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“No Plastic Bags Policy”

“And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried: Look at this Godawful mess” Art Buchwald, 1970.

Image via One Green Generation

There is one simple action we can all take that will have an enormous impact on the health of our planet and its inhabitants: Don’t leave the stalls, sari-sari store, and malls, carrying a plastic bag the next time you shop. Just so we know, plastic bags are the most lethal polluters created. Our response will sure help reduce and, eventually, remove plastic bag in circulation.

I’ve started curtailing my “polyethylene consumption” when I was in college (2001) upon stumbling upon a post by our school’s mountaineering association which talked up Reducing Plastic Usage. Just like what I said in my blog entry, The Struggling Servant of Mother Nature, last 15 April 2011, living up to the practice did not happen in a day nor a week. We’re used to these plastic bags and have lived with it for years so acquiring the practice is just like trying to quit smoking. The development towards fulfillment is gradual.

After seven years of practice, I started my campaign at home last March 2009 only. To date, my major accomplishment is I had my mother, wife, and siblings refrain from collecting plastic bags each time they go to  a public market. We have been using basket, or sometimes bigger plastic bag/s as a way of reusing, to take those foodstuffs and small household supplies in. Honestly, the realization that it took that long for me to magnify this advocacy is saddening nevertheless I am proud of pushing on.

For the last three years of my stay in Quezon City, I have not yet seen signs that the No Plastic Bags Policy would reach the corners of the city anytime soon moreso at the public market in our area. I must say that the efforts of the EcoWaste Coalition and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) in staging a campaign against plastic bags in the country at Commonwealth Market, Quezon City was futile because to date, I have not yet heard nor read any development ensuing said campaign last 03 July 2010.

It’s been a practice for market vendors, sidewalk and stall hucksters in particular, to put a single item bought in a plastic bag — may it be a carrot, a mango, fascicle of horse radish tree, or a pile of calamondin. People should know that carrying those stuff and their equivalents through the hands whenever possible, instead of putting them into a plastic bag, can create a ripple effect on the reduction of plastic bags usage, which is undeniably a real and BIG problem now. That proves how less informed the people are on the issues encircling this problem in our place. Hence, I am forced to go to market from time to time with a basket to perform that ceremony of returning their plastic bags. Because of the vendors’ ignorance and reluctance on the matter, I must admit that I sometimes hesitate to pour the sentiment out right away especially if the person’s face “looks” acerbic. However it may be, I am hopeful that these little acts will contribute to the triumph of the policy.

Days before I drafted this post, I researched on possible references via Google. The most important information that I have learned is that, currently, there are only five (5) cities, four (4) towns, and 10 malls across the country who are implementing the No Plastic Bags Policy. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) I thought of quoting more text from those articles but I left off considering that their titles speak for the same cause anyway: providing updates on how far the policy have gone in the country. And here they are in chronological order:

Birds nesting in a tree covered in plastic bag...

Image via Wikipedia

1. Bacolod City’s Ordinance Banning Shopping Bags and Styrofoam – May 18, 2011

2. No Plastic Policy Earned Two Million Pesos (Department of Education) – May 13, 2011

3. Los Baños Also Has ‘No Plastic Policy’ Since 2008 – April 28, 2011

4. Stop Whining, Start Supporting NO Plastic, NO Styro Campaigns – Batangas, April 25, 2011

5. No Plastic Policy in San Francisco, Quezon Province – April 24, 2011

6. DepEd – Roxas City Promotes ‘No-Plastic’ Campaign – March 21, 2011

7. Calapan City To Ban Plastic Bags – February 24, 2011

8. Muntinlupa City Officially Bans Plastic And Styrofoam Through City Ordinance No. 10-109, January 22, 2011

9. Jollibee Centris Station Goes GREEN – October 15, 2010

10. DENR Pushes Reusable Grocery Bags, September 29, 2010

11. Malls To Charge Fee for Plastic Bags Once A Week (Ayala Malls, Ever Malls, Hi-Top Supermarket, Isetann Malls, Makro, Robinson’s Supermart, Savemore, SM Hypermart and SM Supermarkets), September 23, 2010

12. ‘No Plastic, No Styro’ Policy Pushed in Bangued, Abra – August 29, 2010

13. EcoWaste Coalition and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) staged the campaign Against Plastic Bags at the Commonwealth Market – July 3, 2010

14. Marikina City Moves To Ban Plastic Bags – March 31 2009

15. The Struggling Servant of Mother Nature

A public waste bag in Paris displaying the ins...

Image via Wikipedia

For further reading, the following links are recommended:

1. Reducing Plastic Bag Usage

4. The Harmful Effects of Plastic Bags in the Environment

3. Plastic Bags Effect on Global Warming

4. Adopting a Green Lifestyle

5. One Green Generation

6. Greenpeace International

Let us do our part in helping Mother Nature. “There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet” Brooke Medicine Eagle.

Spread the word, please!

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The Mystical Mountain of Maria Makiling

Background

Mt. Makiling is a popular hiking destination. The two major trails begin at the UPLB College of Forestry and Brgy. San Miguel, Sto. Tomas, Batangas. The UPLB trail is more commonly used, taking 4–5 hours to reach the summit (Peak 2). However, this trail is closed as of October 2007 due to trail damage wrought by Typhoon Xangsane on September 2006. The other trail from Sto. Tomas passes by other peaks, is more difficult, and requires 6–7 hours to reach the summit. Both trails are generally established and safe, although throughout the years there have been occasional reports of fatal accidents and injuries, especially on the Sto. Tomas side” (wikipedia.com).

Special Concerns

“During the rainy season, Mt. Makiling is infested with limatik, especially between 600-1000 MASL. Be careful also with the plants and trees, some of them, such as the poison ivy varieties, have pruritic (itch-causing) substances, or thorns. There are reported sightings of snakes but these have become rare nowadays. There are no water sources beyond the Nursery, it is advisable to bring at 2 liters up. Trails can get very slippery on the final 200 meters. But there are station signs from 1-30 (yellow metal cards) — if you do not see one for 30 minutes, review your tracks. Cellphone signal, for its part, is ample in the mountain. Sun cover is so complete there’s no need to wear sunblock. Rain protection is more important, since sudden showers are common in Mt. Makiling” (pinoymountaineer.com).

Notes

Whatever the stories say, there are only three things I remember about Mt. Makiling when I conquered it: astounding views, the pitcher plants and the threat of limatik (blood leeches) inhabiting the “offal” of the mountain. The latter may have prevented me from savoring the place literally but it was not enough to kill the agog spirit of adventurer in me. No wonder the mountain is probably the most preserved in the country because of this mighty army of limatik.

- Mt. Makiling is my sixth subdued mountain (03 August 2010).

For more information (special concerns, how to get to the place, trivia, climbing notes, etc.), click thiswebsite: pinoymountaineer.com.

PS: GE X5