As the Philippines prepares for opening ceremonies of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, an environmental group advocating zero waste shared suggestions on how the international event can be environment-friendly.
With thousands of athletes and staff participating in the Games, Break Free From Plastic and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) raised concerns about the SEA Games' use of single-use plastic, which may cause serious harm to the environment, humans and animals.
"We pose a challenge to organizers, athletes, and the public to go Zero Waste and plastic-free at the SEA Games," Beau Baconguis, plastics campaigner at GAIA Asia Pacific and Asia coordinator at Break Free From Plastic, said in an e-mail.
"Gold, silver, and bronze medals are good but the real winners are the environment heroes who bring with them their message of not polluting the environment," she wrote. "With the proper information, communication, and execution, reducing the event’s impact on the environment is a piece of cake."
"Other communities have hosted Zero Waste and plastic-free events, we can do this at the SEA Games," Baconguis said.
Among the tips the groups listed are the following.
For Organizers, sports venues, and hotels:
- Provide water-refilling stations.
- Encourage food concessionaires and food caterers to go plastic-free.
- Facilitate proper waste segregation by providing properly labelled trash bins.
- Do away with sachets of everyday products such as sugar, shampoo and conditioner. Provide dispensers instead.
- Avoid food wastage.
- Do not send waste to incinerators or thermal waste-to-energy facilities.
- Post signages to ensure that people understand what is being done with the waste.
- Make sure the recycling and composting options are clearly stated during the event to ensure proper use of all containers.
- Staff each waste station with trained waste hero volunteers.
- Encourage carpooling among attendees.
- When sending out invitations, clearly advertise that one of the goals of the event is to reduce waste.
- If any, keep decorations to a minimum.
- Minimize the number of things people bring inside the venue.
For athletes, sports fans, and guests:
- Refuse single-use disposables.
- Bring reusable water bottles.
- Bring reusable cutlery and food containers especially when eating out to do away with single-use plastic packaging.
- Bring reusable bags for any mementos you might want to purchase.
- Avoid wasting food.
- Choose hotels and food establishments that encourage zero waste practices.
- Do not litter.
- Plastic waste remains a serious problem for the Philippines as it is among the world's worst ocean polluters.
- READ: UN: Philippines, Southeast Asian countries need tougher anti-plastic policies