Apr 2, 2019

As if 7,641 islands are not enough, Filipinos are starting to create a “new island” in the Philippines. And this time, it’s made entirely of single-use plastic garbage. Can you believe that?

In a video posted last week by environmental advocate group Greenpeace Philippines, actor Pepe Herrera—known for films Sakaling Hindi Makarating (2016) and Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap (2018)—gave an eye-opening tour of the current state of the coasts of Freedom Island which, apparently, is already sinking in plastic.

“This is literally an island of single-use plastic garbage,” Herrera said while standing on a large pile of plastic waste. “Here, single-use plastic like sachets and all sorts of trash are enough to form their own island.”

Freedom Island is covered by the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area, which was proclaimed a “critical habitat” in 2007 by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for its role of protecting 175 hectares of bird habitats, mangroves, lagoons, and beach forests.

However, since it’s nearby Manila Bay, Freedom Island wasn’t safe from suffering the same fate as most of Manila’s bodies of waters: getting swallowed by plastic pollution.

(READ: Two prominent fast food chains and gov’t offices identified as Manila Bay polluters)

While that’s no secret, a lot of environmental advocates were still appalled upon seeing its current situation. As shown by Herrera, you can literally walk a bit farther from the shore while just standing on the huge pile of dumped plastic trash. Most of it are shampoo, soap, and condiment sachets, plastic bottles, and sacks.

“We can keep cleaning the shores along Manila Bay but plastic never goes away,” Herrera said. So while keeping our beaches clean, he urged the public to stop creating new garbage island by telling large-scale corporations to “stop feeding the plastic monster.”

Greenpeace Philippines added through the post’s caption that, “If we don’t #BreakFreeFromPlastic now, we’d have more islands to welcome.”


Carabao Island

This isn’t the first time Herrera visited a “garbage-made” island.

Last March, the actor, who declared in 2018 that he’s “back and committed” to his job as a beach trash collector, posted on Instagram a view of another island sinking in plastic. He called it the Carabao Island.

“[This is] just a few minutes away from Freedom Island. Both of them are just a few minutes away from Manila Bay. These two islands serve as our unwilling landfill. Or Seafill. Basta dumpsite,” he wrote.

“How long did all these garbage became an island? Lumulutang lang sila at nagsama-sama. Hanggang sa lumaki nang lumaki.”


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A post shared by Pepe Herrera (@pepe.herrera) on

For those who want to join the fight against more plastic-sunken islands and garbage-filled shores, Herrera listed a few things to keep in mind in managing our trash and stopping “the possibility of a horrific future for our children.” Here are his tips:

  1. Use a reusable food and water (metal or glass) container. (Here are some articles you can check out to find reusable cups and tumblers)
  2. Stop using straws. Trust me, you don’t need that trash in your life. (READ: A case against plastic straws: Are they really necessary?)
  3. Use bar shampoos. (There are a lot of variations available like shampoo bars and feminine bars)
  4. Support your local zero waste store. You would be surprised by the amount of trash that you contribute to our dumpsites without reusable containers.

He ended the post with a final reminder: Let’s all start helping our land by not being lazy.

We hope more actors, directors, celebrities and other people who have platforms and reach like Herrera’s will participate in this movement against plastic. It’s about time we start making concrete actions in addressing our environmental problems.


Header image is a screenshot from Greenpeace Philippines’ video

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TAGS: freedom island green Greenpeace Herrera island Pepe Pepe Herrera plastic plastic island pollution south