The planet where we live today is already in its endangered phase.
With various environmental issues that destroy our water and land resources, we will soon be on our knees being sorry for destroying our surroundings.
Manila Bay along Roxas Blvd. is a murky body of water filled with trash and human and animal excreta. The same is true of the Pasig River, which may be considered as one of the most contaminated rivers in the country.
But all hope is not lost
The Philippine government and its local government units, together with several organizations and private companies are doing their best to conserve our environment.
A primary example is Boracay. One of the world’s most-visited tourist spots, Boracay Island was shut down and is currently undergoing a rehabilitation for six months on orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, who believes that this is the best way to restore the damaged forests and wetlands of the island paradise.
More than this action, a lot of non-government organizations and private sectors are also raising the alarm for everyone to open their minds and face the reality that the world needs our help.
In this year’s World Environment (WE) Day, the main goal this time is to eradicate the plastic scourge with its theme: Beat the Plastic Pollution.
Living in a plastic-free world
Plastics are convenient to use, yet is very dangerous to the environment
In an article written by the Greener Ideal, it was emphasized that “They (plastic bags) get into soil and slowly release toxic chemicals. They eventually break down into the soil, with the unfortunate result being that animals eat them and often choke and die.”
Three years ago, a video posted on Facebook trended and served as a warning to all that the use of a straw, yes, a piece of a straw, can be very dangerous to sea turtles. A group of researchers doing some data collection about sea turtles found an Olive Ridley turtle having a hard time breathing due to a straw being stuck on its nostril. The team spent 10 minutes removing the straw from the nose of the turtle and when they did, blood dripped from the nose of the poor animal.
Meanwhile, Chile became the first South American country to ban retail businesses from using plastic bags, an initiative aimed at protecting the country’s 4,000-mile coastline.
“We have taken a fundamental step to take better care of Chile and the planet. Today, we are more prepared to leave a better planet to our children, grandchildren and the generations to come,” said President Sebastián Piñera, who expanded the scope of a bill introduced last year by his predecessor, Michelle Bachelet, that sought to prohibit the use of plastic bags in more than 100 coastal towns.
This proves that governments all over the world are taking the steps for a better world.
Makati and Pasig are making their cities environment-friendly, teaching their citizens the value of discipline by positioning their trash bins (labeled non-biodegradable and biodegradable) in every street corner and in front of fast-food chains. Though there are still people who cannot discipline themselves by throwing their trash any which way they like, the LGUs’ action has helped raise the awareness of its residents and the youth to become more responsible with their garbage disposal.
The said cities have also banned the use of plastic.
Meanwhile, Baguio and Cebu have also taken the initiative of reducing the use of plastic bags. In 2007, a local law called as ‘The Bayong Ordinance’ prohibits private businesses from using plastic bags and containers and instead encourages the use of a recyclable bag made of bayong or cloth.
Last year, a private company has launched an advocacy that has helped and taught the residents of Manila, Pasig and Taguig to keep their soft plastic wastes such as sachets, tetra packs and chips’ plastic waste on their pockets.
Unilever Philippines Vice President for Sustainable Business and Communications Ed Sunico shared the advocacy “Misis Walastik Program,” which prompted members of the household to collect their soft plastic wastes. In return, Unilever Philippines gave them incentives, such as a coupon worth P5.00 for every one kilo of these plastic wastes. The coupons can be used to purchase Unilever products.
Meanwhile, two of the leading fast-food chains in the Philippines, Jollibee and McDonald’s, have also shown their support by banning plastic straws. Jollibee branches in local cities prohibit the use of plastic straw for their beverages. Meanwhile, McDonald’s branches in Makati have shown their support by having paper-made straws for their floats and drinks.
SM Supermall has also shown some initiatives as they encourage their customers to use ecobags instead of plastic bags when shopping, offering a fashionable yet functional ecobag made of durable, non-woven fabric.
A collective effort is needed to sustain the gains made by LGUs and private firms. If we are to save this world from the plastic scourge, then it’s high time we became eco warriors not just for ourselves, but to our children’s future as well.