The youth affairs arm of Humanist Alliance Philippines, International, HAPI Junior gathered again youth organizations, and academic and environmental advocates on May 26th of 2018 at Barangay Singcang-Airport in Bacolod City, to share a common goal — end plastic pollution in Negros Occidental, Philippines. This gathering marks the second wave of an environmental humanism effort by the Juniors, ‘1 Baybay At A Time’.
The battle against plastic pollution is a battle against ignorance of the effects of single-use plastics in our environment. As the quote goes, “There is no capital more useful than intellect and wisdom, that indigence more injurious than ignorance and unawareness. Ignorance of the effects of our lifestyle has destroyed our only home.
According to a study by McArthur Foundation, by the year 2050, there will be more plastics by mass than marine life in our world’s waters. HAPI Junior and other environmental groups in the region cannot accept such a prediction, so they agreed to do something meaningful towards a bright future for Bacolodnons.
In partnership with the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) headed by Hon. Danna Permathe of Barangay Singcang-Airport, HAPI Junior organized the event in an effort to (a) raise awareness on plastic pollution; (b) encourage the youth to be an advocate for the conservation of our oceans and the planet through education; (c) empower youth by involving them in activities that benefit the community; and (d) raise consciousness about the importance of our oceans.
A inspirational talk by Daisy Mae Eleccion preceded the coastal clean-up. Eleccion earned a degree in Secondary Education and majored in Science at University of Saint La Salle. She has since finished her Masters degree at West Visayas State University, and served as the adviser for Youth for the Environment in Schools, a student organization of Bata National High School. She teaches biology, chemistry and physics.
A regular since her participation at the first wave of ‘1 Baybay At A Time’ that took place in Barangay Punta Taytay in April, Eleccion made her talk interesting by presenting data that took into account how much waste Filipinos produce every day, and how the Philippines is contributing to the overwhelming plastic pollution as the third top marine polluter in the whole world. She also presented photographs of local marine wildlife that has suffered from plastic pollution. “Minimalist Living” was cited as one of the many solutions to the gradual destruction of our environment. Certain famous personalities like Mark Zuckerberg of social media giant, Facebook, have been practicing the minimalist lifestyle. The talk was accurate to highlight the significant contribution of today’s youth-led organizations in conserving energy and protecting our environment from further damage.
Genrick Catalonia of HAPI Junior led the giving of safety instructions and designation of clean-up areas which were a long walk from the venue of the talk. Thick layers of plastic wastes, about 3 feet from the ground, welcomed the volunteers and organizers. More shocking than this sight is the awareness that all of it used to float on the nearby river and the Guimaras Strait.
Barely knowing where to start, volunteers began picking up from every area with the goal of filling as many sacks as possible. Some children of the barangay also helped with the effort.
Other than another partnership with Barangay Singcang-Airport and its SK officials, HAPI Junior also succeeded in bringing together young volunteers from University of St. La Salle (USLS) Earthguards, Future Educators Conference (FECON), Linghod, Boy Scout of the Philippines, Dunamis Christ Core, and the student council of Barangay Singcang Airport National High School (BSANHS) among others.
Notably, the SK Chairperson and the President of the Supreme Student Government of BSANHS were quick to support the cause upon invitation by HAPI Junior.
“It is a good start, I hope there will be more youth who are willing to participate for the upcoming 3rd wave. Education is useless if there is no action”, USLS Earthguards President Keith Desphy said.
“Because of this initiative, we will be able to gradually clean the oceans of Bacolod”, Boy Scout of the Philippines Unit II President Juryl Cuevas enthused.
“We must always be aware of the trash we are throwing that it goes to the ocean. We must be aware that it is bad for the environment”, Barangay Singcang-Airport resident Jema Agravante advised the public.
From less than 60 volunteers of the first wave, HAPI Junior was able to double its volunteer attendance at the second wave. This proves that the good news of environmental humanism is reaching more young people lately.
A third wave of ‘1 Baybay At A Time’ at the same location is on its planning stages, with a more intensive and educational campaign in the mind of organizers. For donations to our environmental humanistic efforts in Negros Occidental, please see donation channels below.
Joshua Ofiasa Villalobos
- HAPI Junior – Bacolod Lead Convener
- Former school paper editor-in-chief
- High school student with extraordinary dreams
“Let us join forces to help protect, conserve and save our shared home.”