#FeatureFriday with Bryan Madera | Plastic Battle Philippines

We believe that anyone is capable of playing a part in conserving our natural resources and oceans, as well as living sustainable for a better planet. For our #FeatureFriday segments, we're highlighting inspiring individuals and conservation champions from all walks of life who are involved in environmental and marine conservation and living a greener lifestyle. This week, we're featuring one of our Seastainable Grant Project leaders, Bryan Madera.

Bryan is an advocate for sustainable oceans. His advocacy stems from his love for the Philippine beaches. “This feeling towards the beach and the ocean is the driving force why I wanted to be part of the action in conservation of our ocean.” he shares.

"I work in a community with different coastal resources stakeholders towards biodiversity conservation and fisheries resources management. During my free-time I lead the campaign Plastic Battle. Plastic Battle aims to prevent plastic bottles at source by partnering with business establishments to make clean and safe water accessible through refilling. I promote reduction of plastics in the tourism sector."

(Bryan during his shark and turtle research with LAMAVE)

What actions or initiatives are you doing to support your advocacy?
In order to prevent plastic bottles at source we need to make clean and drinking water accessible to public and then increase their trust especially in the tourism sector where they strongly rely on using bottled water to provide drinking water. The stigma of the tap water from the developing countries that make people depend on bottled water, but in reality there are better ways to source drinking water. This can be through water processing/refilling business that you can find in almost every town in the Philippines and they can provide accessible clean and safe drinking water without the single-use plastic bottles. This is when I realized that partnering with business establishment is essential in the success of reduction of plastic bottles. Their actions in providing of clean and safe drinking water change the default in tourism sectors.

Who or what inspired you to take action?
The marginalized sectors. Fisherfolks belongs to one of the poor sectors in the Philippines. They are reliant on the the seas for food and livelihood. With the decreasing fishstocks and climate change exacerbating typhoons and bad weather they are left with limited sources. The effects of limited fishstocks force fisherfolks to stay longer and farther in the ocean risking their lives to make ends meet. I feel hopeful that the fisherfolks can be our partners in conservation of our oceans. They are not only users but are caretakers when provided with opportunities.

What do you think are the key challenges that we face in creating a more sustainable world?
There are a lot of factors but I can share with what I have experienced. In my experience, poverty is a driving factor why Filipinos are reliant on single-use sachets. Even if we successfully increase their knowledge on the impact of plastic pollution to the environment, this does not equate to pro-environmental behaviour as most Filipino families can only afford to live one day at a time and sachet packaging provides the basic needs.

What advise can you give for individuals starting out in conservation or sustainable living and how can we overcome the challenges that come with it?
Equip yourself with relevant knowledge. This is available everywhere in the web though MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), articles, social media of NGOs, etc. You need to be informed of the pro's and con's. There is no perfect and one-size-fits-all approach [in sustainability and marine conservation] and knowing both sides would aid you in your decision making. Start with yourself, influence the people around you and expand from there. Start with what you can attain and with little success. 

At present, you can find Plastic Battle water refilling stations in the Philippines through this Google Map:

Interested in reading more conversations on conservation? Stay tuned for our next feature and find the latest Seastainable updates by following our social media channels! 


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