As the world celebrates International Plastic Bag Free Day, an environmental group urged President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to prioritize the plastic crisis in the country during his term.
“While we welcome President Marcos Jr.’s acknowledgment of the plastic crisis faced by the country, BAN Toxics hopes to see a concrete action plan tackling the plastic pollution issue followed by its strict implementation and monitoring,” said Mehei dela Torre, Plastics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.
In his inauguration address last June 30, Marcos said that he would put the issue of climate change mitigation at the forefront of his administration’s priorities.
He noted that he would look for partners to tackle the climate change crisis.
The Global Climate Risk Index 2021 ranks the Philippines fourth among the countries most affected by extreme weather globally from 2000 to 2019. The country is hit by an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year.
As part of efforts to curtail the effects of climate change, the Philippines joined nearly 200 countries in a landmark deal in Paris in December 2015 to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit the rise in global temperatures to below two degrees Celsius.
Third largest plastic waste producer
Citing data from Enviliance Asia, BAN Toxics said the Philippines produced 2.7 million tons of plastic waste annually.
This ranked the country as the third largest plastic waste producer in the world.
“A 2018 study on waste management practices revealed that despite the Philippines’ high garbage collection rates, the country still has problems with proper waste disposal,” it added.
In 2021, Congress approved House Bill 9147 or the “Single-use Plastic Products Regulation Act.”
The bill aims to protect life on land and water from the hazards posed by plastic pollution, and ensure that non-compostable single-use synthetic plastic products deemed necessary to society do not leak into nature.
The measure also aims to prolong the service life of sanitary landfills as well as to promote “circularity through reduction, reuse, and recycling of plastic garbage.”
“Let’s go back to the basics and make the switch to alternative reusable bags. It’s time for the Philippines to take stronger action to curb plastic use and consumption,” BAN Toxics stressed. “We must act on the plastic crisis before it’s too late.”
International Plastic Bag Free Day
The International Plastic Bag Free Day was designed to raise public awareness of plastic pollution and its effect on the ecosystem and biodiversity, especially on marine wildlife.
It was established as a global initiative to ban single-use plastic bags globally and encourage everyone to switch to environmentally friendly alternatives to promote environmental conservation.
To adhere to the call, BAN Toxics hosted an event in which they encouraged Filipino customers and vendors to abandon single-use plastic bags in favor of reusable and eco-friendly alternatives.
The event was held in R. Calalay Frisco Market in Quezon City to raise awareness of the plastic crisis in the Philippines and promote eco-friendly bags.
According to BAN Toxics, volunteer mothers and BT Patrollers attended the event and showcased different reusable and eco-friendly bags made of natural materials such as bamboo, rattan, pandan, coconut and palm leaves, cloth, textile, and katsa to encourage the public to switch to reusable alternatives. — DVM, GMA News