The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on World Environment Day 2018 rallied support for their #BeatPlasticPollution movement with an information campaign, starting with a status report on plastic waste management.
Data from the 2015 study "Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean" shows that the Philippines wastes 6,237,653 kg (6875.84 tons) of plastic per day, of which 81% is mismanaged.
Countries like Japan and the United States similarly waste millions of kilograms per day — 19,605,620 kg and 37,729,383 kg respectively — but both had a 0% mismanagement rating.
"About half of all of the plastic waste that ends up in the oceans comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam," the UN report reads.
Despite the grim assessment, the UN report commended that local ban on plastics enforced in certain areas. In the case of the Philippines, certain cities have said no to plastic like Makati, Quezon City, Pasig, Muntinlipa, Las Piñas, and Pasay.
While the country has the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 as a standing legislation that contains provisions for "recycling programs for the recyclable materials, such as but not limited to glass, paper, plastic and metal", the senate bill that seeks to plan grocery bags has yet to be passed.
According to the UN report, 300 million tons of plastic waste is produced every year and "half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once and thrown away."
Single-use plastic products include plastic water bottles made with polythylene terephthalate (PET); harder plastic bottles used for shampoo or milk made with high-density polyethylene (HDPE); grocery bags and food packaging made with low-density polyethylene; and plastic cutlery made with polystyrene (PS) among others.
Although repurposing these materials have continuously been encouraged, the UN report stated that only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled.
"About 12% has been incinerated, while the rest — 79% — has accumulated in landfills, dumps or the natural environment," the report continued.
The most common type of plastic found in the environment were cigarette butts, which contain tiny plastic fibers. This was followed by drink bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, drink lids, straws and stirrers.
This is the amount of plastic waste generated annually & how much of it is inadequately managed.— UN Environment (@UNEnvironment) June 5, 2018
On #WorldEnvironmentDay, join the call to #BeatPlasticPollution for people ???????????????????????????????????? and planet ???????????? https://t.co/2ClMr9xQzk pic.twitter.com/WSPZR49K6i
As previously reported by "Born to Be Wild", plastic doesn't degrade fully and instead becomes "microplastic". The tiny plastic particles are consumed by marine life and studies have shown that we already might be consuming it not just through fish, but salt as well.
Small actions like bringing a reusable water tumbler, bringing your own cutlery, and using canvas totes for your grocery shopping matter in the global effort to reduce plastic waste and production.
Because if the trajectory of plastic production, use, and mismanagement continues, the UN report predicts that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. — Aya Tantiangco/LA, GMA News