Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christmas shoppers told: Be nature friendly

THE Philippines is said to have the longest Christmas celebration in the world and attached to it are the early preparations for the biggest event this year.

As the holiday extravaganza kicks in, an environmental group advised shoppers and motorists on how to make their Christmas experiences fun and nature friendly.

“With the huge amounts of fossil fuels spent, greenhouse gases emitted and trash created during the most festive time of the year, Christmas can be ‘traumatic,’ instead of fun, for the climate and Mother Earth,” said Roy Alvarez, president of the EcoWaste Coalition.

According to the group’s “Climate Change Survival Guide”, the extraction, transportation, processing, manufacturing, marketing and advertising and disposal of these products consume lots of energy and all result in greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet.

This means that every time we buy something, energy was used to produce that item and get it to us, using up planet’s finite resources and causing emissions at every step of the path, the EcoWaste Coalition explained.

“We make the holiday pollution worse by our failure to embrace the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) as core practices in our personal, family and community lifestyles,” said Alvarez, adding that a stinking garbage would surely ruin the yuletide spirit.

Data from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) showed that people here dump 6,000 metric tons of trash daily.

Things however are expected to turn ugly on holiday breaks as the metropolis’ garbage production can even go up by a third or even double in some areas. The nation’s capital region has more than 12 million inhabitants.

After the merrymaking and celebration of the Savior’s birth, common sightings in some of Metro Manila’s streets are bins and bags overflowing with plastic garbage, packaging materials, kitchen discards and party leftovers.

Ugly and smelly dumps also thrive on street corners and around market areas, commented the EcoWaste Coalition.

To avoid an upsetting Christmas celebration for Mother Earth, EcoWaste called on shoppers to organize and plan trips to the wet market, supermarkets or malls to reduce transportation costs as well as ease holiday traffic jams.

Aside from that, the group urged the public to bring their own bayong or reusable carry bags, buy in bulk to cut on product cost as well as packaging waste and select products made of recycled materials and with the most recycled contents.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, for his part, asked shoppers to patronize products of companies or organizations known to implement green practices in their business processes.

Paje suggested foregoing the usual gift wrappers and instead packaging gifts in “bayong” or reusable bags as a way of reducing the amount of disposable plastic bags that clog the nation’s waterways.

“We hope these tips, which were suggested by our affiliates, would help our people in lessening the environmental impacts of our merry Christmas celebration and making it in harmony with faith, life and nature,” Alvarez said.


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