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Buklod ng Kabataan Partner with Green Peace

Several members of Buklod ng Kabataan recently participated in an event called Water Patrol which was run by Green Peace. We had previously worked with Green Peace on a separate water patrol and they invited us to join in this most recent event and we were excited to do it again! We wanted to do this as part of our mission of raising awareness about the environment and Mother Nature and how our actions affect the earth.

In the Philippines many of our rivers are polluted by big companies and factories polluting the water. The whole purpose of Water Patrol is to encourage and persuade local government to pass bills which forces factories to notify the public about what chemicals and pollutants they are putting in their water. This will mean that the communities surrounding the rivers and other water sources will know what is in their water. In water patrol we are working with communities to raise awareness so that the bill can have the backing it needs to pass. In the grand scheme, we hope that if we make a difference in one community it will help spread to the others. Specifically, we’re focusing on the Pasig river.

On the first day of the water patrol we had a one day workshop on what the goal, mission and background of pollution of the water in the Philippines so we would know how we can help and what we can do to solve the problem of water pollution. We learned that we would be supporting the community around the Pasig River. Basically, that is the biggest river in metro manila and it’s polluted with a lot of chemicals. On the Pasig river there are a lot of factories and companies discharging chemical wastes. So, needless to say, the water is not safe. The water smells and is not healthy for even fish anymore, before there were fish in the river and now there are none. The people there are also affected.

On the second day, we went to a community near Pasig River where the water is very dirty, very polluted and unpleasant smelling. We got to talk to folks there and ask questions what is the difference between how the river was before it was polluted with chemicals from the factories and how it is now. We found out that the water before was so clean that they could fish there and now the water is so toxic there are no more fish. If they can’t fish from the water then they can’t get it to cook, and can’t sell it. It affects their livelihood. The water is not healthy to use for practically anything. The older members of the community told us that before the river was so clean but now it looks like a canal because its super dark and you can’t even say that it looks like a river anymore. The riverbanks are no longer full of trees because they were all cut down when the factories and buildings were built.

On the third day we went to a different river, called Daritan. Here the community is very involved in keeping the water clean and preserved. There are not factories on this river, due to both community involvement and the location of the river. This river flows through the mountains so it is not as easy to build factories there. And the folks there are trying, and are succeeding in, preserving its beauty and purity so that they can continue to fish, drink and swim in the water. We saw that there are teams composed of youth and adults, which patrol for anyone who is polluting the water. You can see its success, the river is still so clean and safe in Daraitan.

So at the end of the third day we had a symposium. Ate Heidi was our team leader, she lead the symposium the difference between the two rivers and how we can help solve the problems of the Pasig River and what we learned from our experience. Eventually we would like to start patrol groups like there are around Daraitan.

However, in the shorter term, we made up a plan to have a voice play whose purpose is for the community of Pasig river to understand their situation and the challenges that they will face if they will not change or get involved helping to stop the pollution. A voice play is like theatre but we are going to record our voices and act with our voices. It is kind of like dubbing, we will use equipment to change our voices and mix them together so the audience are just going to listen. They will listen and feel the content. Our goal is the present this voice play to the community of Pasig. We plan to combine this with some forms of theatre. Green Peace will help us to organize this and will be with us in the background supporting us and helping us fundraise. We are really excited about this because we will get to mix in our love and talent for theatre yet again with raising awareness about the environment! The voice play will be a step in building support for the bill.

Its obviously a very long process to make change like this and pass a bill but with time and will we can help make a dent!


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