Students from a coastal town in Sorsogon who designed a solution to address the problem of sewage waste emanating from their public market and dumped at their shore have won a national environmental competition sponsored by Red Bull Supreme Energy Drink and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Team Ecotastic4 of the Gubat National High School in Gubat, Sorsogon became the first ever winner of the RedBullution, a contest open to groups of high school and intercollegiate students in the Philippines which aims to find alternative, innovative, student-designed conservation solutions to address the problem of solid waste management.
The two-part competition was held from November 2012 to April 5. The last round saw finalists present their project proposals to a panel composed of Gaby dela Merced, RedBullution Ambassador and youth advocate; Romi Garduce, RedBullution ambassador and mountain climber; Joel Palma, WWF vice president for programs; and Paolo Pagaduan, WWF project manager for sustainable development.
Before this, RedBullution held road shows in several universities and colleges with Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, dela Merced and Garduce as speakers for the solid waste management advocacy.
The winning entry by Ecotastic4 proposed a sewage waste system to manage the waste coming from the public market and local eateries that drain straight to the shore.
The students said their coastal town depends largely on fishing, and sewage waste can be a future source of serious concern for it can contribute to the spread of red tide or pose a problem for marine animals, which may result in the loss of livelihood.
“We need to take action before the sewage problem in our town worsens and grow into a problem akin to that faced by the Sorsogon bay in the past, where for a couple of years in succession the harvesting of seashells was forbidden due to red tide. Too much is at stake if this problem is left unaddressed,” the students said.
Other finalists in the Redbullution were Team Green Avengers also from Gubat National High School and Team Ecoknights a group of accountancy students from Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
The winning team received a cash prize of P100,000 to sustain their projects and were given an opportunity to visit a WWF conservation site in the Philippines in a three-day, two-night trip, where they will immerse at the frontlines of the organization’s environmental sustainability work and witness the magnificence of Philippine biodiversity.
“We hope that you were able to complete your project and that you have achieved your goals and learned through the process of protecting and creating revolutionary changes for the environment,” Palma said.
Palma said RedBulluttion, which was derived from the Latin word revolutus, aims to inspire a change in the mindset of students by raising their environmental awareness and encouraging them to act.