World Environment Day #Beat Plastic Pollution

 

In celebration of World Environment Day and the Philippine Environment Month, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) and GREENducation conducted a FREE Upcycling seminar-workshop on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. The said event focused on upcycling of plastics as a way to contribute to the reduction of solid wastes. It was attended by participants coming from different highschools and colleges in Metro Manila namely, University of the Philippines, Philippine Science High School, Pasig HighSchool, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, University of Rizal System – Tanay and selected students taking up courses in BS Environmental Science and Sustainability Management, GREENducators, and young professionals, environmental advocates and EMB staff.

National Youth Commissioner Paul Anthony M. Pangilinan addressed the participants and reminded the youth and young leaders that “all of us can help in protecting the world we are living in. We must remember that we are all responsible in taking care of the environment.”
Currently, Asec. Paul Pangilinan chairs the NYC Committees on Global Mobility and Environment. As an active youth advocate, he envisions to empower the Filipino youth by developing their capacity, addressing their needs and by inspiring them to make “Larger Dreams and Larger Change” in our country.

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NYC Commissioner Paul Anthony M. Pangilinan

In line with the Celebration of World Environment Day, EMB Assistant Director Engr. Vizminda A. Osorio warmly welcomed the participants to the workshop. Asst Dir. Osorio further encouraged the participants to Upcycle “because you can turn trash into something beautiful and help reduce waste,” she said.

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EMB Assistant Director Engr. Vizminda A. Osorio

Ms. Nelie A. Dimer, an Environmental Management Specialist of the EMB-SWMB conducted a very lively discussion regarding Solid Waste Management, and further enlightened everyone about RA 9003. As an overview of current status of Solid Waste Management in their respective areas, the participants provided both positive and negative feedback of Solid waste management in their locality during said discussion.

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Ms. Nelie A. Dimer, EMB Specialist

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Ms. Nelie A. Dimer is an Environmental Management Specialist of the EMB-SWMD. She is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and has undergone training on community organizing, SWM for LGUs, and Capability Building on Landfill Gas Monitoring and Management. Ms. Dimer is a passionate lecturer on Ecological Solid Waste Management, Composting, Waste Characterization study, Community Organizing, Climate Change, and Gender and Development. She is also the MRF Operation Manager of the EMB-DENR.

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Ms Ma. Adavieve Mella, or Teacher Ada, is an educator-Upcycler- entrepreneur-social media administrator of Upcycle This Philippines and AmoreCrafts. She showcased her upcycled projects and also demonstrated how to upcycle an old tshirt into yarn which can be used for other craft projects.

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Ms.Ada also defined Upcycling and explained the waste reduction hierarchy. “Upcycling is never an excuse to acquire too many things. And for hoarders, donating is also not an excuse.” True enough, a person will not have to declutter if one practices minimalism.

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From the TheUpcyclingFashionista blog, Upcycling is defined as the opposite of downcycling. Downcycling involves converting converting valuable products into low-value raw materials. For example creating recycled papers from paper or creating rags from clothing. Although downcycling helps the planet because it keeps things out of landfills (for a time at least) many times it will eventually end up there.

When you upcycle, you reuse and make something of better quality from its original form. Upcycling has a more positive impact on the environment because we creatively think of other  ways to reuse, refashion, repurpose an object instead of throwing it to the landfill.

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Alyssa Marie Nacpil and John Patrick Purugganan, Project Directors of Ecobricks MNL, showed the group the proper way of making their own ecobricks using scraps and pieces of nonbiodegradable materials.

 

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Ecobricks MNL Co-Project Director Alyssa Marie Nacpil is responsible for coordinating with zero-waste groups, and also keeps track of the collection system of ecobricks. Aside from academics, Ms. Nacpil is also active in extra-curricular activities.  Currently, she is an active member of DeLaSalle University (DLSU)-UNICEF. In 2017, she was a Member-Advocate of the Philippine Chapter of the 2030 Youth Force, an organization that  inspires young people to engage in the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 16- Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

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NonBiodegradable materials to be used for ecobrick making

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Workshop organizer and Youth Adviser of GREENducation Mr. Vermon Timbas and Ecobrick Co-Project Director Alysa Marie Nacpil showing how to make ecobricks

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Members of the GREENducators making their ecobricks

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High school students from Pasig City showing enthusiasm making ecobricks
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Student representatives from Polytechic University of the Philippines and University of Rizal System – Tanay
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stacking non-biodegrable materials in a plastic bottle
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One of the workshop output is a sample of a well compressed ecobrick using a 500 ml plastic bottle and nonbiodegradable materials.

