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Mass com students hold symposium on water bottles

To raise awareness of the negative impacts of plastic bottles, a group of six mass communication students taking Environmental Journalism 53 – Environmental Campaigns organized the Bottles Out Campaign Symposium last Sept. 12 at Silliman Hall.

The group is called the Traning from Roots to Enrich the Environment (TREE). They organized the symposium in an NSTP-CWTS session to reach out to the freshmen.

The TREE members are Kateleen Ogabang, Alana Gayle McCulloch, Richelle Osumo, Santia Onnycha Ursabia, and Lovelein Catubay. TREE also aims to reduce the use of plastic bottles in Silliman University (SU).

The speakers were Armand Adanza, coordinator of the Integrated Solid Waste Management Program of Environmental and Natural Resources Office (ENRO); Edwin Romano Jr., chair of the Negros Oriental State University chemistry department; and Ra’z Salvarita, founder of the Gugma Gaia.

Adanza talked about existing programs in the city on solid waste management. He believes that managing plastic bottles, like plastic bags, is one of the main problems of Dumaguete City.

“The problem with Dumagueteños is that they don’t segregate their wastes, making it hard for the city government to manage solid waste,” he said.

Some of the local initiatives of ENRO are reducing the volume of garbage waste in Dumaguete from 60 tons to 30 tons, implementing strictly the Integrated Solid Waste Management of Dumaguete City or City Ordinance No. 115, among others.

The ordinance requires the segregation of solid waste into biodegradable, non-biodegradable, and toxic and hazardous wastes.

Adanza, also an SU alumnus, added that he knows Sillimanians are environment lovers.

Meanwhile, Romano spoke on the effects of water bottles in the human body.

He said that plastic bottles usually belongs to the polyethylene terephthalate (PETE)

family of plastics.

“PETE is also used in soda cans. It is an endocrine disruptor, affecting the hormones in your body like estrogen and other reproductive hormones,” Romano said.

Salvarita, the 3rd speaker, shared in his lecture titled “Junk to Funk” that there are 2.6 trillion garbage in the world, and reducing it is in the matter of attitude of people towards it.

“I think that if we have the desire to change our attitude of throwing everything after using these, then to make a difference is possible,” Salvarita said.

He added that society has to transform the materials they use to something creative and useful than throw them away.

by Andrea D. Lim

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