On Thursday morning, netizens expressed their deepest sympathy as a photo of a dead whale found lying on the shores of Naic, Cavite spreads across social media. The haunting image of the whale’s death, as captioned by the user who uploaded the photo, was a “wake-up call to end plastic pollution”.
The “dead whale” is a sculpture entirely made out of 65-kilograms worth of plastic wastes recovered from the coast. Non-government environmental organization Greenpeace Philippines installed the 50-feet statue of a dead whale in an effort to raise awareness on the effect of plastic pollution on the ocean. It depicts the serious problem faced by the marine ecosystem not only today but more so in the coming years.
As stated by Greenpeace Philipines in a report, only thirty percent of litter floats on the surface of the water, while the remaining seventy percent sinks down to the bottom of the ocean, harming fishes and marine creatures in the deep.
The source of these viral photos is Vince Cinches, an Oceans Campaigner of Greenpeace Philipines. In an interview regarding the launch of the art installation, Cinches mentioned that the town of Naic has the capacity to handle the 65-kilograms amount of waste from this exhibit, making Naic an ideal place to hold the display. Cinches also commended Cavite’s implementation to plastic refusal, acknowledging the province’s ordinance that bans the single use of plastic.
The organization behind the Dead Whale movement appeals to ASEAN member states to set appropriate measures and firmly address this critical issue. “Philippines is in the best position, as the host country, to really take on proactively for this campaign. Considering that five out of ten ASEAN member countries are biggest contributors to the ocean pollution, Philippines should take the lead,” says Cinches.
Based on a research published in Science journal on 2015, it was estimated that 275 million metric tons of plastic wastes were generated by 192 coastal countries in 2010, of which 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons intoxicated the ocean. In the same study, Philippines was reported to be the third largest contributor to ocean plastic, coming after China and Indonesia in the ranking.
In simple ways, everyone can actively help and take part in this movement by considering the following:
- Individual consumers can bring their own reusable bags when going to the market or grocery, bring their own mugs when going to cafes, use reusable drinking straws instead of the plastic and avoid buying in plastic sachets;
- Business owners and manufacturers can share the responsibility in minimizing production of plastic by implementing a buyback option;
- The local government can strengthen the implementation of solid waste management laws.
The time to act is now. If you believe in the importance of responsible waste management for ocean protection among ASEAN countries, help Greenpeace Philippines in their advocacy by signing their petition here.
The sculpture is displayed in Sea Side Beach Resort, Naic, Cavite until Sunday, May 14, 2017. Visit the “dead whale” and grab the opportunity to educate the next generation on the negative effects of plastic pollution.