliminate bacteria, but you can choose one that provides the advantages you want.

Develop new water supply.  Should you discover that your existing water supply is already contaminated by nitrate, fuel, pesticide, salt, or other organic chemicals, it is best recommended that you start developing a new source, or purchase from an existing water system.  Such move, though, requires assessment by geologists, engineers, and other professionals in the field to ensure that your new supply is safe and protected.

But above all these measures, we should do our personal share of water conservation at home.



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