Go beyond hashtags, embrace ‘zero-waste’ lifestyle, youth urged

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Environmental scientist Jorge Emmanuel talks about the environmental and health hazards of incineration. Photo by Deejae S. Dumlao

AN INDONESIAN environmentalist has urged young people to go beyond social media in campaigning against environmental destruction.

“We are millennials who talk so much on social media but it’s not enough. We have to show our real action,” Rahyang Nusantara, executive director of Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik, said in a forum at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex Auditorium last Jan. 26.

Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik, or the Indonesia Movement Plastic Bag Diet, is an association promoting the “responsible and environmentally harmless” use of plastic bags.

Nusantara called on students to reflect on the role they can play to achieve “zero waste” by recycling plastic materials.

Jorge Emmanuel, environmental scientist and professor at Siliman University, warned against the negative effects of waste incineration.

“When you incinerate, you produce a toxic material … dioxins,” Emmanuel said.

Dioxins, formed when garbage is burned, emit a high-cancer dose factor, he said.

“We created a society where we learn to extract, produce and consume; leading to wastes that poisons our air, surface, water, soil, homes and body,” Emmanuel said.

The event was part of the Zero Waste Festival organized by the Mother Earth Foundation and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. It was co-organized by the UST Sociological Society.

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