Connecting the dots

Most dive centres in Panglao do night dives, meaning flashlights will be used and batteries. Also the famous Balicasag, full of wonderful underwater sights, is accessible by boat. Used engine oil and batteries become hazardous wastes that can easily become very harmful and toxic to the environment but also humans. So dive centres find themselves with these wastes and few options: dispose of them with the landfill trucks or let staff re-use them? The dangerous factor in these are the lack of awareness and education. If the used engine oil is put in two plastic bags it is perfectly safe to bury it, isn’t it? If the batteries are thrown in the pig’s enclosure and it helps with the smell, it cannot be dangerous?

Those practices are not made up and that is where the necessity of my personal project is. Educating and communicating within dive centres and with shops to create alternatives that work. Recycling in a sustainable manner these wastes so that the harm they bring stops affecting the reefs the dive centre’s client travel and pay to see. Especially when the benefit is clear!

Why bury oil when it could be so useful to repel insects if used on wood? Because the link to the right places to dispose of used engine oil needs to be created first, and then the obvious answer shifts! I was able to find Fatima enterprises and Wrenleys Honda and meet their great staff who did not hesitate to accept the used engine oil, “talking business” with me after a few seconds! And proudly posing with the posters I brought, happy to help and also get something out of it.

Fatima enterprise (left) and Wrenleys Honda (right)

Great people eager to help and display the Green Fins’ poster

Batteries disposal was a real challenge, no recycling centre or appropriate infrastructure on Bohol. I have brought the issue to the environmental committee for future regulations to be legislated and then implemented by the barangays. Luckily one dive centre that is a Green Fins member has the perfect solution and accepted to share it! Sea Explorers sends their used batteries to a recycling centre in Cebu through Sea Explorers Dauis. And so other dive centre membres can bring their used battery to them.

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Indeed, all about connecting the right dots, ensuring an exchange that is sustainable and benefitting for both sides. Because the solutions are there and just need a little bridge to function.

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