After “declaring war” against plastic in the Silliman campus, Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) Vice President Nikko Calledo said that the “STRAW WARS” campaign aims to get support from 10 local restaurants before December 2015.
STRAW WARS Philippines is a campaign that aims to minimize the use of drinking straws and plastic coffee stirrers within Dumaguete.
Calledo said that restaurants can save more money and gain more customers if they adapt the campaign.
Once a restaurant lessens the use of straws, the Environment Committee of SG will assign the restaurant to provide drinking straws only on selected items.
Calledo said that SU Cafeteria and Captain Ribbers are already participating in the campaign.
“We cannot fully eliminate the use of plastic, but at least we reduce the use of it through the help of these restaurants,” he said.
He added that this campaign move is cost and labor efficient for the committee.
“It won’t require us too many resources, unlike doing seminar. We send letters to restaurants, talk to them, and accredit them once they implement the campaign,” he said.
Although a number of students in the campus are already aware of the campaign, Calledo clarified that the campaign is not about banning straws completely, because there are medical conditions and certain drinks like shakes and frappes that require using straws.
“We’re trying to redefine the anti-plastic campaign. STRAW WARS aims to eliminate unnecessary plastics and single-use plastics that we use in an average of 10 to 15 minutes,” he added.
Calledo suggested students to bring their own tumbler or cups because a straw itself is not safe and clean.
“A straw has toxic chemicals; it’s not a sanitary alternative. The good and sanitary alternative is to bring your own bottle,” he pointed out.
The poster of the campaign stated that “over 500 million straws are produced every day globally” and “most of these straws end up in our ocean and kill at least 1 million seabirds, and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles.”
Calledo’s advocacy won him a place in the Sea and Earth Advocates (SEA) Camp last summer. At the camp, the U.S. Embassy offered a grant of Php10,000 to keep his project going.
By Leslie J. Batallones