Weigh of Sachet
Sharaine Ghail T. Taaca
Water moved in swirls around his limbs, creating a sense of freedom and happiness. He makes his way through the waters he has known all his life. He surfaces and breaks the top to feel a cool breeze rather than the keen sting of his eyes while luring the waters.
It seems no more alive from above than a bucket of water, but underneath there is more life than the skies above or the land it kisses. For Rodney, the ocean is his brother, of watery depths and beauty. Upon the bluest of waves come a million flashing lights reflecting thin and transparent sheets. The ocean that was blue just yesterday, lapping the golden sands with the cold water of an early spring tide is filled with varieties of plastics.
ENABLING THE DEPRIVED
Sachet, a form of small plastic packaging, has become popular in the Philippines. They’ve rendered things that would otherwise be out of reach for unfortunate Filipinos, and they’ve been a lifeline for many who can’t afford to purchase larger, and more expensive containers.
Used pouches have piled up in vacant fields, accumulated in sewers, and flowed into rivers and seas in places like Manila with spotty garbage collection, contributing to a surplus of plastic debris that Asian countries have come to consider as an environmental disaster.
These packets offer basic household necessities to some poorest citizens. It’s a way for the manufacturers who make them boost profits by focusing on consumers that can’t afford larger amounts.
“In terms of affordability, yes, it’s what’s within reach of lower classes of the society. But if you look at it in the long run, the effects, you know, do not outweigh what is being promoted by the manufacturers,” Abi Aguilar of Greenpeace Philippines said.
There is no doubt that sachets have improved the quality of goods available to deprived populations. The issue is that they’ve turned into a waste nightmare. Environmentalists contend that the producers have to innovate their delivery processes if they have the financial means to do so.
The world is currently in a condition of decline, and we are
the only ones to blame. Global calamities and environmental concerns are clear indicators of the planet’s decline. Humans are rash in their decision-making when it comes to dealing with these issues. The actual issue is a lack of understanding, recognition, and acceptance of this terrifying situation.
“Throughout the years, our environment is suffering because of our irresponsible behavior as human beings. We let our ignorance and greed prevail which is slowly leading our environment from its proliferation to the brim of its immediate destruction,” Rodney Arnolf Opu-an, a STEM 12 student
of the University of San Agustin and an environmental advocate shared.
According to a 2015 survey by the University of Georgia, the Philippines is ranked third in the world for struggling to cope with plastic waste. The study found that 81 percent of the nation’s plastic waste was mismanaged. The Philippines’ solid waste law is poorly imposed, and packaging production is not regulated.
The Asian Development Bank and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines estimated that by 2020, the country will need 200 new landfills the size of the existing Manila landfill. Estimates differ, but in the metropolitan Manila region, a factor of 0.7kg per person is used, with a daily capacity of about 22,000 tons of municipal garbage projected to rise to 28,000 tons in 10 years.
“Corporations have greatly benefited from these products but they are not made accountable for the pollution that comes along with its production and disposal,” Miko Aliño, program manager at Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives the Asia Pacific said.
No one bothers to clean up discarded sachets that have been incorrectly deposited because there is little economic reason to do so. In comparison, a one-liter plastic bottle that has been collected and returned for its deposit could be worth anything.
These sachets clog drains and floods when dispersed randomly. All of the trash was washed up by the waves, endangering not just the birds who could mistake it for food, but also the fish and other marine life.
CLOSING THE LOOP THROUGH RIPPLE EFFECTS
A lot is going on around the world to identify and address one of this
generation’s most important environmental issues, and we should do our best
to stay on top of it.
Turning the tide against the sachet dilemma will be a challenge to us humans but through our collective contributions and actions as individuals, we can influence and educate our fellows to start working on a free single-use plastics and sustainable community. By joining and supporting organizations to address this issue, we can turn the impossible into reality by painting a vision of the world we want to see and give to future generations.
“Attaining a certain goal requires an attitude of perseverance and utmost willingness and that is also the same in championing for the environment. By bidding adieu to our toxic perception and breaking the cycle of our harmful actions, we can achieve a world where everybody is generating simple yet meaningful actions for our environment,” Opu-an said with enthusiasm displayed as he expressed the environmentalism within him.
Set up a platform where we can involve each individual in fighting and demanding environmental accountability for if only we create mechanisms to engage every individual then they will be enlightened to respond to the call in preserving the environment. Take a pledge to reduce your single-use plastics. Keep track of how much you use these products and swap them with recycled alternatives. It just takes a few days of taking your bags to the supermarket, silverware to the office, or a tumbler to make it a habit.
What was once a paradise to Rodney is now no longer to be restored. The sand that has the gentlest gold shade, almost earthen and subdued, and is the scene’s modest star is now draped with plastics. He then realized that greed and inequality have wreaked such havoc on the atmosphere that Earth’s life-sustaining structures are now irreparably damaged. He pulls himself to standing yet as he extends her hand in the air, he nearly clear-fells.
The homes are clean, the parks pristine, the pollution kept outside the dome. He was told that the rest of the planet is a barren wasteland, home only to the pollutants they throw from their bubbles. His eyes listen to the light as it plays upon the seawater as she stands on the sunny sand, watching the rising gold then whispered, “I’m sorry. They are left with no options, they are poor and these are what they can only afford – sachets.”
Published: April 25, 2022