With the last day of classes and end of school year rites set on April 6, a waste and pollution watch group has come up with a set of suggestions and tips that could make your vacation plans greener and healthier.
For a fun but pollution-free summer, the EcoWaste Coalition urged you to take these eco-friendly ideas to heart as you and your folks and friends try to make the most of the summer break, especially during the long school holidays.
“Your summer plans need not worsen the garbage situation in your chosen destinations. Whether you are aiming to go cycling, mountain trekking, swimming or simply going back to your hometowns, you can have a pleasant vacation without harming local environments,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“You also need not expose yourselves and the people you care about, especially the young children and women, to dangerous substances that may be present in products such as swimming toys and cosmetics that are quite popular during summer,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Don’t go it alone. Share these tips with members of your family and with your friends and encourage them to consider these, too,” Alejandre and Dizon added.
Here are the hot tips from the EcoWaste Coalition for a trash-free, toxic-free summer:
Select a destination nearer to home and one that is accessible via non-plane transportation to cut on greenhouse gas emissions.
Take the public transportation, or share the ride; carpool to reduce the number of cars on the streets, reduce road congestion, and reduce vehicular emissions.
When going on a relatively long vacation, consider unplugging household appliances, particularly the refrigerator, to save on electricity. However, do not leave behind items inside the ref that may go stale.
Patronize eco-friendly hotels and recreational facilities that demonstrate care and respect for the environment.
Reuse towels, bed sheets and pillow cases to cut down on laundry and conserve water and energy.
Bring your own toiletries; refrain from bringing home those complimentary personal care items in sachet or tiny plastic bottle to lessen their production, use and disposal.
Don’t forget to bring your own comfy slippers instead of using the short-lived, thin slippers provided by some hotels.
III. DINING, DRINKING AND SHOPPING:
Patronize restaurants that serve beverage and food in reusable containers; check the menu for healthy options.
To lessen consumption of bottled water and sweetened drinks, bring water in a reusable jug every time you go out; also, bring a reusable travel mug to your favorite café.
Bring a bayong or other reusable bags when doing any kind of shopping. Shun single-use carry bags: paper and plastic.
Don’t buy and bring home souvenir products made from endangered species; opt for locally-made handicrafts instead. Refrain from buying painted souvenir items unless guaranteed as lead-safe.
IV. PREVENTING LITTER AND SMOKE:
When visiting beaches, mountains, resorts and parks, be sure to take back everything you bring in. Don’t leave cigarette butts, leftover foods, plastics and other discards behind. Never burn or dump your trash.
For a waste-free outing, go for reusable packaging materials and products that can be cleaned and reused many times such “bayong” and cloth carry bags, reusable dinnerware and cutlery, washable cloth napkins, etc.
Refrain from smoking or, better still, quit for keeps to avoid generating toxic cigarette smoke and butt litter, and the long list of horrible diseases attributable to smoking.
V. GAMES AND TOYS
Shun aquatic toys such as inflatable balls, floaters and rings that are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic that may contain banned phthalates; opt for non-PVC swimming toys that are age-appropriate and do not pose drowning hazard.
So as not to waste water, a precious resource, refrain from using water-based toys such as water guns, soakers and blasters.
Beware of playground equipment that poses chemical hazards such as those decorated with lead-containing paints.
Use recreational products responsibly. Balloons, beach balls, kickboards and swimming floaters that have gone astray, as well as misplaced lines, nets and other fishing gear can injure and kill marine animals.
VI. GOING OUTDOORS:
Reject sunscreen products that may still contain any of these banned preservatives: Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Benzylparaben, Phenylparaben and Pentylparaben. Read cosmetic product ingredients carefully.
Protect yourself from harsh ultraviolet rays: stay in the shade, slip on a shirt, splatter sunscreen on your skin, slap on a hat, and wear shades or sunglasses.
Pick talc-free powder to cool you down in the summer heat; when using talcum powder, be sure to “keep powder away from children’s nose and mouth;” also, refrain from applying talcum powder in the female genital area.