The Philippines’ Pasig River is the most polluting river in the world, a recent study says. Pasig, together with 18 other Philippine rivers, are among the major contributors of plastic in the oceans worldwide. The study, published in the academic journal Science Advances last April, shows that the Philippines alone emits more than 356,000 metric tons of plastic waste to the oceans every year, making it the largest contributing country with 4820 rivers emitting plastic waste. From this, Pasig River gives off 63,000 tons of plastic to oceans annually. More than a thousand rivers in various continents contribute to nearly 80% of plastic waste emission in rivers.
The Climate Change Commission calls for the immediate reduction of single-use plastics in the country. This includes the regulation and eventual banning of production of plastic-made products like straws, stirrers, utensils, etc. The government agency is pushing for the ratification of House Bill No. 9147 or the “Single-Use Plastics Products Regulation Act,” which was already approved in the second reading in the House of Representatives.
With these alarming findings, it’s time to revisit again the pressing issue of river pollution not just in the country but worldwide. How can we help address the problem of plastic emission that goes straight into our rivers? Despite the ongoing pandemic, how can we be agents of change in our own little ways? You will be surprised that the little choices we make create a long lasting impact on our rivers and different bodies of water.
In the list below, we explored the simplest and the most practical ways how we can shift our lifestyle to a more river-friendly and plastic-free way of living. From the utensils we use to the hobbies we explore, our choices make all the difference. Let us remember that the future of the planet depend on us. Being responsible citizens of the Earth start with the simple step of eliminating the use of plastic in our everyday life.
Here’s how you can start your eco-friendly journey.
Ten ways to keep rivers clean and plastic-free
Bring your own ecobag when shopping or doing groceries
Going for a grocery run or a shopping spree? Make sure to bring your own reusable ecobag to avoid using plastic bags which even costs you an extra penny. Most ecobags are made up of eco- friendly materials like flour-based adhesive, plant, jute twine and cotton. Some come in big sizes perfect for your grocery items. They are proven to be stronger and can carry more load than the usual plastic bag. Some malls and grocery stores are implementing a plastic-free option by using paper bags or cartons.
Tip: Ecobags can be folded into smaller pieces thus making it handy for the user. Put a couple of folded bags in the pockets of your frequently used bags to avoid forgetting them at home.
Use tumblers or flasks instead of plastic cups
Single use plastic cups or disposable cups are a threat to the environment because of its material. Opt for a more eco-friendly alternative by using tumblers or flasks which you can refill anytime. You can also use insulated tumblers to keep your drink hot or cold for a couple of hours. When going out, offer to use your personal tumbler instead of using plastic cups from stores or establishments. Be a nature warrior and at the same time, an advocate of hygiene.
Tip: Avoid the hassle of losing your tumblers or flasks when you go out. Personalize your tumblers by putting a name tag or a name engrave.
Skip the plastic straw, stirrer, and coffee cups
Most restaurants and bars automatically use plastic straws in their drinks. Not only do they contain a harmful chemical, they are non-biodegradable and harmful to the seas, animals, and the environment. Do Mother Nature a favor by skipping the plastic straw. Alternatives would include skipping the straw itself or using a metal straw or a paper straw. You also help spread awareness to others when they see you with a better alternative. Same goes for stirrers and coffee cups that are coated with plastic. Choose the more environment friendly alternative in your drinking process. Many companies are already banning the use of plastic straws in response to a global movement to fight plastic pollution.
Tip: Place your own reusable straws in a case and then put in your frequently used bags to keep it handy for use anytime.
Glass in, plastic out
In choosing your housewares, go for glasses, metals or cans rather than the plastic ones. Glasses and metal cups, utensils, bowls, and other kitchen wares are safer to use and can be recycled. Stay away also from foil and cling wrap. Use a reusable container for take-out or leftover food. Stop keeping a stack of plastic in the kitchen cupboard and recycle the use of old paper bags.
