Breaking the Cycle of Climate Disasters (Reflecting on ways for Conscious Emergency Relief)

I just came from the Ateneo volunteer relief site wherein hundreds of Ateneans and non – Ateneans gave their time and hearts to help in relief efforts.

I am happy to be part of the relief and rescue efforts and amazed at the BAYANIHAN SPIRIT! However I have mixed emotions.

I saw PLASTIC everywhere!

sarah

and they were requesting for more.

I do not take this against the organizers but would like to suggest ways we can be consistent in our intentions to help and solve the crisis that we are facing with hundreds of climate refugees and scattering of pollution.

I spoke with the head of the Relief Operations about their plan for managing the plastics, bottles, etc that they are bringing to the evacuation areas. So far they are still working out a plan but they are making sure there’s one. According to them it is a standard by the National Disaster Coordinating Council to use plastic bags for the relief goods. So what do we do about this?

For the meantime, I outlined some possible ways that they can initiate until they have a clear plan. I feel I need to share this to more so that we can discourse over it, spread the word, and encourage healthy and conscious relief efforts to the flood victims.

Here are my suggestions based on years of volunteering and working for environmental advocacy (Your suggestions, comments, and thoughts are most welcome).

If I had to do it my way this would be entirely different. I have a mix of environmental perspectives which I personally advocate (deep ecology, environmental management, integral sustainable development etc.) but for now I’m not really coming from a particular environmental approach – more of what’s immediately needed. For now this is what I feel can be done while the relief efforts are ongoing. Afterwards, let’s talk long term, let’s talk policy. Feel free to share this to relief organizers. Please feel free to comment / add / correct/ share this material.

WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR CONSCIOUS RELIEF EFFORTS:

1. Walk the Talk. This is tough as the first thing to do but there’s just no way. Trust me I struggle with it too – but the more I try to be aware and practice the more it becomes a habit. I think I don’t have to describe this further (bring your own water bottles, use reusable bags, segreggate at home etc.)

2. Assign segregation sites per evacuation areas.

Here are the basic concepts to ecological solid waste management and segregation:

* THERE IS NO WASTE – THERE IS ONLY RESOURCE “IF WE SEGREGATE.”

This is what I have learned my years of volunteer work. When you Segregate and Compost you don’t throw anything away, instead you transform everything as resource. It can only be considered waste if they are thrown away mixed together – they become useless or difficult to reuse.

Relief organizers must:

1. Prepare large boxes lined with plastic with CLEAR LABELS (use local dialect/language)

a) COMPOSTABLE/BIODEGRADABLE (majority of our waste is kitchen waste which can be buried and
used as garden soil, basic fertilizer, etc.

b) RECYCLABLES which can be sold and bought back by corporations for proper recycling

i. Paper/Boxes/Tetra Packs
ii. Glass Bottles
iii. Plastic Bottles
iv. Aluminum Cans (canned goods, soda cans, etc)

c) RESIDUALS – these are the non recyclable (or we dont have the technology to recycle). These are soft plastics, sando bags, candy wrappers, junk food wrappers, etc.

* If you can, encourage them to wash their canned good containers, wet plastics so as not to invite pests and so it won’t smell.

* It would be wonderful to have two containers for the used plastic bags – one for dry and one for wet.

2. Assign as volunteer or Contract Informal Waste Pickers or the local evacuees who need extra income to:

a) Man the segregation site to ensure proper segregation
b) Collect the recyclables to be sold to those buying back
c) Collect compostables either for vermicomposting, fertilizers, or for Livestock feed (kaning baboy –
although personally i dont want to promote this because this means encouraging their slaughter..
but that’s just me)

3. Contact the respective brand offices of the products donated – San Miguel, Universal Robina, Coca Cola, Unilever etc. TO BUY BACK or COLLECT THEIR RESPECTIVE RECYCLABLES. Encourage them to practice their CSR.

4. Because according to the organizers, plastics are required as standard and mandatory by the Red Cross Relief and the National Disaster Coordinating Council – then perhaps if we can ask SM Foundation and Healthy Options to donate their biodegradable and disappearing bags with the intention of segregating them still for reuse or recycle afterwards. I am curious though if these are really biodegradable and if they had to grow GMOs to manufacture the components. For now I guess, they can be the immediate alternatives.

