“PEOPLE need to be aware of our country’s environmental status.”
In line with their Nursing Nature Week, the Nursing Central Board of Students (NCBS) organized a seminar titled “Naturize: An Environmental Colloquium” last September 27 at the Nursing Auditorium.
Students, environmental advocates, and professionals alike agree upon the notion of environmental awareness among Filipinos. From the USTyro-free campaign established two years ago to the deliberation of “Naturize: An Environmental Colloquium,” the struggle for environmental awareness, protection, and preservation has clearly begun.
“It’s really important, these kinds of symposium, because not everybody is aware of the status of our country. ‘It’s very alarming, though I’m not affected directly.’ It may sound cliché but this is also for the future generations,” event emcee Charles Henry Castañeda said in both English and Filipino.
In a presentation delivered by one of the speakers, Marah Sayaman, the tangible truth behind the curtains of environmental predicament was revealed. According to Sayaman, the unparallel biodiversity confirms the depletion of the Philippines’ natural resources. A quarter of the country’s rivers are biologically dead, 23% of the forests are left for conservation, while 35,000 tons of solid waste is generated daily without recycling. With typhoons looming one after the other, nature has taken its toll on us. “Though there is hope still,” she added.
“The symposium emphasizes a small change that can bring about a bigger and better advancement, not just to us, but to the people all over the country,” said Aradhana Ramchandani, a participant of the symposium.
“We have so many malls. Because of this we think that our country’s already developed. But what we don’t see is that because of those developments, we lose our natural resources. It’s a thousand fold more important than anything else,” she added in Filipino.
Styrofoam is noted as one of the most harmful substances for the environment. It is non-biodegradable and takes thousands of years before it completely decomposes. It also takes up 20-30% of land fill space. As food containers, it can cause serious health problems. Styrene, for example, is a component of Styrofoam that is released when heated and can have toxic effect in the body.
The concept of a Styrofoam-free campus started in 2006 when the NCBS launched “Nursing for Nature,” which implemented a handful of environmental projects. It was formally launched in the University in 2010 in partnership with the Student Organizations Coordinating Council (SOCC). The project reached out to students and food establishments within UST to discontinue the use of styrofoam containers. It was more of an advocacy for nature rather than a mandate for everyone to follow.
By Mia Rosienna Mallari