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Environmentalists call on youth to adopt zero waste living

photo by JANINE C. PEREA
photo by JANINE C. PEREA

STUDENTS SHOULD partake in achieving a zero waste surrounding as early as now to attain a sustainable world in the future, environmentalists from different countries told Thomasians in a forum held Thursday.

“What we could do to the environment today will affect not just you, not just your children, not just their children, but eight generations,” said Jorge Emmanuel, a professor from Siliman University in the third Zero Waste Youth Convergence held at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex Auditorium.

Data from Zero Waste United States of America revealed that an average of 1.2 pounds is being wasted in the world every day. Meanwhile, the Philippines generated an average of 1.1 pounds of waste per day in 2011, a study from the United Nations Environment Programme showed.

Rahyang Nusantra, executive director of Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik, said students can use social media to become “green ambassadors,” but they should not depend on it solely.

“We are millennials [who] talk so much on social media but it’s not enough. We have to show our real action. Be your friend’s role model. You don’t [need] a crowd to be green ambassadors, right?” Nusantra said.

Reusing, reducing, and composting should also be considered when maintaining a clean environment aside from recycling, which promotes the production of non-biodegradable products, James Kaminski of Zero Waste Canada said.

“Recycling is really the end of the world. It’s really the last option we want to deal with. We really want to get more into reuse and reduce in our waste,” he said.

Other speakers in the event were from environmental groups Zero Waste International Alliance, Zero Waste Europe, Zero Waste Youth Brazil, Zero Waste Pilipinas, and World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific.

Students from De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, Mapua Institute of Technology, Philippine Women’s University, Miriam College, St. Scholastica’s College, and Philippine Christian University attended the meeting.

In 2014, former President Benigno Aquino III declared January as “National Zero Waste Month” to promote reusable products, eliminate toxicity of waste, and conserve and recover resources.

The third Zero Waste Youth Convergence was part of the Zero Waste Festival hosted by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) and co-organized by the University of Santo Tomas Sociological Society. F ANGELIQUE ANNE F. TORRES

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