5 Simple Ways to Make Your City Greener
Can you imagine your city clean and green? If you live in Metro Manila or other major cities in the Philippines, it is almost a joke to even think of that. The developments in becoming a modern city has contributed to water, air and land pollution to our cities. Factories in nearby rivers such as the Pasig River, have turned this body of water to a dumpsite, a sore in the eye and a reminder of years of neglect. In addition to industrial waste, wrappers, plastic bags and other non-degradable trash that are not disposed properly end up polluting the seas, too.
It is not too late to make a difference, though. Here are 5 simple ways to help color your city green:
1. USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Air pollution is caused by motor vehicles. In using public transportation, use of petroleum is lessened and can take a lot of single-passengers cars off the road. That also means less traffic, less stress.
If you live in the suburbs and/or usually travels alone, enjoy an hour ride sleeping or listening to a good audio book when you take a public transport like buses and jeepneys. Though a bit more expensive, there are public shuttle vans which some people find more comfortable because they are air-conditioned and passengers are dropped off in strategic places which are not not usually in other public transports’ routes. You don’t have to do this all week long. Try it at least once a week when your car is coding.
If you live in a village with friends or colleagues working in the same office or city, you can organize a carpooling network. Choose five friends who are willing to drive once a week. Less gas, less toll expense (if any), less pollution, greener city.
2. BRING YOUR OWN BAG
It requires fossil fuel to create plastic bags, and it takes years to degrade them. So when you are shopping, bring along your own reusable bag. Rustans Supermarkets encourage their customers to use reusable bags and reward them by giving additional rewards points. SM Supermarkets declare Wednesday as a “Bring Your Own Bag Day”. On this day, if you don’t bring your own bag, they will put your grocery items in brown paper bags.
Let us be more conscious of our environment. Reuse them or better yet, avoid using them. Develop the habit of bringing your own reusable and eco-friendly bag.
3. GO ZERO
The ultimate goal is for all of us to challenge ourselves to go for zero waste in our own homes. Zero waste in the homes means lesser waste management expenses for your city government! Instead of spending so much for garbage collection, our city government can use it for health and education instead.
There are many ways to start this home program but we don’t want to overwhelm you. Most women love their kitchen so let’s start here. If you are new in managing your own household waste (just like most of us!), start with your kitchen waste. Compost them! Start by converting your old, useless, broken pail with cover, to a compost bin. This is a good way to start because you can put the pail under your sink. This way, dumping your kitchen waste is easy since it is just under the sink. You can also use an old, unused hamper. Except for metal, glass, meats – you can compost almost anything from fruit peels to vegetables to old newspaper and cartons!
Remember, the key is one step at a time. Once you get the hang of it, share it with your neighbors and start a “Zero Waste Management” project for your village. Next is your barangay; then your city!
4. GROW YOUR OWN
The best way to know if what you are eating is organic or not is to grow your own. While this will take more time and effort on your part, you can start by growing your favorite herbs and vegetables in containers. Start with 5 herbs.
Then add a vegetable such as tomato or kangkong. Give yourself three months then you can decide by then if you’ll keep it as it is or go and buy your next 5.
5. BUY LOCAL
What is local? For us in Pinoy Organics, when we say “local produce”, we refer to products, such as vegetables and fruits, sold in public and weekend markets and sourced within the 150 kilometers radius.
If gardening is not your thing or if you do not have access to organic produce, buying local is the next best option for most city-dwellers like us. By doing so, we support our local farmers and producers to turn nearby farms to a chemical-free environment all year-round. Organic and/or natural farming is healthy not only for us consumers, but our entire eco-system as well. Organic and natural farming invite friendly animals, such as birds, butterflies and bugs, to go back and help rebuild a more sustainable environment in our farms.
By now, most of us know that eating chemical-free products is healthier especially when you buy them at weekend markets. Most of the perishable items sold in these markets are freshly picked because the producers only have one day to sell their products. If you buy in public markets, ask your suki which day would be the best time to buy vegetables and fruits. Usually, it falls on either Friday or Saturday. This is when the perishable items are at their freshest condition.
People always ask us how will we know if a local produce is organic or not. For us, the best way is to visit the farms, join Market Tours and when given the chance to meet the producers themselves, ask questions. Most local farmers and producers man their own booths in weekend markets, while in public markets, if you have developed a relationship with the sellers, they would gladly share with you where they source their items.
What are some of the questions you ask before you purchase your fruits, vegetables or meats in the market?