By JOEY NACALABAN
XAVIER University-Ateneo de Cagayan has banned single-use plastic water bottles as its “tiny act” in the campaign to protect the environment.
The move is seen to have the potentials of snowballing into a much bigger campaign that could influence other institutions here and elsewhere into doing the same thing.
The prohibition, on a transition basis, started last week and it would be “on a definitive basis” next month based on a June 10 memorandum signed by Xavier president Fr. Roberto Yap.
Yap’s memorandum laid down the policies and guidelines on the prohibition of entry, use, and sale of single-use plastic water bottles in all Xavier campuses and activities.
Xavier’s ban on single-use plastic water bottles in all its campuses and auxiliary units covers all university activities conducted outside the campuses, and even applies to athletes, Mass goers and other school guests.
But Yap said rare exceptions may be allowed on a case-to-case basis subject to the approval of XU administration.
Reads part of Fr. Yap’s memo: “Refraining from using single-use plastic water bottles may appear as a tiny act in the face of massive environmental problems. But it is good to heed the words of Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, “There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle. (# 211).”
Laudato si’ is the second encyclical of Pope Francis in which the pontiff discussed consumerism, irresponsible development, environmental degradation, and global warming.
Yap said the prohibition strengthens Xavier’s actions on waste reduction and management in response to Laudato si’. He saidit is in line with the Jesuit mission of “reconciliation with creation” by protecting the environment and upholding the Ignatian value of “finding God in all things.”
Yap said Xavier has committed “to improve and enhance the present efforts which are already in place regarding water use and conservation by wholeheartedly carrying out teaching and advocating the wise and judicious use of water, doing important research which will save and conserve water; starting with a concrete advocacy of banning single-use plastic containers in the campus.”
Xavier said consultations with the university community and stakeholders were done since March, first with XU Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative and concessionaires, with faculty and non-teaching staff clubs, Parent-Teachers’ Association, Alumni Association, and administration of the Basic Education cluster, and with college deans, representatives from the faculty and on-teaching staff clubs, PTA, Alumni Association, Office of Student Affairs, Central Student Government and college councils, council moderators, Physical Plant Office, Security Safety and Information Office, and service agencies.