Interview: How Jammy is fighting plastic pollution in the Philippines

By Nuri Max Steinmann.

Jammy grew up on the island of Bohol, located in the Philippine archipelago. The growing problem of plastic, polluting the famous beaches of her island, motivated her to start the campaign Plastic Free Bohol. Her dedication and will to make a difference start to pay off. 

Hi Jammy! You are from the Philippines and you are fighting actively against the increasing plastic pollution and for a coal free island. Could you tell us a bit more about these projects?

Yes, I live on the beautiful island of Bohol. Two years ago, I started a personal campaign called “Plastic Free Bohol” to raise awareness about plastic pollution in Bohol and the Philippines. I am very happy because my personal campaign blossomed into a growing movement/community. We organize regular beach clean ups around the island to get our community involved, and we do awareness talks about plastic pollution.

I am also a Bohol Climate Walker and a Clean Energy Advocate. In 2015, we walked 100 km for clean energy. In April this year, we won the fight against the construction of a coal power plant on our island. Our provincial government finally passed an ordinance prohibiting any construction of a coal fired plant in Bohol.

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What was your motivation and inspiration to get so involved into these projects?

Nature inspires me. We literally need nature to live, and we kill it,  so we are also killing ourselves. Kids are also near and dear to my heart. I don’t have a child of my own, but I do what I do for their future.

According to Greenpeace, the Philippines are among the worst plastic polluters of the oceans. Why is plastic waste such a big problem in the Philippines?

Yes! Unfortunately, the Philippines is the third biggest contributor of ocean pollution. One reason is our sachet economy. Everything is packed in small plastic packaging, which is tossed out once used. Another problem is the poor waste management. Most of these sachets end up polluting our environment.

With your projects you try to make a change. What are the biggest challenges you face, trying to fight plastic pollution in Bohol?

I think the biggest challenge is changing people’s mindset and habits. I’m sure most people already know the negative impacts of plastic in our environment and health, but they are already used to the convenience. And because some of the alternatives are not affordable for everyone. One time, I heard a mother of 4, who is a wife of a fisherman, saying, that the zero- waste lifestyle is only for rich people. It’s sad.

Do you have hope, that one day, the problem of plastic pollution will be solved in Bohol or even in the entire Philippines?

This fight is really hard and challenging. However, I keep my hopes high. Plastic pollution in Bohol is already recognized and officials, businesses, and concerned residents have already started taking actions to help fight this environmental crisis.

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Besides plastic pollution, there are a few more major challenges the oceans face. The Great Barrier Reef is dying because of climate change and overfishing is a problem globally, to name just two. Are these problems you also experience already in Bohol and the Philippines?

We also have these problems in the Philippines. There are some bleached corals in some parts of the country. And I think there are still fishermen who use illegal methods of fishing like using dynamite.

What would be the three things we have to change, which you think are the most important, that also future generations will live in a world with healthy oceans?

We need to change some of our habits, practice conscious consumerism, and be more responsible with our actions.

It is 2050 – What will be the state of our oceans?

I am hopeful, and I always think positive. In 2050, I picture healed and healthy oceans.

For more information follow:

https://www.facebook.com/plasticfreebohol/

https://www.instagram.com/plasticfree_bohol/

https://www.instagram.com/darlingoftheorient/

 

Copyright of all pictures belong to Plastic Free Bohol and Jammy.

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