More plastic in the ocean than fish in the sea

Inga Neilsen – Foreign Correspondent Study Tour

Maquinit, a humble coastal village of Coron is recycling its way to a clean and sustainable way of living.

Bright blue water isn’t the only thing that glistens along its coastline – the beachfront sparkles with an abundance of litter and glass and plastic bottles.

Maquinit village is home to picturesque waters but is littered with rubbish.

Almost seven thousand tonnes of plastic is wasted every day in the Philippines, of which 81 per cent is mismanaged according to the 2015 United Nations Environment Program Report.

The same report predicts that globally there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

Proud of Maquinit’s picturesque landscape, locals have begun using bottles in innovative ways to recycle and keep their beaches clean. One example is the use of glass bottles for home flooring.

Eden Ortego, owner of the first home to recycle glass bottles in this way, says that it is a cheap and sustainable option.

“The bottles are collected from the village, smashed and combined with gravel to make cement for the floor,” Mrs Ortego said.

“We used glass bottles to recycle and also to pay less for our flooring, it definitely helps the environment and is cheaper to use.”

“This is the first house to use glass bottles for the floor but I think many people will use this in the future.”

Glass bottles are collected, crushed and combined with gravel to make cement flooring for homes.

Younger generations are also showing interest in an environmentally friendly future for Maquinit.

Poebeyanna Mazo, known around the village as ‘Yanna’, is only 15 years old and is influencing others to think twice about where they put their rubbish.

Yanna has started collecting plastic bottles from the beach and filling them with other pieces of plastic. She says that the filled bottles can be compressed and used to make bricks, chairs, tables and pots.

“Non-biodegradable plastics and trash can be put inside the bottles, then beaten down with a stick – this makes the rubbish hard, so it can be used for furniture,” Yanna said.

“I came up with this idea because of all of the plastics everywhere.”

“The problem is that a lot of people in the village don’t know about this yet, or what to do with the rubbish.”

Yanna Mazo has started collecting plastic bottles from the beach and filling them with litter to make bricks, chairs, tables and pots.

The Green Philippines Network Foundation is an environmental protection organisation that inspired Yanna to start recycling bottles and cleaning the local beach.

Yanna said that funding from non-government organisations such as the Green Philippines Network Foundation and cooperation from locals would help kickstart the bottle recycling program.

Ultimately, the future of Maquinit is in the hands of locals. Sustainable practices can be established, but participation is crucial to see beautiful beaches remain long into the future.

Locals cry out for funding and support to assist with establishing local recycling programs.