Separate your trash
Segregating your trash at home can do wonders for your garbage collectors. Put a separate bin for recyclables and non- recyclables. Take out the plastic waste. Make use of recycling and material recovery facilities available in your community to properly dispose of your trash. Doing this will help minimize the rubbish being dumped in the landfills. Another word of advice, when you go out, secure your trash tightly to avoid being blown or played by animals.
Tip: Put a label in your trash bin to help you easily separate the biodegradable from the non-biodegradable.
Recycle old things into something new
You might be doing a spring cleaning at home and you soon find yourself buried with a lot of unused clothes and items. Instead of throwing them away which will just end up in trash, check which ones are still usable and can be can donated to others. There might also be items which can be repurposed and recycled just by changing a few parts or cleaning a certain portion, then they’re good as new. There are a lot of available videos online (check Pinterest too) to give you an idea how to jazz up an old item into something new. Just let your creative juices flow. You can turn old bottles into a plant box or an old rag into a bag. The possibilities are endless. If you can reuse it, save it from being dumped into trash that will likely end up in the seas eventually.
Tip: Get tips and ideas on how to recycle old items at home by following your favorite home and lifestyle channels online.
Join a coastal clean-up or participate in community projects
Make your time worthwhile by joining activities that will raise awareness on environmental issues. Every September, an annual coastal clean-up is held to help clean rivers and oceans across the world. Different groups and companies participate in this initiative. Take part in this once-a-year event to make a stand. Let your voice be heard against the use of plastic that is harmful to our seas. You can also explore other community activities in support of this movement. There are annual runs and marathons for Pasig or a litter pick event in the canal nearby. Check your community calendar and see which activities fit your schedule. You can also sign up for a local environmental movement that resonates your advocacy.
Use your voice in social media
Social media nowadays hold so much power. You can never underestimate the power of a good compelling photo to capture the attention of others. With the proliferation of fake news, double check first the source of information if it’s credible. Avoid sharing news that’s unverified and not supported with facts. Use your social media presence to spread awareness about the different environmental issues we face. Advocate for a plastic-free lifestyle and the use of eco-friendly alternatives. Support local start-ups that promote the use of nature-friendly products. Always remember to think before you click. Use social media responsibly.
Tip: Explore different social media apps based on your target audience. Make sure your content uses correct and factual information about the rivers and the seas. Add the appropriate hasthtag to help spread the word.
Vote for a public official or a lawmaker with a clear environmental policy. Research who among the potential candidates truly care for Mother Nature. They would play a big role in pushing for laws that will protect the waters and clean the rivers. You can also contact your current public officials to let them know how their policies affect the local river and other bodies of water. As a citizen, you have the right to inform them of the issues that concern you and the community.
Enjoy the waters
Go ahead and spend some fun time in the seas. Experience firsthand the joy of having a clean, plastic-free bodies of water. Learn new activities like scuba diving or freediving to see a whole new world underwater. Enjoy water sports like surfing, kayaking, parasailing, wakeboarding, etc. You can also study about rivers, marine biodiversity, or anything related to the waters. That way, you can ignite your passion in protecting our oceans and eliminating the use of plastic.
The fight for a clean and plastic-free river starts within ourselves. By examining our practices and learning the risks of the products we use, we become responsible citizens of the Earth. From the simple utensils that we use at home to how we segregate our trash, these small initiatives can create a big impact and will inspire others to do the same. Opting for an eco-friendly way of living is a good start to advocate the elimination of plastic.
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Why choose Camella Manors Olvera?
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Camella Manors Olvera is the first project of Camella Manors in the Visayas to become part of Vista Land’s communicity. Camella Manors is Vista Land’s newest mid-rise condominium brand located in the regions and nearby provinces of Metro Manila. It promotes an all-in lifestyle needs and resort-themed amenities that will cater to young professionals, starting families, investors, and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). A resort-themed condo, The Olvera pioneers a hassle-free urban living in the midst of a booming economy. The condo is ready for occupancy in its first two buildings this 2021. Camella Manors Olvera is a 1.1 hectare mid-rise condominium with a total of 4 buildings.