Issue of September 1, 2019
     
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Benguet
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Mrs ECO International seeks ban on single-use plastics
by Karlston Lapniten

ECO ADVOCATE -- Mrs. ECO International winner Sheila Teodoro DeForest is back in Baguio after winning the international pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A. recently. The 45-year-old beauty queen, seen here with the local media, will be giving back to the city through various environmental activities and will also join the 110th charter anniversary on Sept. 1. DeForest’s winning advocacy video featured the beauty of the Cordillera and the call for a more sustainable development to preserve its beauty for the next generation.
-- Contributed photo

Legislations should be given more teeth to reduce the use of single-use plastics in the manufacture of food and commodities in the country, according to inaugural title holder and reigning Mrs. ECO International Shiela Teodoro-DeForest.

DeForest was in the city and Benguet for a four-day “thanksgiving” visit to foster environmental conservation awareness through a series of activities in the city and Tublay, Benguet.

DeForest said among her planned activities throughout her one-year reign will be to hold dialogue with senators to push for measures banning the use of disposable plastics.

Companies claim that single-use plastics such as sachets are produced because many citizens cannot afford products sold by bulk, said DeForest, who won the global pageant on June 29 in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.

But DeForest said companies can instead, set-up pop-up dispensers for products where consumers can refill their own containers.

She said legislators across the country should also follow towns and provinces who enacted ordinances to ban the use of plastic bags and straws, one of the largest contributors to landfills.

“It starts from both manufacturer and consumer. If production (of disposable) stops, usage stops, and productions also stops if there is no demand,” DeForest said.

She added it is the duty of humans as “stewards of the planet” to ensure a healthy environment for generations to come.

Then as Mrs. ECO Philippines, DeForest was in Baguio and Benguet in April to shoot her video presentation which also won her the Best Eco Video special award.

Her advocacy video, written and produced by Baguio’s Nars Santos, presented the issues that beset the Summer Capital such as congestion, vehicular traffic, poor air quality, depleted water supply, waste management, overdevelopment, and disappearing forest cover.

“I believe most issues are not unique to Baguio but affect the country as a whole. But, deforestation in the northern highlands is different as evergreens take more years to grow so reforestation efforts may take a bit more time to see results,” DeForest said.

DeForest was also awarded the Best Eco Costume and Best Charitable Giver.

DeForest will also attend the Baguio Day foundation anniversary parade and celebration today, Sept. 1.

Born in Pagsanjan, Laguna, the 45-year-old beauty queen is a Tourism degree holder at the University of the Philippines. Currently based in Colorado, U.S.A., she is married to American pilot Timothy DeForest.

According to its website, Mrs. ECO International is a platform for women around the world to share their passion and goals in protecting and educating others on global environmental issues.


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