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Being a good neighbor

By: Gloria Estenzo Ramos - Columnist/CDN Digital | March 12,2020 - 07:35 AM

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Growing up in a community where families knew each other and even the member’s birthdays seems like a dream. We had a lot of interaction, and at times a bit of misunderstanding, yet we tried and remained to be each other’s support system. 

Being a good neighbor was a value inculcated in each one, and always being considerate of them was primordial. The values of sincerity, helpfulness and compassion without losing one’s identity were deeply ingrained, and we thank our parents for showing that to us more by their actions rather than words.

The golden rule ‘Do unto others what you would want them to do unto you’ seems like a second invisible skin wrapped in one’s being. 

Life was definitely simpler and a lot more caring then without the instantaneous digital information, and sadly, the throw-away culture that has pervaded the lifestyle of today. 

We brought our own ‘baon’ to school or just had enough money to buy for snacks such as our traditional bibingka, palitaw, cuchinta, puto. There was no such thing as plastic packaging as the old reliable banana leaves were used as wrap for assorted items. We took care of our own refuse as many were largely biodegradable and recyclable. There were no garbage collectors –- yes, we did manage to live sustainably in the past.

Biological summit at UV

This reminiscing of the good old days is largely due to a question posed by participants in the 2nd Biological Summit and Research Conference at the University of the Visayas in its main campus in Colon last week. Thanks for inviting me and a co-speaker, a very inspiring young planetary health leader, Dr. Renzo Guinto, to grace the event. Kudos to the organizer, Cebu Association of Biology Students led by its dedicated President, Wynne Paolo T. Ugang, for a widely participated and enthusiastic engagement by students and teachers from various academic institutions.

With the theme, “People and the Planet: Strengthening Collaboration in Environmental and Health research for a Sustainable Future”, it definitely attained its objectives of promoting a strong culture of collaboration for bio-research and a deep sense of appreciation for the environment and the people through Climate Action.

The health of the planet and the people and non-humans is intertwined and we have lost sight of that. 

Disposable single-use plastics

Focusing on the disposable single-use plastics, we see clearly their negative impacts to our environment, our ocean, and the health and safety of our people and sentient beings. 

It is alarming that a recent screening conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analytical gadget, detected lead, a toxic metal, from 184 to 3,485 parts per million (ppm)  in 17 out of 39 brands of locally-manufactured yellow plastic sando bags.  

“There is no level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects,” according to the World Health Organization. It is a fact that lead exposure is preventable.

We call on our government and the private sector to mainstream the culture of being a good neighbor and to show care for the health of our planet and its inhabitants by stopping plastic pollution at the source and ban the production, trade and use of single-use plastics –- NOW.

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