IN AN unprecedented move against plastic pollution in Davao, Ateneo de Davao University (Addu) issued a memorandum banning single-use plastics (SUP) last October 19.
Memorandum no. 2018-071 bans single-use plastics including plastic straws, utensils, cups, stirrers, disposable gloves, sando bags, doypacks, balloons, tetra pack cartons, and PET bottles.
The drafting of this memorandum was spearheaded by the Ecoteneo Office, the university’s advocacy group for environmental protection and conservation.
Christian Dayrit, Ecoteneo Unit Director, shared the success of the implementation.
“All I can say is that the implementation went smooth even with the concerns raised -- the Ecoteneo Office took care of them. There are no more plastics in the cafeteria, paper straws are used and eco bottles are sold for P250,” Dayrit said.
Rem Tambuang, a 4th year psychology student, commended the issuance of the policy.
“It’s one of the best moves Addu pulled off in quite some time. People say it’s too radical or too strict. The way the plastics is affecting the planet, I think we should really be desperate for change,” Tambuang shared.
While most of the people supported the implementation, there were some who said that it was inconvenient.
Aimee Naomi Ang-Ug, a football student-athlete, expressed her concern on how the policy is a hassle to athletes who generally use plastic bags to carry wet clothes and dirty shoes after practice.
“Sobraan lang ang total ban kay ma-reuse kasi ang plastic bags sa amin athletes kasi ‘di kami pwede na ‘di gumamit ng plastic especially sa sapatos at mga basang damit (A total ban is too much because plastic bags can be reused, and we athletes have to use it in carrying shoes and wet clothes),” Ang-ug said.
Students also clamored for the need of plastic gloves for laboratory works.
In response to this, student council Samahan Ecoteneo unit posted a follow-up information clarifying the use of certain plastics.
“The items needed for academic purposes that are included in the list of single-use plastics must have permission from the Ecoteneo Office,” Samahan Ecoteneo Unit explained on their Twitter page.
Myra Perez, a worker of a milk tea stall in Addu cafeteria, shared how the implementation affected the store.
“Two weeks before gitagaan mig memorandum para makaprepare. After namo nakabalo nagpahimo mi dayun ug paper straws sa Manila para makabaligya gyapon mi. When it comes sa among makuha, mas nidako among expenses tapos half nalang ang income namo karon compared sauna (We were given two weeks to prepare. When we learned of the new memorandum, we immediately had paper straws manufactured in Manila. Our expenses increased and our income decreased by half),” she said.
Addu urged its students to use alternatives materials such as tumblers and eco-bags to help and support the campaign.
According to a report by Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit environmental advocacy group based in Washington DC, the Philippines is the third largest contributor to plastic pollution in Asia. (Allan Acera Jr., Ateneo de Davao University)