Greenpeace, Adarna House children’s book educate about plastic problems

GreenPeace Adarna House
The book “Bayan ng Basura” was written by Augie Rivera and illustrated by Jill Arteche. Photo from Adarna House.

Philippine publishing company Adarna House has collaborated with Greenpeace Southeast Asia to release a picture book about ocean plastic pollution titled “Bayan ng Basura”.

For this collaboration, the two organizations published a story about a sea turtle named Pawikan living in a festive area of the ocean and who’s swept away by a storm into a darker and more polluted area. Pawikan questions why this part of the ocean is full of trash while he tries to find his way home.

The illustrations, made by Manila-based freelancer Jill Arteche, were made to catch the eye. Arteche says that it was a deliberate decision to contrast the colorful home of Pawikan with a darker, blearier “basuratown” to show the tragedy of the situation, and the situation is nothing less than tragic as nearly half a million tons of plastic waste from the country ends up in the ocean. This is the first book she’s illustrated for Adarna House.

The aim of this story, says author Augie Rivera, is to help children empathize with sea creatures and become more aware of the environmental issues that are tied to their lives. Neither Adarna House nor Rivera is strangers from publishing social issues in their storybooks: Rivera, known for stories like “Ang Alamat ng Ampalaya” and “Sa Ilalim ng Dagat,” has also published a series of illustrated children’s books of periods of foreign occupation in the Philippines under Adarna House titled “Batang Historyador”.

The illustrations were made to catch the eye and invoke curiosity. Book cover of Bayan ng Basura.

Although the situation of plastic waste in the country might seem monumental, ordinary citizens are doing their part in their own ways. For example, vendors in Tawi-Tawi use baskets woven from banana leaves as an alternative to plastic bags.

Large companies also take part in this environmental-conscious progression. Late last year, San Miguel Corporation made a test road that was mostly made of recycled waste plastic to avoid further filling landfills while
Mactan-Cebu International Airport is working on being the country’s first plastics-free airport.

Catholic Bishops have also called for ecological conversion and advocate against single-use plastics.

SEND cheers to Adarna House and Greenpeace SEA for teaching our children about good environmental action!

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Io Carpiso
Io is a high school student and amateur writer who tends to look at the future idealistically despite others' warnings. A book enthusiast, she wants to make her words substantial in this world and to lift up others with her work.