“Marine pollution arising from plastic debris and other forms of garbage choking our waterways worsen our environmental problems,” Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said, referring to a report on plastic pollution by an international environmental group.
Michael Varcas
Philippine ban on single-use plastics doable, needed — Greenpeace
Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - February 19, 2020 - 9:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — A nationwide ban on disposable plastic products is both necessary and practical, Greenpeace Philippines on Wednesday said despite remarks from a senator that doing that might not be possible without an alternative.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, who chairs the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, held a hearing on Tuesday to deliberate bills seeking to regulate single-use plastics.

“Baka impossible to ban...wala naman ako nadidinig na replacement for single-use plastic,” the senator told reporters.

(It might be impossible to ban single-use plastics...I haven’t heard of any replacement to these.)

“What we want is for them to recycle the single-use plastic, unless may dadating na opinion na replacement (unless an opinion arrives on a replacement for single-use plastic).”

Greenpeace Philippines said that contrary to Villar's statement, alternatives to single-use plastics are already available.

“Alternatives to single-use plastics already exist and the proposed ban should prompt the government to support and promote the development of packaging and delivery systems that don't rely on disposables,” the green group said in a Wednesday release.

“Currently, Filipino taxpayers shoulder the cleanup, health and environmental costs of plastics. Rather than giving companies more excuses to pass the costs and responsibility to people, the ban should be used to mandate these companies to implement refill and reuse systems for their products.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature said that over 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually, with at least 8 million tons ending up in oceans and causing severe injuries and death among marine species.

Meanwhile, the Philippines is the third-largest source of plastic pollution globally, according to a 2015 report by the Ocean Conservancy charity and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.

Bans already being implemented at local level

Greenpeace Campaigner Virginia Benosa-Llorin said that bans on disposable plastic packaging and products are already being implemented in Quezon City and provinces like Siquijor.

“These plastic bans can be successfully implemented as long as there is strong political will to do so,” she said.

“The best way to solve the plastic problem is to stop producing plastic in the first place. Recycling, upcycling, downcycling, and drastic approaches such as waste incineration do not address the root of the problem, and will only encourage the continued manufacture of single-use plastic which end up as pollution and puts  people’s health and well-being at risk.”

A Social Weather Stations survey conducted in September 2019 shows that a large majority of Filipinos are in favor of a national ban on single-use plastics.

RELATED: 7 in 10 Filipinos want ban on single-use plastics, survey says

CYNTHIA VILLAR GREENPEACE GREENPEACE PHILIPPINES
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