Plastic pollution has been a problem all over the world. We widely use plastics because of its convenience and affordability. Non-biodegradable, plastic products are aplenty on streets and unfortunately in natural waters, putting our marine ecosystem at great risk.
HAPI Junior, the youth affairs arm of Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) originating in Bacolod City, aims to inspire Bacolodnons to take action in protecting the environment, especially our waters. In this connection, the Juniors took charge and conducted a clean-up and environmental talk termed ‘1 Baybay At A Time’ at Barangay Punta Taytay, a coastal community in Bacolod City fronting the Guimaras Strait.
On April 26, 2018, volunteers were all ears as they enjoyed some coffee and snacks while Franz Anthony Alejano talked about his experiences, knowledge, research and experiments about microplastics, and its effect on marine biodiversity and food security.
Microplastics are small plastic pieces, usually shorter than five millimeters, which can be destructive to aquatic life. It comes from diverse sources including plastic debris that degrades into very tiny pieces. Microbeads found in beauty cleansers and facial wash are an example of microplastics. Microbeads get mistaken as food by marine animals and cause their death.
A study says, “By 2050, there will be more plastics than fishes by mass in the ocean”. This information is too overwhelming and shocking to take, knowing how humans have become dependent on plastics every day. It pollutes the air if we burn it; poisons the soil if we bury it; and clogs the sewers and waterways if we improperly dispose of it.
“Awareness is the first key to changing the environment”, said Alejano as he awakened the consciousness of the volunteers in attendance, including few locals, parents, and teachers who participated and witnessed the youth’s determination in creating cascades of positive change.
Bacolod City Ordinance No. 562 prohibits and bans the single use of plastics. The passing of this ordinance may have been a success, but its implementation has been lacking so far, mainly attributed to poor information dissemination. However, some families have taken upon themselves to switch to a zero-waste life. It is simply giving up of practices that produce excessive wastes, and coming up with alternatives that are eco-friendly.
‘1 Baybay At A Time’ is the first of a series of coastal clean-ups in the city. It would not have been possible if not for humanists who genuinely care for humanity’s future: Juan Miguel Silva, HAPI Internal Auditor; Rayd Espeja, HAPI Public Relations Officer; Ceejay Pastrana, HAPI Junior Lead Convener; Joshua Villalobos, HAPI Junior Head; and the Juniors themselves.
Mother Nature cries for help, and HAPI is here to heed, take action and call for more action. HAPI Junior may be taking its small, baby steps, but their care for the environment is as grown as humanism’s goal of sustenance of all life.
- HAPI Junior member
“You glow different when you’re doing better.”