Siargao leaders bank on ‘eco-bricks’ to address pollution from plastics

THE island of Siargao, the country’s major surfing destination, has joined the rest of the world in adopting a movement to solve the pollution caused by plastic bottles through the so-called eco-bricks.

Eco-bricks are made of used plastic bottles packed tight with used, cleaned and dried plastic to create building blocks that can be used over and over again. Eco-bricks can also be packed with other nonbiological wastes that are toxic to the environment (i.e., styrofoam, wires, small  batteries, etc.).

“This initiative aims to transform plastic waste into building materials for the development of the island and to help provide livelihood for our citizens,” Rep. Francisco Jose F. Matugas II of the First District of Surigao del Norte was quoted in a statement as saying.

The local government and community stakeholders in Siargao Island have started a campaign to rid the fast-rising surfing destination of plastic waste. Siargao’s initiative coincides with the Month of the Ocean, International Day for Biological Diversity, World Environment Day, World Ocean’s Day and the International Year of the Reef 2018, according to Matugas.

Matugas recently joined local government executives from various municipalities of the province, public-school officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations and LGBT groups in conducting an eco-bricks starter workshop in the municipality of General Luna.

General Luna is the site of the world-rated Siargao International Surfing Competition being held annually during the month of September.

Also in attendance at the eco-bricks workshop were the heads of the public high schools from the nine towns of Surigao del Norte, LGBT groups from the municipalities of General Luna, Socorro, Pilar and Santa Monica. Municipal sports coordinators also participated in the workshop.

Matugas added they are mobilizing the community of the island-resort to embark on ecology and livelihood initiatives, amid concerns over environmental issues confronting the country’s tourist destinations.

“We hope to prevent such problems even before we have them here in Siargao,” he said.

According to the group Global Ecobrick Alliance, eco-bricks are used to make modular furniture, garden spaces, walls and even full-scale buildings.

“Eco-bricks are a collaboration powered technology that provides a zero-cost solution for individuals, households, schools and communities,” the group said on its website ecobricks.org. “Eco-bricks are an exciting way that we can take action today to stop pollution and start envisioning a healthier way of living with the cycles of life.”

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