Advocacy Ban Plastics Environment Zero Waste

Group Applauds Bishops for Taking Action vs. Single-Use Plastics

24 July 2019, Quezon City. An advocacy group for a Zero Waste and toxics-free society has lauded Catholic bishops for taking a collective stance versus single-use plastics, which have become a bane for the global environment.

“We welcome the unequivocal statement issued by our bishops toward the elimination of single-use plastics. This should persuade the faithful into shifting to eco-friendly products and packaging materials that are reusable and recyclable,” stated Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We hope all dioceses, parishes and Catholic-run institutions such as schools, hospitals, convents, seminaries and churches will institute or strengthen policies and regulations that will eliminate the consumption, use and disposal of single use plastics, including plastic bags, plastic drinking straws, plastic plates and cutlery, and even plastic banderitas in their premises and activities,” he said.

“We likewise hope the private sector, especially the big corporations, will heed the signs of the times and do their part to address the global plastic pollution crisis by seriously cutting packaging and plastic waste,” he added.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) last July 16 issued an urgent call for ecological conversion, which listed a number of concrete actions to be undertaken in line with the spirit and principles of the landmark encyclical on ecology by Pope Francis entitled “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home.”

Among the “concrete ecological actions” being promoted by the bishops for the consideration of the dioceses, parishes and the faithful is the elimination of single-use plastics.

The EcoWaste Coalition specifically cited Bishops Ruperto Santos of Balanga, Alberto Uy of Balanga and Reynaldo Evangelista of Imus for their recent pronouncements and actions to curb the use of single-use plastics in their respective dioceses.

As reported in the CBCP News, Bishop Santos and the clergy have adopted Balanga City’s directive restricting single-use plastics. “In our cathedral, we go green. We discourage the use of plastic flowers and decors, but natural plants and flowers. We also set aside tarpaulins,” he said. Parish priests in the diocese have agreed “to go for green environment.”

Bishop Uy told priests and parishioners over Radio Veritas to “please avoid the use of Styros and plastics in any of our gatherings and activities.” He said “it is important for us to unite in taking care of our environment,” stressing “if every citizen will do his share in helping preserve the environment, we will all live in a clean and safe community that is pollution-free and plastic-free.”

Bishop Evangelista has announced the move by the Diocese of Imus to transform itself into a “zero waste church.” Included in the 10-point policies to be carried out in all parishes and institutions are the ban on plastic banderitas for church occasions and feasts, and the ban on disposable, single-use plates, glasses, spoons, forks and the like in church activities and fellowships.

The said “zero waste church” initiative has attracted jubilation and support from both the Cavite Green Coalition and the EcoWaste Coalition, which counts on the Diocese of Imus Ministry of Ecology among its members.