Mr. Ludwig O. Federigan shared his insights on plastic pollution with an inspirational message, citing his timely article from Manila Times Do you want to live in a world of plastic?

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In line with World Environment Day theme #Beat Plastic Pollution and National Geographic June 2018 cover “Planet or Plastic” he delivered his message with utmost urgency for everyone to take action .

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Quite surprising to hear from Mr. Federigan, that Pasig River is the 8th worst contributor of plastic into the ocean, based on a study “River Plastics Emissions to the World’s Oceans” published in Nature Communications in April 2017. He concluded his message with a challenge for the participants to do a small act and pledge to reduce single-use plastic.

Mr. Ludwig O. Federigan is the Executive Director of the Young Environmental Forum and part of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps of The Climate Reality Project;  a 2017 Yale Sustainability Leadership Fellow, and a recipient of the Miguel R. Magalang Individual Climate Leadership Memorial Award by The Climate Reality Project Philippines.

 

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Engr. Jesus Reyes, Nestle Philippines Vice President for Corporate Affairs

Engr. Jesus Reyes, Nestle Philippines Vice President for Corporate Affairs and CSV Pillar Lead for Environment and Water, discussed the company’s initiative called Creating Shared Value (CSV), a strategy that allows Nestlé to grow its business while contributing to the advancement of the society where it operates. It aims to strive for zero environmental impact in their operations recognizing the importance of reducing waste along the whole value chain and its commitment to eliminating waste at every level of its operations. And in August 2016, Nestlé Philippines achieved zero waste to landfill across all its factories, and continues to promote better solid waste management programs across the life cycle of its products.

Another solid waste management initiative from Nestle, in partnership with local government units and GreenAntz Builders Inc. is the Laminates for Ecobricks Hub Project.

 

The Eco-bricks  are composed of wet cement and shredded plastic laminates (sachets). The sachets are obtained from industrial and commercial wastes and turned into bricks.

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They gather and use barter system for used coffee sachet. A single eco-brick requires 100 pieces of sachets. Some of Nestle Eco-brick hubs are located in Cagayan de Oro, Cavite, Plaridel Bulacan and Cebu.

 

Indeed, Nestle support initiatives that recover and recycle plastics and laminates, particularly to prevent them from contaminating natural habitats .

Nestle is a member of The Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability (PARMS) a multi-stakeholder partnership supported by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), and a multi-sectoral coalition composed of top corporations in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector.

 

In 2017, The Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability (PARMS) and its eight members from the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector sign an agreement to establish a P25 million recycling facility for sachets as part of a comprehensive approach to address post-consumer waste which puts a strain on the environment, particularly waterways. The recycling facility will employ clean technology that can process more than 150 metric tons of waste per year, to be converted into products such as pallets, school chairs and other high-value plastic products.

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Nestle eco-brick

Currently Nestlé’s Laminates to Eco-bricks Hub Project and Tibayanihan’s Sachet to School Chair Upcycling Project is one of the sustainable programs supported by the The Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability (PARMS) a multi-stakeholder partnership supported by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), and a multi-sectoral coalition composed of top corporations in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector.

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PHOTO GALLERY

 

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Group photo
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Group photo

During the workshop breakout session, the participants together with their  GREENducator mentors, were divided into two groups. The first group was assigned to come up with their own designs for fashion accessories using old cds. The second group was assigned to make planters, pots or gardening containers using plastic bottles.

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Ms Dimer showing upcycled flowers using residual waste materials

 

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The GREENducators workshop mentors
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Group 1 materials for Upcycling
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Group 1 Materials for Upcycling
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Group 2 materials for upcycling
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Group 2 The Garden group
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Group 1 Fashion Accessories group

It was fun to see everyone supporting and admiring each  other’s creations. Let us encourage the youth to echo to their respective communities, school organizations, family and friends what they have learned from the workshop.

 

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PRESENTATION OF OUTPUTS

 

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Let us all take action and #Beat Plastic Pollution. Not just for one day, but for everyday that we are living. We only have one Earth, and what we can do today will make a big difference. Let us UPCYCLE and creatively reuse our trash. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it.

 

 

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Just Another Rock for the Wall

A call for change or a call for awareness? “Just another brick on the wall.. ” As Pink Floyd’s song goes, so does my writing..

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Hear ye, Hear ye!  This is my call for awareness. Let it not be just another rock for the wall. We might not have all the time on Earth to put it back once it crumbles and fall.

