Eco bikers to follow Pope's example for zero waste
MANILA, Philippines – A group of 45 bikers will join the official motorcade of Pope Francis to raise awareness about climate change and remind people not to litter by practicing zero waste.
With millions of people expected to turn out for the Pope's visit to the Philippines on January 15-19, waste and pollution present a major challenge for cities and towns in Metro Manila and Leyte.
Different organizations have united to ensure that the principle of zero waste – where trash is disposed of properly – will be followed.
These self-dubbed "eco bikers" will help monitor and assist public officials – including street sweepers – in maintaining zero waste along the various routes of the papal motorcade.
At least 10 of the participating bikers are members of Bike Scouts Philippines, a group of volunteer bikers who have made it their mission to provide comfort and to educate the poor in remote or hard-to-reach areas.
Philippine Climate Change Commissioner Naderev “Yeb” Saño said that the eco bikers contribute to the alignment of the advocacy of the head of the Catholic Church who is known for his strong stand against climate change, among other issues. (READ: 'Strong statement' on climate change expected from Pope on Asia visit)
“We are going to ensure the implementation of the zero waste policy and environmental advocacy of the Holy Father,” he said. “We are heeding the call to serve as volunteers."
The Bike Scouts are no strangers to volunteerism. A week after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit Eastern Visayas, they flew to Tacloban to help survivors by providing medicines and gathering critical information. (READ: The riders in the storm)
Bike Scouts’ founder Myles Delfin said that the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda was worse than he imagined.
“We saw the damage climate change did to Eastern Samar and Leyte,” he told Rappler. “If something like this happens again anywhere in the country, the whole nation will be affected and fellow Filipinos will suffer.”
By joining one of the biggest religious gatherings in the country, they hope that the Pope will highlight his environmental agenda. (READ: Pope Francis, the climate activist)
“It’s very important to be aware about climate change these days lalo na marami pa rin ang nagda-doubt about this,” Delfin lamented. (It’s very important to be aware about climate change these days especially since there are many who doubt it.)
The Scouts also aim to make the participants realize their role in preventing a disaster as destructive as Typhoon Haiyan from happening again.
“As part of the group’s objective, we want to share the information to everyone,” he told Rappler. “It’s perfect that we were given this opportunity.”
Armed with their bikes, the eco riders hope to inspire and encourage citizens to take part in whatever way they can – no matter how big or small – to ensure a strong environment against climate change.
“Everyone can do something to solve the problem,” Delfin stressed. “This is our own way and we hope others will follow on their own.”
Time for action
Even after the Holy Father leaves the country, the Bike Scouts will continue their environmental advocacy and hope to expand to other regions, especially in disaster-prone areas.
“Tapos na ang panahon na puro complain na lang ang ginagawa ng mga tao,” Delfin emphasized. “It’s time to take action against something that can negatively affect us as a nation.”(The time to complain is over. It’s time to take action against something that can negatively affect us as a nation.) – Rappler.com