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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Caramoan, Philippines

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Caramoan, Philippines
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Registered: December 2018
City/Town/Province: Yucaipa
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Riding into the Guijalo port of Caramoan, Philippines, one of the most beautiful places in the world, all I see is trash. Though it is famously called the 'Pearl of the Philippines', the scene is ruined by the huge mountain of trash that is piled up to the side of the port. The local landfill was recently closed and though the local government has tried to implement a new system for sorting and disposing of trash, most of the people do not do it. The majority of the people do not want to use the new system preferring to continue to dump their trash in the rivers and oceans or to burn it. This obviously causes many issues as the trash dumped in rivers and oceans causes pollution as well as a loss of habitat and danger to animals while the plastic that is burned can cause serious health problems like asthma, especially in children.

As a young person passionate about the environment I have been deeply concerned about the trash problem. I have been helping organize trash clean-ups with other young people on behalf of Reefs for Life and the Nicodemus Wilderness Project and this has brought more awareness about the trash problem here in Caramoan. But just organizing trash clean-ups isn't going to solve the problem as I see children walking home from school carelessly tossing their trash on the ground. Recently, I heard about something called Ecobicks. These are plastic bottles that are filled with plastic and then used as bricks or building blocks for anything from walls to chairs. I thought that this would be a good idea to spread because If everyone in the community began stuffing their plastic trash in plastic bottles, we could reduce the trash and use these 'bricks' to build something. However, it would take a long time and not to mention a lot of resources for me to spread this project to all of Caramoan. That is why I decided to first take this project to the local college that trains teachers that then go to different schools all throughout Caramoan. If I could teach and train these future teachers to make Ecobricks they could then take Ecobricks to all of the schools in Caramoan. The first thing I had to do was teach and train a few volunteers how to make Ecobricks which I did by planning a volunteer meeting. After this we got permission to do a demonstration on Ecobricks in the local college where we were able to train and inspire the students to begin making Ecobricks at home as well as teaching their students to do so as well. Although it may take awhile to see all of the benefits of the project that we started, I believe that we have laid a good foundation and I hope that the community will get behind the project and see its benefits.

Eco-Bricks is starting to spread throughout Caramoan like wildfire! There are now schools that I have never visited that are now making Eco-Bricks. Schools are asking for help in choosing projects to use their Eco-Bricks. I have also suggested to the local government that they use rice as an incentive for communities to make Eco-Bricks. One local community is now making Eco Bricks and the local government will give them 1/2 kilo of rice for every two Eco-Bricks. This community will be contacting us when they have made their first 200 Eco Bricks so that they can get help making a guard house (their chosen project). This guard house will serve as a base of operations for those who are guarding the Marine Sanctuary of the community. We are finally seeing a difference in the amount of trash here in Caramoan. I believe that through Eco-Bricks we are training the next generation to be more aware of the single use plastic they are consuming and to be responsible with it.

I have learned an incredible amount serving my community with this apprentice ecologist project. I have realized that it is impossible to make a difference if I am the only one who is willing to make changes. I need to lead, inspire and influence others so that we can impact the world around us, together. I know that I cannot stop here. There is still so much work and change that needs to be done not only here in Caramoan but throughout the world. I hope that I can use my education to continue to help and serve others in projects like these.
Date: December 28, 2018 Views: 5034 File size: 17.2kb, 1261.3kb : 1732 x 1154
Hours Volunteered: 720
Volunteers: 40
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 15 to 25
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