Writer: Leela H.
Visual: Erica N.
Editor: Norbu D.
This week the International School Manila premiered it’s new green initiative: ”Make it Happen March”. The objective of “Make it Happen March” is to eliminate single use containers and utensils from the school’s dining options starting March 2020. This was largely in part due to the environmental concerns plastic pollution poses, and its contribution to global warming. In an effort to incentivize students to be more environmentally sustainable, the school has long since partnered with the Sustainability Council to ensure that students who bring their own containers to school will get discounts. However, the administration has stepped up its previous more passive approaches and made it a mandatory requirement.
The transition to complete this initiative has been fully supported by the Sustainability Council and Ocean Activism group, whose members have been selling reusable containers and cutlery outside of the Kantina for the last three weeks in an effort to ease the burden to find containers on students. One sustainability council member, Beatriz C., had this to say about the new policy, “I’m really excited about this, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.” While another student said, “I think that it’s good, because otherwise people would have continued to buy single-use containers.” Suffice to say it’s clear that there are definitely students who support ISM’s decision. Especially since this will dramatically reduce our waste as a community, and help reduce our carbon footprint.
However, not all students have gotten on board with the initiative as of now. The first week of Make it Happen presented a challenge to many students, more specifically to those who forgot to bring in their containers. Srimayaa A. remarked upon how, “there was almost an entire table of freshmen guys who had forgotten their containers and resorted to eating Good Eats’s salad with their hands.” As an exception to this rule, Good Eats is the only food vendor in school allowed to sell single use plastic containers. In fact, one anonymous member of the sustainability council admitted, “I don’t completely agree with the policy. It is undeniably doing its job, but there is still one major flaw: Good Eats will thrive since they get to keep packaging food” Since the policy has led to what many perceive as a large edge over its competitors. However unfair it might be though, this new policy is necessary. Plastic pollution accounts for over 8 million tonnes of oceanic waste per year. Causing toxins to leak into water supplies, killing the marine and avian life alike. Not only that, but leading climate scientists warn that if we don’t reduce our carbon footprint and waste we will start experiencing the worst impacts of climate change within the next century. Making it all the more apparent why an initiative like this is beneficial for the sustainability of ISM in the long-run and ultimately worth it.
Hopefully now that students are more acutely aware of the initiative, such mistakes will not be repeated as often, and any unfair advantage afforded to Good Eats for its exemption will be reduced in the weeks to come. All in all, the importance of such a policy is unmistakable, with global warming causing impending catastrophe, we must take part in the movement to reduce it. We can’t wait to see what the next ISM green initiative will be!