After seeing plastics floating in the seas of Bohol during a low tide, Miguel Teves, 12 years old, challenged himself to do something about it.
For a kid who loves swimming, it pains Miguel seeing the seas and the oceans become polluted and inhabitable.
Unlike other kids his age, Miguel does not like playing gadgets. Instead, he founded a movement to raise awareness about the effects of single-use plastics in our oceans, Plastic Free Duma.
Miguel said, “Plastic takes 200 years to become micro plastics, and these are very tiny that it can be easily ingested by fishes. These fishes could end up in your plate.”
He commented that Dumaguete coast areas are filthier compared to other beaches he has visited outside the city.
Because of his desire to keep the environment clean, Miguel initiated and encouraged his family to start doing coastal clean-ups starting at Silliman beach.
“As a Dumagueteño, I don’t want to be passive about what (the pollution that) I see,” he said.
Since August, Miguel, together with his family, has conducted clean up drives every Saturday, 4 p.m. at Silliman Beach.
He plans to purchase trash bins to be installed in the area as soon as they collect enough funds from the clean-up drives.
To support his son’s cause, Mikel Teves, Miguel’s father, said that they are using their own vehicles in delivering the collected garbage to Candau-ay dumpsite.
Instead of using plastic straws, they use stainless metal straws in their local restaurant to support their advocacy.
“At home, we are using eco-bags for shopping and tumblers for drinking,” Mikel added.
On the other hand, Miguel took to social media his Plastic Free Duma advocacy. He created an Instagram account which now has 227 followers.
International Coastal Clean-up
Not many people expect a young boy to be so passionate about the environment. Because of that, Miguel’s movement caught the attention of other environmental groups.
Plastic Free Duma was one of the five organizing groups of the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) and Brand Audit last Sept. 16 at Silliman beach.
Seeing a huge amount of garbage compared to what they usually collect on Saturdays, Miguel became more motivated to strengthen his advocacy.
The supportive father, Mikel, did not expect that other groups will be interested to collaborate with them since it was just supposed to be a “family thing.”
They are still inviting more people, including Miguel’s classmates and friends, to participate in their regular clean-ups.
Miguel hopes that one day Plastic Free Duma will become bigger and better.