One fine weather day, the office of Philippine Daily Inquirer Northern Luzon Bureau assigned me to document the 1st anniversary of the deadly trash slide at the dump-site area in Barangay Irisan in Baguio City where six people died and several houses were damaged after the dump-site’s retaining walls collapse during the onslaught of typhoon “Mina”.
I went to Barangay Asin in Baguio, where the trash slide connects just down in Irisan, to document, there I saw one interesting thing placed on top of a white boulder just beside the road, a discarded rubber boot with a sayote (watery vegetable that grows on vine) seedling growing inside it.
I asked one of the resident of Asin, who had a wood-carving shop just across, if who made it or placed the rubber boot with plant in there. But the resident don’t know anything about it, he just saw it there one day. He told me that he likes the idea there then just placed some rocks around it to support its place.
Why is that plant in a boot there? Is it a commemoration of the deadly trash slide that happened a year ago? Or is it just an artistic or environmental trip? But what I remembered from this plant in a boot is a 2008 American computer-animated science fiction movie called Wall-E by Walt Disney-Pixar Animation Studios. The movie is about a feisty little rusty yellow robot called Wall-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) who was left at the polluted Earth to clean up while the human civilization leaves the planet and stayed in a massive spaceship called the Axiom out in space.
The humans leaves the polluted planet and to stay in space while a fleet of little robots cleans up the planet. The plan was to live in space for five years then going back home, but because the planet is too polluted to sustain life, they remain in the outer space longer than expected.
After seven hundred years had passed, the single remaining trash-collecting robot, Wall-E, with his feisty little cockroach pet, found a fresh seedling among tons of waste. He then took the plant then placed it on a boot then transferred it to his station. After one day, Wall-E meets a sleek high-tech white robot from the massive space ship, Axiom, who went to earth for evaluation and to seek signs of life and vegetation. The robot is called EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). To cut the story short, Wall-E and EVE went to Axiom to bring the plant to the humans as a proof that after seven hundred years the earth can now support life again and needs to be taken care of.
Now, back in the plant-in-a-boot found at the trash slide area in Barangay Asin, in reflection with the movie, we the human civilization must be responsible of taking care of our environment, our planet. We should be finding more better ways to lessen our waste and to manage our waste properly, finding more ways to prevent disasters like the deadly trash slide from Irisan dump-site that killed six people. The animation movie is a good sign for us to act responsibly before it’s too late for us to fix it. The trash slide in Irisan down to Asin is a clear example for us to be more responsible with our waste. Let’s not just rely on our government to do all the things for us and our environment, but also let’s do our part and our share on taking care of our planet.
© Richard Balonglong
***All images above are subject under copyright laws***