Say no to plastic, yes to bayong, other reusable bags
- Katherine Adraneda () - December 10, 2007 - 12:00am

Advocates aiming for a zero-waste Philippines yesterday reminded consumers to use eco-friendly reusable bags as against “ubiquitous” plastic bags when doing their shopping this holiday season.

The Ecological Waste Coalition held its “Say No to Plastic Bags” event in a popular Sunday market at the Lung Center of the Philippines calling on consumers to minimize the ecological impact of the joyous holidays by using the ever-dependable bayongs and other reusable carry bags and containers when shopping.

The group is spearheading the campaign to instill consumer awareness on the need to support and switch to ecological alternatives to plastic bags.

“Christmas time is one of the most waste-producing times of the year, as people go all out in spending on food, decorations, gifts and parties,” said LJ Pasion, youth campaigner of EcoWaste.

Pasion said the use of bayong (a native hand woven bag) and other reusable bags and containers while shopping is the right step to reduce trash during the holiday season.

“Minimizing use of plastic bags will also conserve natural resources and prevent the discharge of planet warming gases that cause climate change,” he said.

Along with Miss Earth-Philippines Jeanne Harn, the “green activists” went on a shopping spree at the popular Sunday market and proudly brought out their bayongs and other reusable carry bags and containers to show marketgoers that it is possible to carry food items without resorting to the use of plastic bags.

The group’s “Boy Bayong” in a Santa’s hat and other volunteers were also holding banners and streamers bearing timely reminders with words “create love not trash” and “have an eco-friendly Christmas.”

The EcoWaste also hailed local government units campaigning against the use of plastic bags.

The group cited the town of Santa Barbara, Iloilo for banning the use of plastic and cellophane bags.

EcoWaste said that major cities like Baguio and Pasig are also making efforts to phase out the use of plastic bags and Styrofoam packs in their areas.

“While we welcome efforts like these by some local government units and commercial establishments in order to reduce plastic use and promote eco-bags, not enough is being done to put in place a national policy that will regulate the production, use and disposal of plastic bags and single-use plastic wares and containers to protect public health and the environment,” EcoWaste pointed out.

EcoWaste said plastic litter can last hundreds of years and they are primarily blamed for floods and soil pollution.

According to EcoWaste, over 100,000 birds and marine animals die each year for feasting on plastic debris.

Based on the discards survey conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace in the Manila Bay in 2006, 76 percent of all waste collected in the body of water are plastics of which 51 percent of these were single-use disposable plastic bags.

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