IN AN effort to mitigate the harmful effects human activities on the environment, future Thomasian hoteliers and restaurateurs were encouraged to fulfill their roles as stewards of creation through “green hospitality,” in a seminar at the Accountancy Multipurpose Hall last May 4.

“In planning structures for hotels and restaurants, we could use biological control agents [such as guppies, a freshwater fish] to help diminish the growth of mosquitoes in certain areas,” said Gregg Yan, communications and media manager of the World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines and Earth Hour Philippines Asia-Pacific Association of Communication Directors.

Yan cited the Nuvali Retention Pond, which serves as a breeding ground for koi fish that are distributed to Ayala Land establishments. The pond also serves as a flood control basin, with the help of plants known for their water-holding capacity.

Florence Lavador, technical services manager of Hotel & Spa Essentials Inc., said conserving the environment should not compromise the quality of the services sector. For instance, “green” hotels save more money and have a better public image.

“Use of eco-friendly products might be considered expensive, initially, but in the long run you can see their satisfactory value and from there you got to save up,” she said. “You can come up with eco-friendly products such as EcoKnit, a technically advanced and energy efficient towel and biodegradable packaging materials for toiletries.”

Studies have shown that environmentally friendly hotels have better employee retention, customer loyalty, and profitability. Studies have shown that approximately 54 percent of a hotel’s solid waste could be recycled and reused.

Lavador recommended switching to low-flow toilets and shower heads using toilet-tank fill diverters, to conserve water. Switching from old appliances to newer ones can also conserve more electricity.

Training and coordination among hotel staff, environmental action plans and in-house “green teams” assignments can also bolster a hotel’s environment-friendly performance.

Yan said environmental protection should start in the household. People can opt to use solar panels as a source of electricity. Rainwater can be collected and used for cleaning, and guppies instead of insecticides can be used as a safer way of killing mosquitos.

Thomasian stewardship

The event also emphasized the University’s take on environmental protection, starting with the Ambag 2021 Kalikasan project launched on April.

Mark Abenir, director of the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office, said one of the University’s goals was to include environmental advocacy in its vision and mission statements, emphasizing “proactive and environmental stewardship” towards God’s creation.

A committee or a center for environmental sustainability and action can be responsible for coordinating with the different faculties and colleges in devising their own environmental policies, he said.

Aside from the inclusion of environmental education in the curriculum, environmental campaigns can also be conducted through training sessions and seminars, to raise environmental consciousness among Thomasians.

Policies toward decreasing the University’s carbon footprint, regulation of air-conditioning units, and the use of LED lights and renewable energy sources were also recommended.

Thomasians were encouraged to observe a “zero-waste” policy, by minimizing the use of straws and tetra-pack drinks, and the improvement of waste segregation.

The program ended with a pledge of commitment, where students vowed to commit to the preservation of the environment when they become professionals and to support the University’s policies on environmental conservation.


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