by Gabriel M. Delfin
I like to walk around in our streets, and roads. Why? I breathe techni-colored air, black, white, a combination of black and white and others. And sometimes air mixed with cement. A nice combination?
Certainly it is. For this is what we get on our streets and roads. Is it healthy? If you are in doubt, don’t walk without a mask. And savor the Aklan air.
Yes, I am talking about our dear beloved Aklan. The streets of our towns, any town and our highways. Provincial or national road. It does not matter.
But where do these kinds of air, the black smoke flying around, come from? From tricycles, diesel-fed cars and vans and delivery trucks or 10-wheelers. And cement dust from delivery trucks (ten wheelers and others) that deliver cement either from the wharf, any wharf, to either the bodegas or construction sites.
Shall this environmental condition in our province continue? For how long? Who is (are) concerned with this?
One crack pot told us that if this condition continues in our province, especially Kalibo and neighboring towns such as Banga, New Washington, and Numancia, there may be an epidemic of (tuberculosis) TB and/or lung cancer in 10 to 12 years.
Let us consider the tricycles waiting for passengers in front of schools. With 15 to 20 tricycles "blowing" their black or technicolor smokes in front of 7 to 10 years old children, what do you expect in the near future? Say, about ten, fifteen years late? Their continuous breathing those smoke-filled air from grade one to six?
When series of ailments hound those school children, who are responsible? And when medical expense mount with those sicknesses attending our school children knowing not the cause of an "epidemic" to whom do we go? Or get money for medicine and medical treatment?
Have our parents not seen these? Why? They don’t even cover the noses and mouths of their children when these smoke-belchers pass. Or when tricycle drivers warm up their vehicle at home. They seem careless about it. Probably, they are just ignorant of the effects these environment-unfriendly vehicle pass their way.
Do our PCTAs officers consider discussing these, this subject matter, during their regular meetings? This is beside the contributions parents may dole out.
Yes, we have a lot of trees around us – in all towns of Aklan. But who breathe that air before it gets to the trees some distance away?
Am I dreaming? Yes, let us all of us, wake up from our deep slumber. And consider this unidentified problem that may take a procession of coffins to the cemetery in the near future. That is if we wake up too late.
But who is responsible? Let us not play a blame game. Don’t blame the Land Transportation Office (LTO). That office does its duty. All these vehicles pass the Smoke Emission Test. But our drivers, together with their owners, use their ingenuity. They clean their vehicles to pass the Smoke Emission Test before the renewal of their annual vehicle registration. But coming out of that office means total freedom. And does the unbelievable. So smoke gets into our eyes again, as the song states.
One knowledgeable friend once said, "I don’t know if our traffic enforcers have seen those smoke? Or have they not breathe them and savor them? And those at street corners blow their whistles until they turn blue. Or is there real traffic enforcement despite our laws and ordinance?"
So, let us take a walk and breathe. Technicolored air which no other place, but the Philippines, Aklan in particular, is known for. And develop the base of whatever ailment that may come our way. You bet /MP