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GESM Environmental Team visits Iloilo: The ASEAN-German project

"Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to Protect the Marine Environment and Coral Reefs"

From Knowledge to Action: Facilitating Concrete Efforts for Enhanced Land-Based Marine Litter Prevention in ASEAN

by Esther Wittstock, Maximilian Schrievers, Michelle, Laila, Konrad, Bensen (IB-1)

On Tuesday, March 19, our environmental team, consisting of students Michelle Louise, Liu Schmelzer, Konrad Paul and John Lueck, set off for Iloilo together with the two environmental teachers Esther Wittstock and Maximilian Schrievers. Our team was invited by Dr. Johannes Paul to participate in the 3rd workshop series on "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to Protect the Marine Environment and Coral Reefs". Dr. Paul, program manager of GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and coordinator of 3RProMar in the Philippines, offered our school the opportunity to gain insights into the work of the ASEAN countries on how to reduce and avoid the huge amounts of plastic waste polluting our oceans in the future.

On the first day of the workshop in Iloilo, we were able to take part in a plenary discussion between representatives of ASEAN member states from Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Our students documented the results and the most important progress, and the subsequent gallery walk illustrated to us all once again the efforts and successes that have been achieved to date within the countries.

The second day of the workshop was all about the "behavioural change" we should strive for in our approach to plastic consumption and waste disposal, and how we can work together to find ways to reduce marine pollution caused by plastic waste. The students were given an insight into the best practice methods of individual countries and national strategies for improved waste disposal.

The visit to Barangay San Rafael, followed by the CEMEX cement production plant and the water treatment plant in Barangay Callubian showed us how these efforts are being put into practice. All three stations illustrated how it is possible to organize, sensibly process, recycle and reuse the plastic waste produced in a city. The city of Iloilo is regarded as a prime example of how plastic can be used as a sustainable resource.

A visit to the island of Guimaras was on the agenda for the last day of the workshop. The workshop participants from the various countries reached the island by boat and were able to visit the Taklong Island Marine Reserve National Park. Here, too, an organized waste collection and recycling process is taking place with a great deal of effort on the part of all participants. Specifically, Ms. Erica Cordosa showed us how the region manages to shred the systematically collected plastic waste and press it into new shapes with the help of a recycling machine. The result is impressive.

We would like to thank GIZ, in particular Dr. Johannes Paul, for the interesting and innovative insights. Our environmental team would like to put the many suggestions into practice in the near future, and we look forward to presenting them to you during your next visit to our school.


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