PHILIPPINES: Initiative boosts recycling efforts
St. Ildefonso Parish in Makati launches efforts to clean up environment and recycle plastics
(MissionNewswire) Father Antonio “Beng-Beng” Molavin, rector of the Salesian St. Ildefonso Parish in Makati, Philippines, has launched initiatives to help the parish population focus on removing plastics from the environment by working with Plastic Bank, a nongovernmental organization focused on recycling plastics. Rather than eliminating plastic, Plastic Bank aims to teach how to manage it.
Parish members are involved in projects to clean up their local community and to recycle plastics found, as well as items used in their homes. Youth in the Salesian oratory are also reusing plastic items rather than throwing them into the trash.
St. Ildefonso Parish was chosen by the Ecological Ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila to be the first parish in the Philippines to collaborate with Plastic Bank. Fr. Molavin explained, “If we take the problem of plastic pollution seriously and try to offer an effective solution, we would have solved a great ecological problem.”
The project is in response to the call from Pope Francis in his 2020 Laudato Si, which has as its theme “Good Christians and Upright Citizens.” Pope Francis underlined the importance of education and training that will help youth foster environmental responsibility.
“We brought the project first to our local Christian community, which has adopted the recovery of plastic as their main project during the pandemic,” said Fr. Molavin. “After educating about the topics, we started going house to house and instructed families to wash the plastic with soap so that it can be reused. Then we go around picking up the plastic, making sure it’s clean and dry.”
Over the next five years, the parish would like to create a network of 500 families who will work together to find a solution to the plastic problem. It is also hoped that S.t Ildefonso Parish will become an accredited Laudato Si Parish within five years. In addition to recycling, a gardening project was launched, trees have been planted and segregation of waste has started.
Since 1950, Salesian Missions has been providing crucial help in the Philippines—working with at-risk youth, impoverished families and disaster victims. Humanitarian agencies warn of the dangers faced by the most disadvantaged children in the Philippines. According to UNICEF, there are at least 1.2 million children between the ages of 5 and 15 who are out of school and are being left behind. In addition, children born into the poorest 20 percent of the population are almost three times more likely to die during their first five years as those from the richest 20 percent.
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Salesian Missions – Philippines
UNICEF – Philippines