A youth council in Laguna encouraged people in their community to donate plastic bottles in exchange for school supplies.
The Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) of Barangay Banilad in Nagcarlan, Laguna launched the project called “SK Palit Plastic Bottle Sari-Sari Store” in which residents can exchange their plastic bottles for notebooks, pencils and crayons, among others.
Plastic bottles are supposed to be 1.5 or 1.75 liters in order to be donated.
For a donation of a plastic bottle, one can receive a pencil sharpener. Two plastic bottles can merit a notebook and a pencil sharpener while four bottles can be exchanged for a box of an 8-set colored crayons.
Small plastic bottles can also be donated as well, where a single bottle can earn you an eraser, according to Banilad Village Youth Council President Laurence Sombilla in an interview.
“(We want) the environmental youth army to realize that their small actions have (a) big impact in saving our environment,” he shared.
People can also donate additional school supplies for the project itself.
Banilad Youth Council Secretary Serafin Sombilla disclosed that all of the donated bottles would be recycled as trash bins, vertical gardens and chairs.
Social media users who saw the particular youth council’s post lauded the initiative and claimed that other SKs should follow Barangay Banilad’s lead.
“‘Yan ang SK… Hindi sa palaro at paliga lang nakikilala… Saludo ako sa naka-isip niyan! More power and God bless po!” a Facebook user wrote.
“Kung ganito ba naman lahat ng mga SK eh susuportahan ko sila. Hindi ‘yung paliga at pasayaw lang ang alam nila,” another user commented.
SKs have been criticized for being “freeloaders” in the government and for its supposed corrupt practices.
Charles Ladia, a youth advocate, shared that he was “dissuaded” to run as an SK before since there have been issues of “corruption, nepotism and recurring programs focusing on sports festivals and pageantry only.”
Former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez previously mentioned that SK officials do not perform their duties in the local government as mandated.
“The truth is, they don’t really work. The ones who are hardworking are the barangay captains,” he said in Filipino before.
On recycling and plastic pollution
There have been initiatives to reduce the country’s usage of plastic ever since a 2015 report revealed that the Philippines was one of the third largest contributors to plastic pollution in the ocean.
A similar study released that year noted that the Philippines produced 6,237,653 kilograms of plastic wastes daily and that 81 percent of it was considered “mismanaged” or not disposed of properly.
Since then, environmental groups and advocates have been pursuing efforts to reduce plastic usage and recycle them in different ways.
EcoWaste Coalition urged candidates of the recently concluded elections to gather their respective campaign paraphernalia like tarpaulins and upcycle them into different materials.
The group shared pictures of the materials they have creatively reused into shopping bags, string bags, pencil cases, shoe bags and school supplies, among others.
Thorny Dizon, the group’s chemical safety campaigner, said that the initiative was made to prevent people from throwing or burning tarpaulins which can release chemicals harmful to human health and the environment.