Eco Groups back MMDA’s call for banning plastic bags and Styrofoam

22 February 2012, Quezon City. Environmental groups pushing for the proper implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or RA 9003, expressed support to Metro Manila Development Authority’s call for a metro-wide ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam in packaging and handling items and food products. “It’s time the rest of the metropolitan LGUs such as Caloocan, Malabon, Manila, Marikina, Navotas, Paraňaque, Pateros, Quezon City, San Juan and Valenzuela unite with the other cities in addressing plastic pollution, which highlights as well as worsens the sorry conditions of our waterways during rainy season,”, said Troy Lacsamana, Head of EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force Plastics. “Instead of wasting funds in the unsustainable practice of keeping up with plastic-aggravated effects of changed rain patterns, let’s focus on changing our behavior towards plastic ~ let’s reduce our dependence on disposable products,” he adds. In 2006, 2010, and 2011, waste audits conducted by EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, Mother Earth Foundation and other ecogroups revealed plastics products – led by plastic bags – to be the top detritus in terms of volume in Manila bay and Laguna Lake. The groups noted that local funds can be potentially saved in banning plastics as it could reduce expenses from waste collection, waterways clean-up activities, and other waste-related retrieval operations. “It’s time our LGUs realize that banning disposable plastics would help mitigate the effects our changed weather patterns and strengthen the climate resiliency of Metro Manila, not only because it reduces the odds of plastics finding their way in our waterways, but also minimizes the need to extract dwindling resources to manufacture new products,” says Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives Campaigner Paeng Lopez. “The funds LGUs save can be used for other ecological waste management projects such as recycling, or other LGU priorities such as disaster risk reduction and adaptation,” he adds. For her part, Sonia Mendoza of Mother Earth Foundation pointed out that, “we should utilize local reusable bags as alternatives to plastic bags since our country is abundant with their raw materials. We have abaca, water hyacinths, pandan, and buri all over our islands, which means producing, harvesting, transporting, and manufacturing them entail less carbon footprint than their petroleum-based counterpart.” Plastic products are made from petroleum, a dwindling natural resource requiring carbon-intensive extraction, transportation, and refining. The groups also expressed support to the proposed Senate Bill 3001 of Sen. Miriam Santiago that aims to ban plastic bags regardless of their composition, either regular or degradable plastic bags while promoting the use of reusable bags.