8 April 2019, Quezon City. A waste and pollution watch group is pushing for plastic-free summer excursions as families, workmates and barkadas start to troop to their favorite beaches and water parks to cool down and have fun amid the scorching heat.
“Summer outings need not be synonymous with the bane of plastic, especially the single-use, that is polluting the oceans and harming marine life,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Going out of the city for the much loved excursions and picnics and refreshing water fun in the beach or swimming pool should not add to the plastics in the oceans that are mistakenly eaten by fish and other aquatic animals,” she said.
The 40 kilos of assorted plastics inside the stomach of a beached whale found in the east coast of Davao City last March 2019 should serve as a wake-up call for intensified plastic pollution prevention, the EcoWaste Coalition said, noting that over 100,000 marine mammals perish each year because of plastics leaking into the oceans.
“While we push corporations to design throw-away plastic out of the production system and replace it with eco-friendly and non-toxic alternatives, and while we urge governments to seek ways to curb single-use plastic, we, the people, should act to halt the further degradation of the oceans with plastic and chemical pollutants,” said Lucero.
Individual and collective actions to combat plastic pollution, the EcoWaste Coalition said, will help in cutting the amount of plastic waste that gets dumped into the oceans from land-based sources, which is estimated at eight million tons per year.
“We need not wait for more whales and other marine animals to die because of the thoughtless production, consumption and disposal of single-use plastics, which, if not reversed, could further endanger sea life,” the group emphasized.
In a bid to encourage the public to embrace a plastic-free, ocean-friendly summer, the EcoWaste Coalition has come up with some practical steps to begin with:
- Plan in advance for a plastic-free family, workplace or barkada excursion. This way, you avoid creating plastic trash.
- Make plastic-free purchases whenever possible and put items bought in a reusable bayong or cloth bag.
- When buying vegetables, fruits and other foodstuff, select those that are locally grown, unpackaged or in least packaging.
- Prepare and bring food in reusable containers that do not require cling film or plastic wrap.
- Wrap sandwiches in old but clean hankies or fabric scraps, which can double up as napkins, too.
- Make use of plates, cups and cutlery that can be washed and used again. One eco-friendly and healthy option is to eat on a banana leaf.
- In lieu of plastic sheet, paper napkins and wet wipes, go for washable fabric table cover and cloth napkins. Steer clear of wet wipes containing harmful ingredients that can elicit allergic contact dermatitis.
- Carry with you potable tap water in reusable bottles instead of buying plastic bottled water.
- Choose drinks that come in glass bottles rather than plastic bottles.
- Instead of disposable ones, bring your own glass, tumbler or mug for cold and hot drinks.
- Say no to plastic straws and stirrers. Remember the sea turtle with straw in its nostril found off the coast of Costa Rica?
- Do not buy personal care and cosmetic products containing plastic microbeads. Note that plastic microbeads in such products are already banned in US and other countries.
- Carry your excursion necessities in bayong, basket or reusable cloth bags and avoid plastic ones.
- Take time to do a clean-up before leaving the beach or resort, and bring your discards home for proper recycling or disposal. Remember: “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.”
- Do not forget to bring extra reusable bags for pasalubong or souvenirs to buy. This way, you help cut plastic bag waste.
Photo by: Maciej Błędowski /123rf