If I told you that the Philippines is clean, would you believe me? Probably not, and probably, you’d think I’m crazy. I can’t blame you though for thinking that way since when you go out in Metro Manila, you’d see trash, lots and lots of trash. Heck, we even have mountains made of garbage (Payatas and Smokey Mountain).

A creek overflowing with trash.

Whenever I see videos or photos of other cities in other countries, I feel totally envious. Their roads are nicely paved, their sidewalks are actually walkable, and there are no mounds of trash visible. In Metro Manila? Blah.

But believe it or not, the Philippines is actually the second cleanest country in Southeast Asia. If you think you’re reading this in a dream, then snap out of it, this is real. According to the Environmental Performance Index 2010, or EPI, we are trailing behind Singapore in terms of cleanliness. Overall, we are ranked 50 out of 163 countries. By the way, the EPI was conducted by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy of Yale University and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network of Columbia University, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. The indicators used for the study fall under two categories: Ecosystem Vitality and Environmental Health. I will not discuss the indicators used but if you’re really interested, you can check them out here.

To those who are skeptical about the results of the said study, well you’re not alone, 101% guaranteed. I was skeptical as well at first but I was thinking too inside the box, with the box being Metro Manila. But think again, let go of mental images of our much-polluted  capital and let thoughts of Philippine provinces gush into your consciousness. Imagine the beautiful beaches of Bohol, the lush fields of Bukidnon, or other magnificent place in our beloved country. Makes the study more acceptable, right?

But let us not think that our country is squeaky clean just because of the results of this study. Come on, even though we are second in Southeast Asia, we are still 50th overall, our score isn’t spectacular. I believe that we can still improve our standing, especially if we focus on the urbanized portions of the Philippines.

[Click here for more information about the Environmental Performance Index]