September 30, 2023

True to the 3rd Saleng Festival’s theme, “Amplifying Voices for Environmental Advocacy,” 188 students of the University of the Philippines Baguio Campus raised their voices on solid waste matters after an environmental-themed lecture last July 21. 

The students from the Colleges of Science, Social Sciences, and Arts and Communication listened to City Environment and Parks Management Office assistant head Engr. Marivic Empizo; Leah Tuxon, representative from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization; and Ma. Agnes Garcia of the Zero Waste Baguio, Inc.

Empizo talked about eco-consciousness, technology and sustainability; the city’s programs against environmental degradation through efforts from the different groups including the community, socio-civic groups, non-government organizations, churches, businesses, academe and other active groups.

Tuxon explained what electronic wastes are, the harmful components, and ways to dispose of them. 

Garcia spoke about solid waste management and her group’s advocacy against single use plastics (SUP). 

UPB Chancellor Dr. Corazon Abansi shared how technological advancement and active student participation can lead to ecologically sustainable living.

Other speakers were Dr. Paul Samuel Ignacio and Assistant Prof. Deign Frolley Soriano, both of UPB; and Melecio Balangen from the Department of Science and Technology.     

The Cepmo-initiated half-day seminar involves students as they integrate their endeavors with sustainable environmental practices. A solid/e-waste management workshop followed that collated students’ plans and visions. 

A basic waste segregation seminar was proposed with a six months trial period and implementation in dormitories and transients. The practice should be a basic requirement in the renewal of permits and licenses for real estate lessors, the students said.    

They proposed the reduction of SUPs as packing in groceries, supermarkets and food establishments and the use of eco-bags, and personal containers, including that for “tingi” or smaller portions of products. They emphasized everyone should be responsible in reducing solid waste, especially of non-biodegradables and incentives; and suggested incentives for individuals and establishments who encourage less SUPs use.

Water fountains were suggested in the campuses to lessen the use of plastic containers, but the use of reusable water containers is encouraged.    

The use of organic and/or biodegradable materials for cutlery was also suggested, with accompanying research and survey on its macro-effect in food or grocery.

The students view a long-term research on green spaces, garden rooftops, integrated plants on outer walls, and updating and monitoring of remaining green spaces in Baguio with allotment of great percentage of architectural structure in engineering spaces. 

The students also proposed conducting a case study of vehicle carbon and ecological footprint and highly quality renewable energy sources, among other suggestions. – Julie G. Fianza