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Group promotes use of eco-friendly bags in Quiapo

June 6, 2008 11:14am
MANILA, Philippines - Environmental activists staged an advocacy walk last June 4 to promote reusable eco-friendly bags in Quiapo, Manila.

Proudly carrying their bayong and cloth bags, the green activists led by film actor and environmentalist Roy Alvarez, mingled with vendors and buyers, providing them with “Ayaw Ko ng Plastik" leaflets that explain the problems with the obsessive use of plastic bags and the need to switch to reusable ones for the sake of the environment.

Representatives of Buklod Tao, Cavite Green Coalition, Earth Renewal Project, EARTH UST, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Health Care Without Harm, Krusada para sa Kalikasan, Malayang Sining Community Theater, November 17 Movement, Sagip Pasig Movement, and Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan joined the advocacy walk.

“Our addiction to plastic bags is already taking a heavy toll on the environment. We see them strewn all over, dirtying our streets, clinging to fences, and polluting our water bodies. Even the sky has not escaped being defiled by buntings made of plastic bags," said Alvarez, who is also the vice-president of the EcoWaste Coalition.

A study made by the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace Southeast Asia in 2006 shows that 76% of the floating trash in Manila Bay are mostly synthetic plastic materials, with plastic bags comprising 51%, sachets and junk food wrappers 19%, Styrofoams 5% and hard plastics 1%. The rest are rubber 10% and biodegradable discards 13%.

A waste analysis and characterization survey published by the Asian Development Bank in 2003 also shows that plastics constitute 25% of Metro Manila’s solid waste, food and other organics 50%, paper 12%, metals 5%, glass 3%, special/hazardous 1% and residuals 4%.

“Countries all over the world have taken notice of the plastic bag problem, with China enforcing a tough restriction on the free distribution of ultra-thin bags to prevent pollution and save on oil used to manufacture these bags. It’s high time that the Philippines take action now," Anne Laracas of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force on Plastics said.

China, beginning June 1 this year, banned the production of plastic bags under 0.025 millimeters thick and their use in shops and supermarkets, imposing a maximum fine of 10,000 yuan ($1,200) for retailers found violating the ban. The law also requires retailers to charge for other plastic bags not covered by the ban.

Many countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Taiwan, Eritrea, Rwanda, France, Ireland, Italy, Australia and the United States, have imposed national or area-specific bans or restrictions on plastic carry bags, while many others, are mulling similar measures. - GMANews.TV
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