HERE ARE POSSIBLE CONTACTS FOR FOLLOWING RESOURCES (I will look up for more info tomorrow)

1. Biodegradables –

a) Your local Barangay – they are by law according to RA 9003 to provide Materials Recovery
Facilities for ecological solid waste management. (Project 4 in Quezon city has a very good example
on composting local kitchen waste).
b ) Environmnetal NGOs and composting businesses who “might” be able to volunteer or request
donation to help you manage a make shift composting strategy (using sacks, etc.).
i. Mother Earth Foundation – http://www.motherearth.ph -9253829
ii. Happy Soil – 7761511
iii. Earth Day Network has contacts for vermicomposting which can hasten the decomposition of kitchen waste into compost – 6471181

2. Recyclables

a) Junk Shops
b) Informal Waste Pickers – nagtutulak Kariton
c) The Corporations to buy back or collect – Check the League of Corporate Foundations. Here’s the
members list with their website: http://www.lcf.org.ph/members/list and contact them.

PAPER:
*Prioritize your local junk shops
a) Asia Paper Industrial Corporation 3618151
b) Globe Paper Mills 3612516
c) Pinehurst Industrial Recycling Corporation 3668383
d) Paperland Industrial Corporation 3618531
e) TIPCO 8929786

CARDBOARD BOXES
*Prioritize your local junk shops
a) Don Box Industries 8425160
b) United Pulp and Paper 8700243

METAL/ALLUMINUM
* Prioritize your local junk shops
a) Stronghold Steel 8138892

3. Residuals – as much as possible we lessen donation of this material but because quick fix donations like noodles, packed goods are donated in huge amounts, we have to find ways to upcycle these into useful materials. Let’s advocate for the elimination of these flimsy plastics and disposables for the future.

a) Social Enterprises that upcycle* clean residuals (doy packs/zestos, soft plastics ) into bags, etc.

SHREDDED WRAPPERS COMBINED INTO TILES

a) Brgy Bagumbuhay in Project 4 QC also collects residuals that they shred and combine with clay
and ceramic to create tiles. Ask them if they accept clean residuals in bulk – 9132067

UPCYCLED STUFF

b) Brgy Ugong Pasig/ Livelihood makes those doy pack bags and other accessories out of residual
candy wrappers, junk food wrappers etc.. – 671-5961/6715956

c) Creative Waste management – 4171033

d) Smokey Mountain Resource Reyclcing System – 2554181

4. PLEASE CONTACT THE LOCAL BARANGAY OFFICIALS TO HELP and remind them about the RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act

A summary can be read on this site: http://www.emb.gov.ph/eeid/ESWM.htm)
The full document on this site: http://www.emb.gov.ph/laws/solid%20waste%20management/ra9003.pdf

Your local governments are mandated by law to manage your wastes. You can also file a citizen suit if they don’t. Mother Earth Foundation can help on this aspect.

***I would like to encourage still, that we LESSEN our packaging or make sure they are MORE OF REUSABLE AND RECYCLABLE instead of RESIDUAL.

***Helping the victims with more pollution will never solve the problem. It will only repeat the cycle. How did this disaster come about in the first place? We must always ask ourselves this question.

Did you wake up to a different world today? How did your community look like? Residents of Marikina, Rizal, Makati, Caloocan, everywhere woke up to garbage on the streets, useless appliances, they woke up in someone else’s home, their rooftops, the public school or the local basketball court… hopefully they realize what really hit them. hopefully we’ll realize what hit us.

***Lastly, when you volunteer – GIVE YOUR HEART. DON’T RUSH AS IF IN AN INDUSTRIAL ASSEMBLY LINE. MAKE GOOD INTENTIONS FOR EVERY DONATION YOU PACK, EVERY BAG YOU HOLD. THEY NEED IT MORE THAN JUST THE GOODS WHICH WILL JUST LAST FOR AWHILE. TRUST ME, IT WILL GO A LONG WAY.

I have a long list in mind but so far these are the basics.

Please feel free to add/correct info, circulate/share. I hope you don’t mind that this is a working note so i might add information from time to time.

Peace and light to everyone!

Note:  This is a repost from friend’s Facebook site

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