Jul 23, 2017

A video of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada supposedly leading a cleanup drive is circulating on Facebook. In the video, a woman was instructing someone to throw a sack of garbage back to the sea. In surprise, the reporter asked the woman if that was a joke. The woman reasoned that it is for publicity’s sake. Well, that was not really delightful to see.

Cleanup drives should not be done in vain, because lives are at stake. If you are not willing to pick up trash by the shore, there are still things you can do to help. So, here are some things that the mayor and even an ordinary citizen can do withut picking up trash by hand:

Make and throw a bokashi ball to a waterway

EM mudball. Photo courtesy of Earthventure, Inc.

Reviving Manila Bay is not just about cleaning the bay itself, but we must also consider waterways connected to it. If you have been to the most recent Escolta Block Party, you probably saw Earthventure, Inc. do bokashi or effective microorganism (EM) mudballs.

Loaded with good microorganisms, the mudball is fairly easy to make. You just combine rice hulls, garden soil or clay, and a dose of microorganisms. The balls are then thrown to a body of water. Each ball consumes the bad bacteria and as it dissolves, it becomes food for various creatures. Each ball can purify one square meter of water, so be sure to invite your friends when you join these activities.

Visit Earthventure’s Facebook page to join their activities.

Fill a bottle with your trash
The trash accumulated along Manila Bay and its surrounding areas is primarily composed of plastic. When we joined a cleanup drive at Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), we discovered that most of the waste materials washed ashore are made of plastic and styrofoam. Surprisingly, there are also tons of slippers; that probably tells us to use durable footwear made of natural materials.

One way to reduce plastic bottles, bags, and wrappers is to join The Plastic Solution. Simply fill plastic bottles with any waste materials (except biodegradable waste). Make sure not to leave any airspace. You can then send the filled bottles to The Plastic Solution. The bottles are repurposed as eco-bricks to build schools and raised gardening beds.

You can also encourage your local government to do other recycling efforts.

Support new technology

It is really difficult to pick up loads of waste materials floating in the ocean. We must admit that doing it by hand would take thousands of people and years to really clean Manila Bay.

However, there are technologies abroad that could probably make Manila Bay’s revival faster. Twenty-two-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat founded The Ocean Cleanup and developed technology that sucks floating waste from the ocean. Then, there’s this solar-powered water wheel used in Baltimore, Maryland that is capable of removing 25 tons of garbage every day.

Photo courtesy of Quartz

While it would be a great idea to support and bring those efforts to the Philippines, it is even a better idea to support the ideas and inventions of great Filipino minds.

Plant mangrove seedlings
Apart from cleaning, the revival of Manila Bay also includes creating a habitat for creatures. LPPCHEA has started to attract various species of birds and sea creatures. Planting mangroves will encourage them to live and breed there. Aside from that, mangroves serve as a protective barrier against flood for various cities.

Ask the Department of Environment and Natural Resources about it.

Be mindful
This is probably the easiest thing to do. Mindful living is the most important key to reviving Manila Bay. This includes throwing your trash properly, because even the smallest plastic bag can cause damages. More than that, being mindful is all about what and how much you consume.

As Marianna Vargas told us, “sustainability is about [being more conscious of] how your choices impact everything else. It’s about being a conscious consumer, of being more thoughtful of and responsible in your choices. Part of the problem we have right now is that people are having a hard time getting out of the convenience of our lifestyles…. You can only use an eco bag so much, you can only change your light bulbs to LED so much, but until we have leaders in place who can actually make the transformative shift, we will only go [a certain distance]. It’s just a lot of effort and some people simply cannot be bothered. Apathy is the worst enemy of environmentalism.”

Reviving Manila Bay requires effort and time. Cleanup drives are good, but it shouldn’t be done in vain. While the effort should come from our leaders, we must not hesitate to talk to them, suggest activities, and voice out concerns.

Read more:
There’s life around Manila Bay, and you can help improve it
You can save Manila Bay
There will be a new “city” in Metro Manila
The solution to Manila’s traffic problem may be in Pasig River

TAGS: cleanup Erap Joseph Estrada manila bay nolisoliph