The coastal community of Barangay San Roque, Legazpi City needs responsive mediation from non-government organizations and responsible government agencies that will address their plea to restore their environment and the health of their food source and livelihood, the ocean. Sad stories of relief and livelihood assistance not reaching the needy families made me look deeper into the inefficiency of local government agencies in the country.  One may think the stories are surreal how the international and national donations for indigent and typhoon-stricken communities don’t reach their beneficiaries. Others might even think that local government agencies tasked to distribute assistance have diligently delivered. Unfortunately, not. They have devised a procedure that seems to favor only a few, when in fact all residents in said community are undoubtedly in need of assistance.  From what I have seen and gathered during my short visit in the coastal village, I agree that these are real issues to be addressed.

It’s been five years since the fisherfolks of said community were able to get a good catch of fish. I remember how the villagers used to enjoy big catch of blue marlins and yellow fin tunas for their daily food and income. Today I can’t help but wonder , where have all the fishes gone? Are the big fishing vessels allowed to fish more than the local small-scale fisherfolks? These commercial structures slowly creeping along the coastal areas, will they benefit the local coastal community or just the businessmen and bureaucrats?  Why use expensive concrete seawalls  as coastal defense when nature-based solutions such as mangrove restoration are more sustainable? Once the commercial structures are built, will the coastal community be relocated and provided alternative livelihood? Will they be prioritized as they recuperate from their lost livelihood, or will they spend  more than their meager earnings to participate?

In reality, are the small scale fishers given proper representation and participation in the governance of aquatic resources? Sustainable projects like WWF’s Partnership Project Towards Sustainable Tuna (PPTST) is a timely environmental movement that provides fishing communities awareness and knowledge towards sustainability amidst the impact of the environmental degradation which is also affecting our oceans. Knowing that the results from these projects are beneficial to the small scale fishers, how soon will the other local government units adapt the project for their own coastal areas?  Sad but true, this will only be determined by the political will of elect government officials committed to address this coastal and marine issue.

I am also pondering how affected the marine life is with the influx of commercialization and urbanized landscapes in this coastal area. Those big boulders of rocks and assortment of garbage scattered on the beach is a horrific depiction of modernization threatening marine ecosystem. How often are the beaches cleaned and how involved is everyone in the the clean-up drive? Everyday the sea waves sweep these garbage back and forth into the waters. Every bit of non-biodegradable rubbish accumulates into the sea and continuously endangers the sea waters and its marine life. Has anyone noticed? The disruption of marine habitat will be difficult to reverse once damage has been done.

We only have one Earth, and it is becoming fragile through time. We should always keep in mind long -term environmental benefits. “Sustainability and resilience will be achieved much faster if the majority of the Earth’s population understand the value and needs of our increasingly fragile Earth.” (WWF Living Planet Report 2016)

I’ve seen the drastic changes that may soon affect lives of younger generation. It has already affected the local fisherfolks. Do we have to look the other way towards bright lights and high rise buildings, or to the indigent coastal areas and their residents with their plea to restore their environment and the health of their food source and livelihood, the ocean?  This is my call for awareness. This is not just another rock for the wall.

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An Eco-Campaign : Water for Pitak Project

3 more days ..

72 hours to go for the crowdfunding campaign Our Quest for Water “to be self-reliant and independent in our water supply for our holistic farming management and natural building projects; and  to be a model farm in terms of water sourcing through the use of alternative and renewable energy.” Their Pitak Project  located  in Tubao, La Union Northern Philippines  is a model  ecofarm adapting permaculture system and principles to promote a sustainable and regenerative living.

photo courtesy of Pitak Project
photo courtesy of Pitak Project

I  diligently support our friend and colleague’s initiative Pitak Project . I strongly believe an endeavor as noble and as inspiring as theirs will be successful. Their  sincerity of preserving and loving Mother Nature by initiating a project a thousand kilometers away from the city that we have been accustomed to is in itself a great challenge.

Yet they never faltered  towards their vision to be a site that displays an ecosystem in symbiosis with its human occupants promoting permaculture, and improving the quality of life of all living creatures on site and sharing their knowledge to the community both local and international.  They continue to selflessly share their knowledge to the community how to build mud houses, plant and farm organically and now sustainability for human and economic development.

In a country where we have seen the damages of modern infrastructure , real estate developments, irresponsible  garbage disposal and a many other insignificant projects , Pitak Project is worth my commendation for  being a Sustainably Green and Healthy Environment.

Summer is a time to enjoy in the waters. People  usually take their vacation to go to the beach and relax with a piña colada or a cool refreshing frappe , splurge on a spa and cool showers, take a dip in the pool , and all those cool summer getaway stuff.  But there is more to waters than mere leisure and pleasure.

Have you ever thought how you could help someone today? Have you ever realized how a humble bucket or even a droplet of  water is considered more precious than gold by others?  We look forward to your share and support in this eco- campaign Our Quest for Water .