During the Sto. Nino Fiesta in Pandacan, Manila earlier this January, the streets were littered by the trash of revelers. It was a terrible sight. I couldn’t understand how supposedly educated and religious people could be so unconcerned about the health and beauty of their environment.
According to a recent study by the Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, five countries are responsible for up to 60 percent of plastic trash in our oceans. The Philippines is in the list, together with China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Increasing use of plastic products and poor waste management were attributed as major causes of these countries’ trash problem.
Our habit of littering and poor waste management is not just about aesthetics. Another study has reported that if we continue to dump our trash in the oceans, plastic will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050. Our plastic trash is killing marine wildlife.
I know that it’s a big problem and will require big solutions. But the solution could also be as simple as choosing not to litter. If there are no trash cans around, why not put our trash in our pockets or bags for the meantime? We can also choose to recycle and upcycle (reusing discarded objects or material in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original).
So what do you think? Can the solution start with us? What other actions can we take to solve our trash problems?
Please check out the efforts of people who are actively making a positive difference: