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‘Philippines placing 3rd in plastic ocean list a wake-up call’

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has been listed the third highest producer of plastic wastes thrown into the ocean after China and Indonesia.

The list was published in the journal Science  earlier this month.

Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, said the report should serve as a wake-up call for the government, industry and the public.

“Almost 15 years of poor implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003) and unheeded calls for a national ban on the undoubtedly problematic and persistent plastic bags apparently helped a lot in putting the country at 3rd place in the study’s embarrassing list,” she said.

The study is titled “Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean.”

The authors said: “Population size and the quality of waste management systems largely determine which countries contribute the greatest mass of uncaptured waste available to become plastic marine debris.”

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In 2014, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, and Mother Earth Foundation found that plastic bags still topped the list at 23.2 percent of Manila Bay’s marine debris at 61.9 percent.

Their waste audits in 2006 and 2010 yielded similar results: among plastic products, plastic bags were the main garbage contributor in terms of volume, comprising 51.4 and 27.7 percent of debris in Manila Bay.

On a global scale, the “Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean” study has calculated that plastic debris reaching the oceans from 192 coastal countries in 2010 was somewhere between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons.

The amount came from what the report estimated as “275 million metric tons of plastic waste generated in said coastal countries that year.”

Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia, the study’s lead author, said in a news report: “The quantity entering the ocean is equal to about five plastic grocery bags full of plastic for every foot of coastline in the world.”

The study suggests that some 17.5 million tons a year, or 155 million tons between now and 2025, could enter the oceans if nothing is done to check the situation.     

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