Luczon: Much plastics need to be reduced

ON MONDAY, March 18, a young Cuvier's beaked whale was found dead on the shores of Compostela Valley. Later autopsy shows that the cause of death were dehydration and starvation.

Most disturbingly, the main reason for starvation and dehydration is because the whale had been ingesting plastic materials, and experts from D' Bone Collector Museum in Davao City found that the whale had about 40 kilograms of plastics inside its body.

We have not yet mentioned the detrimental effects of micro plastics that's also being eaten by smaller fish and other organisms in the sea.

The recklessness and ignorance in caring for our environment eventually have caused a boomerang later on in our generation. We thought that it is enough to segregate, or throw the garbage in the landfills. While it is necessary, there are communities in some parts of the world and in the country that could not even make a proper disposal of their garbage, which would eventually end up in the vast ocean.

And now, we are time bound, and working as fast as we could to prevent the ill effects of plastic pollution in our environment.

On Tuesday, March 19, the City Government of Cagayan de Oro, in partnership with Nestlé Philippines, just introduced to the community the first Eco-Brick Hub in Mindanao. A processing facility located in the old landfill in Zayas, that produces bricks made of plastics.

This is a welcome improvement especially for a city that recently implemented the banning of plastic bags as packaging for consumer goods and products.

Bricks made of plastics are not new, other countries have produced, and constructed buildings and houses out of this recycled materials.

In Colombia, Conceptos Plásticos (Plastic Concepts) in 2011 managed to patent its system of bricks and pillars made of recycled plastic, which is then put together like Lego pieces in a construction system that can build houses up to two stories high in five days.

Meanwhile, researchers from the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research in Argentina have come up with a way to turn used plastic drinking bottles into eco-friendly building bricks. The PET (polyethylene terephthalate) material the bottles (and bricks) are made from is as strong as a conventional house brick made from sand and cement.

Perhaps it is about time that the construction industry, and even to other sectors, shall begin a shift of paradigm concerning the use of plastics in making concretes, houses, buildings, and whatever forms of infrastructure.

With or without aid of legislation or laws, we should proactively seek a way to reduce plastic wastes especially in reaching our waters.

But of course, this would not be possible if we, too, should value the importance of funding researches that actually be used in saving the environment.

There is a need to do so, if we intend to still see creatures roaming in the vastness of our ocean for our children to see.



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