Talents: Youth Volunteers Challenge La Union to Go Plastic-Free

15 Mar 2015, San Fernando Palengke/Market, La Union. Every 15 minutes, 516 single-use plastic bags leave the four major exits of the public market in San Fernando, La Union. A large portion of this makes its way to residential canals, rivers and into the ocean.

With a goal of educating buyers and sellers about the plastic problem, a group of fearless students, out-of-school youth, and young volunteers have taken action to tackle the source of the problem itself – our dependence on single-use plastics when we buy our food.

Photo Caption
Ilocos Sur Estero.jpg An estero just beside the Public Market. It leads towards the nearby residential area and leads out to the creek by the Barangay Hall of Ilocanos Sur, San Fernando La Union. According to a study conducted by the Ocean Conservatory in 2017, the Philippines is the third leading contributor of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Most of the plastic wastes here will breakdown into micro-plastics, will ultimately go into the sea, and will likely be consumed by marine life, including the fresh fish we eat.
LINK Co founder Mickey Galang.jpg LINK Co-Founder Mikey Galang  and youth volunteers getting the materials ready before the 8AM.  The Lupon ng mag Indibidwal na Nangangala sa Kalikasan (LINK) is a group comprised of students and out-of-school youth dedicated towards guarding the environment by being proactive citizens, environmental volunteers, and eco-guardians.
 LINK Co founder Mickey Galang LINK Co-Founder and YES Adviser Celso Jucutan briefing volunteers on how to explain how plastics are not only unsustainable, but also hazardous to health and the environment. The Young EarthSavers Society is a student organization in Don Mariano Marcos State University – Bacnotan.
LINK President Steven Angelo LINK President Steven Angelo and LINK Volunteer interviewing and educating vendors on the impact of single-use plastics, and how to sell without plastics.
Mang Kanor Mang “Kanor” sharing his insights on the single-used plastic problem, “The problem is not the plastics, it’s the people.”

In the San Fernando Market Alone, it is estimated that minimum of 48,000 single-use plastic bags are taken home by buyers each day. That’s more than 17,280,000 single-use plastic bags every year, in just one Public Market.

THe PLastic Solution Marc Maravilla.jpg The Plastic Solution Volunteer, Marc Maravilla teaching his “sukis” the benefits of using a reusable bag instead of single-use plastic bags. The PlastEAric Solution is a movement of repurposing plastic bottles by stuffing the bottles with non-biodegradable wastes such as plastics, straws, cigarette butts, sachets, food wrappers and the like, and reusing them as building materials in communities.
Laura Plastic Free.jpg La Union Soul Volunteer and Marine Biologist Laura Riavitz, educating buyers on adopting reusable bags and forgoing single-use plastic bags. La Union Soul is group that seeks to create, collaborate, and implement eco-education campaigns in on-ground and in different communication channels, including social media.
 Colin Plastic Free.jpg La Union Soul Volunteer and Linguist Firth McEachern, selling his fruits and vegetables in the local language — Ilokano. Language barrier is one of our challenges in spreading awareness on this campaign. Thus, the volunteers used different communication methods, mostly Ilokano and Tagalog in communicating with the consumers.

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