Illustration by R.I.M. CruzWHAT’S still wrong with UST?

Despite road and drainage improvements last summer, the University still “sinks” with the rest of España Boulevard during heavy flooding in the rainy season.

In fact, just last August 22, knee-deep flood greeted parents and entrance exam applicants. The flood subsided just in time for the college entrance test the following day.

Fr. Roberto Pinto, O.P., director of the Facilities Management Office, blamed the flood problem on improper waste disposal habits, the campus’ drainage system, and the continued road elevations on Dapitan Street that coincided with repairs of campus roads last summer.

“We have no problem inside the campus. The problem is that our drainage system is connected to España and Dapitan. Once the rainwater overflows in España or Dapitan, the flood inside the University will not subside,” Pinto said.

But for Virgilio Esguerra of Ka-alagad, a Christian environmental movement, the culprit is right at UST’s doorstep.

Esguerra said the use of plastic in the University is the reason for the flood problem in the University.

“If you want to stop the floods in España, then stop using Styrofoams and other plastic products,” Esguerra said during the launch of the University-wide “Styro-Free” campaign last September 3.

The Office for Community Development initiated the project, following the prohibition of Styrofoams at the Tan Yan Kee Student Center last year. A study by the office had shown that UST produces a total of 20 garbage bags filled with Styrofoam materials for each building every day.

Office director Jose Cruz III said the project aims to integrate environmental awareness to Thomasians by avoiding the use of Styrofoams.

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“The memo on the [total ban of Styrofoams] may not have a long-term effect [unless] it is really integrated in the culture and practice of the students,” Cruz said. “We hope it becomes their personal commitments.”

Unlike the total ban of Styrofoam materials in Tan Yan Kee, the campaign will push for the reduction of Styrofoam use among student organizations and restaurants in the University. The office has started negotiations with restaurant owners.

“Personally, [non-use of Styrofoams] is okay but actually, cartons are more expensive. What we do is if ever the students requested [for it], we put them in cartons. Lunchboxes are okay,” said McDonald’s assistant manager Glaiza Ramos.


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