A school canteen in Negros is championing “Wala Usik” (Hiligaynon for “zero-waste” or “nothing-is-wasted”) and is using mugs made of bamboo, bowls from coconut shells, and plates from banana leaves.
With these alternative dining utensils, Bulata National High School (BNHS) in Cauayan, Negros Occidental promotes a plastic-free culture among its more than 400 students and teachers.
The BNHS “Wala Usik” canteen wall paintings of colorful marine life, done by volunteers from the Association of Negros Artists, pay homage to the rich biodiversity of Cauayan waters and the Danjugan Island Marine Reserve and Sanctuaries.
The school canteen concept is said to be inspired by the “Wala Usik” Sari-Sari Store, an initiative of the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc. (PRRCFI) through its Sea Waste Education to Eradicate Plastic program or SWEEP.
The plastic-free initiative of the school was implemented by BNHS principal Eiggy Duller Yap after attending the Danjugan Island’s Marine and Wildlife Camp last summer.
“Why not adopt this (Wala Usik) model and reduce plastic waste at source at the same time promote what’s local. Imagine, if all school canteens in the Philippines become zero-waste,” Principal Yap said in a statement reported by the PNA.
The BNHS principal says they need more chairs, tables, and other equipment to make the school canteen fully operational. The canteen will be managed by the school’s Teachers’ League Association, and will also be used for the school-based feeding program.
Dave Albao, executive director of PRRCFI, praised BNHS for their initiative saying, “If more communities become conscious of how their waste is managed, they will see that the priority is how to reduce waste at the first place, especially plastic that threatens all life.”
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