By Chito Chavez
The environmental advocate EcoWaste Coalition is concerned that the water service interruptions in Metro Manila and nearby areas have raised the demand for disposable products and packaging.
The Quezon City-based group aired the concern after the water concessionaire Manila Water announced six to 20 hours of daily service cuts until the start of the rainy season.
The water shortage has affected six million people in the East Zone of Metro Manila to the point that some eateries have turned to plastic disposable plates, spoons, forks and cups to avoid washing dishes and utensils. Some sellers even wrapped plates with thin film plastic bags.
“The increased demand for disposable items during this time of water scarcity will surely add to the volume of residual garbage that generators from households to business establishments churn out every day,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“With taps running dry, we fear that more people and businesses will be encouraged to buy and use more single-use plastic disposables during the waterless period,” Lucero said.
As the World Consumer Rights Day is observed today, EcoWaste Coalition reminded Manila Water and water authorities that access to clean water is a fundamental consumer and human right.
“It’s sad that many Filipinos will mark the World Consumer Rights Day in long queues for water rationed by Manila Water,” Lucero said.
The group had earlier urged households, as well as private and public establishments, to step up water-saving measures as the dry spell marches on.
To cut on water wastage, it has suggested the following water conservation tips:
1. Fix dripping tanks, pipes, faucets, showerheads and hoses to prevent water loss.
2. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, lathering with soap or shaving.
3. Take shorter showers with a pail and dipper and use just enough water.
4. Reuse towels a few times before putting them on the laundry basket.
5. Collect grey water from bathing and washing and reuse it to wash the car, clean the garage, maintain sidewalks or flush the toilet.
6. Place a brick or water-filled bottle inside the toilet tank to reduce water used in every flush and flush less.
7. Collect water dripping from air conditioners and use the collected water for washing mops and rugs, flushing the toilet or watering the plants.
8. Leave grass clippings on the lawn as this cools the ground and holds in moisture.
9. Spread a layer of mulch around plants and trees to retain water and reduce evaporation.
10. Water the plants early in the morning or in the evening when temperature is cooler to minimize water loss.
11. Refrain from using the washing machine if only washing a few clothes, do full loads of laundry, and use just the right amount of detergent to avoid extra rinsing.
12. Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin and not in running water; reuse the water for watering the plants.
13. Save the rice wash for washing the dishes or watering plants.
14. Steam vegetables instead of boiling to conserve water as well as preserve their nutrients.
15. Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator overnight, not on running water.
16. Use fewer cooking and dining utensils and dishes to reduce water use for washing.
17. Choose the proper pan and pot size for cooking as bigger ones may need more cooking water than required.
18. Do not let the water run when washing the dishes, fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
19. Soak dirty pans and pots first instead of scraping them in running water.
20. Collect and store rainwater for daily chores.