“The ordinance filed by Councilor Numero Lim banning the use of plastic bags as packing materials for goods sold in stores, malls and related enterprises is a step in the right direction. If Manila adopts and enforces the ban, it is likely that the entire nation will be inspired and
follow suit,” said student environmentalist Kris Peralta of EARTH – University of Santo Tomas, a member of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Steering Committee.
“This will definitely augur well for our rapidly deteriorating environment that is already suffocating from the uncontrolled use and disposal of plastic bags,” he added.
Lim, from the second district of Manila, last Thursday filed his proposed ordinance that seeks to regulate the use of the ever-present plastic bags and curb the ensuing creation of problematic non-biodegradable garbage that usually ends up being littered in the city streets and storm drains or hauled to Pier 18 and subsequently thrown in the Navotas or Montalban dumpsites.
The EcoWaste Coalition urges the Manila City Council to prioritize the consideration of the proposed ordinance on plastic bags to cut back on pollution from land-based sources and to press manufacturers, retailers and consumers into shifting to ecological alternatives.
At the same time, the waste and pollution watchdog also stated, “we call on the National Solid Waste Management Commission to speed up the listing and prohibition of environmentally unacceptable packaging materials and products as directed by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.”
The EcoWaste Coalition recalls that plastic bags and other synthetic packaging materials constituted 76 percent of the four cubic meters of garbage collected in the 2006 waste survey it had conducted with Greenpeace to verify the state of plastic pollution in Manila Bay.
Out of these 76 percent plastic discards, 51 percent were plastic carry bags, 19 percent junk food wrappers and sachets, 5 percent styrofoams and one percent hard plastics. The remaining 24 percent were rubber (ten percent) and biodegradable wastes (13 percent).
According to Greenpeace, the huge volume of plastic trash which regularly finds its way to Manila Bay impacts greatly on the sea—suffocating vital marine ecosystems and the plant, animal, and human lives that these support.
Along with less visible but equally harmful pollutants, plastics have smothered the bay’s mangrove, sea grass, and coral ecosystems, and as in other coastal areas where plastic trash predominates, have led to the death of birds and marine animals via ingestion or entanglement.
To prevent plastics from ending up in Manila Bay, Pasig River and its tributaries or buried in toxic dumps, the EcoWaste Coalition urges consumers to switch to reusable bags and strive to break the plastic bag habit.
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376