I can’t get the image out of my head, though I can’t remember exactly when I saw it on TV: a beached whale on a provincial shore, its belly full of plastic, leading experts to conclude it died in severe pain.
Plastic is killing our sea creatures, not to mention that what plastic goes unconsumed in such a horrible way seeps into the earth and poisons our soil and consequently our vegetation. In fact, plastic has already found its way into the Artic.
Who would have thought it would come to this?
I lived at a time when people brought their own containers for kerosene, cooking oil, etc., to the corner store for refilling. In school I drank soft drinks and Magnolia Chocolait from a bottle. I wrapped my sandwich in paper napkin or waxed paper.
Whole world’s problem
When plastic first appeared, everybody welcomed it—it was sturdy and useful in many ways, the solution to many a housewife’s problems! Alas, it would prove a sort of Trojan horse. Now it’s become the whole world’s problem!
Well, we also welcomed communication technology, yet, all too soon, look what grave misuse it has lent itself to—trolling or spying, for instance. It’s turning into another Frankenstein!
It’s no consolation, as in the case of plastic, that we weren’t the only ones fooled. But is there anybody seriously looking into, and doing something about, the Philippines’ ecological and environmental concerns, if not for our own sakes, for the next generation’s? Within a mere six years, we are told, there will be a serious global water shortage.
Our own President himself dwells more on inane and base things. He mouths—and does so in the foulest language—false accusations, threats, and outright lies. We even allowed him to insult the Pope and God himself.
Is not the dirt he dishes on national television as poisonous morally as plastic is ecologically? Listeners hungry for information get a filthy mouthful of disinformation, just as the whales and turtles swallow plastic unsuspectingly.
Oblivious to the more serious issues of global survival, the government is almost obsessed with silencing and tormenting all opposition, including the press, whose duty it is precisely to keep public officials honest by keeping the public informed.
Instead of creating policies to protect their constituents and improve lives by creating jobs and addressing environmental concerns, they seem more concerned about keeping power.
Drunk as they are with it, as it is, they have set up dynasties, and, if that were not enough, they are eager to tamper with our democratic constitution to accommodate their personal ambitions.
On top of everything else, they seem to be irresponsibly flirting with China, the greatest polluter of its own environment and abuser of its own citizens’ human rights. Why are we ignoring the warnings of all the other countries that have fallen victim to the Chinese debt trap? If the plastic pollution in the air, water, and land doesn’t get us, China will.
It does feel like we’re caught between a rock and a hard place, which makes me almost glad I’m my age. I lived through a time when democracy flourished and plastic did not yet exist. We may not be able to reverse things right away, but we can start by using less and less plastic in our own homes. And even if we can’t turn back the hands of time, neither can we allow ourselves to regress and lose what we already have.
We still have our democracy and a comparatively orderly form of government. It may need some refining to suit our national temperament, but to throw it out for an untested and yet unclear substitute may just lead to the creation of a monster.
We are rich in natural and human resources; let us not allow foreigners, especially from such a bully nation as China, to grab jobs and properties from us.
Let us be “woke” (gising) lolos and lolas, as many millennials have labeled their new champion, Chel Diokno. Let us all wake up to the lies that this ruling regime peddles to confuse and divide us and erode our moral and spiritual values.
The wise and feisty Conchita Morales, the wisest and bravest ombudsman in my book, has warned us: “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.”