Gov't urged to mandate plastic reduction as part of urgent climate action

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Gov't urged to mandate plastic reduction as part of urgent climate action
Undated file photo shows people cleaning up a waterway in the Philippines.
The STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — Environmental group Greenpeace Philippines on Wednesday called on the authorities to regulate plastic production and enact a strong legislation banning the use of single-use plastics as part of the government’s climate action.

In a statement, Greenpeace said the government needs to “mandate plastic reduction and reuse systems in the consumer goods industry to prevent further global heating.”

It urged senators to pass a more stringent and comprehensive bill that will prohibit the production and use of single-use plastic products and packaging, noting that the version passed by the House of Representatives “supports false solution.”

The group issued the call following the release of a Greenpeace report, which found that consumer goods companies such as Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Unilever are driving the expansion of plastic production and contributing to climate change with their greenhouse gas emissions.

Without immediate action, plastic production could triple by 2050, according to industry estimates. This projected growth in plastic production would increase global emissions from the plastic life cycle to an equivalent of 300 coal power plants by 2030.

The report also identified the links between the world’s largest brands and fossil fuel companies.

“These big brands often promote their climate commitments to much fanfare, but in reality, they are actively contributing to the climate crisis and its impacts, such as worsening typhoons, flooding, food insecurity, loss of livelihoods, and loss of life for Filipinos,” Greenpeace zero waste campaigner Marian Ledesma said.

Greenpeace called on companies to move toward systems of reuse and package-free products.

“If they genuinely care about their impact on the environment and people, they would sever their ties with fossil fuels and make urgent commitments to phase out disposable plastic packaging and transition to reusable and packaging-free systems,” Ledesma said.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 20, 2021 - 9:03am

Follow this page for updates about climate change and information on current environmental issues. Main photo by Efigenio Toledo IV

September 20, 2021 - 9:03am

Natural disasters sparked by climate change have forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes in Burundi in recent years, British charity Save the Children says in a new report released on Monday.

It says climate shocks — not conflict — are now the main cause of internal displacement in the landlocked East African country, which has a largely rural population.

"Over 84 percent of all internally displaced people in Burundi... have been displaced due to natural disasters rather than conflict, mostly due to the rise of Lake Tanganyika, Africa's second-largest lake," the charity says. — AFP

September 16, 2021 - 3:27pm

A new climate change report out Thursday shows that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will be impossible without immediate, large-scale emissions cuts, the UN chief said.

The United in Science 2021 report, published by a range of UN agencies and scientific partners just weeks before the COP26 climate summit, said climate change and its impacts were accelerating.

And a temporary reduction in carbon emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had done nothing to slow the relentless warming, it found.

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, struck at the COP21 summit, called for capping global warming at well below 2 C above the pre-industrial level, and ideally closer to 1.5 C.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the report's findings were "an alarming appraisal of just how far off course we are" in meeting the Paris goals. — AFP

September 16, 2021 - 7:37am

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host a closed-door meeting of world leaders Monday on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York to boost climate commitments.

The roundtable comes less than six weeks before a major United Nations climate meeting, COP26, in Glasgow, aimed at ensuring the world meets its goal of holding century-end warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

"UNGA is the last big moment in the international calendar ahead of COP26," Britain's UN ambassador Barbara Woodward says in a statement. "Climate change will be the UK's top priority." — AFP

September 13, 2021 - 6:43pm

The UN rights chief warned Monday that environmental threats were worsening conflicts worldwide and would soon constitute the biggest challenge to human rights.

Michelle Bachelet said climate change, pollution and nature loss were already severely impacting rights across the board and said countries were consistently failing to take the necessary action to curb the damage.

"The interlinked crises of pollution, climate change and biodiversity act as threat multipliers, amplifying conflicts, tensions and structural inequalities, and forcing people into increasingly vulnerable situations," Bachelet told the opening of the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"As these environmental threats intensify, they will constitute the single greatest challenge to human rights of our era."

The former Chilean president said the threats were already "directly and severely impacting a broad range of rights, including the rights to adequate food, water, education, housing, health, development, and even life itself".

She said environmental damage usually hurt the poorest people and nations the most, as they often have the least capacity to respond. — AFP 

September 7, 2021 - 5:28pm

A global network of more than 1,500 climate NGOs called on Britain to postpone the upcoming COP26 climate summit, saying in a statement on Tuesday that a lack of COVID-19 vaccines risked sidelining developing countries.

Rising cases, unequal global vaccine rollout and stringent quarantine requirements for some 60 "red list" nations and territories hoping to attend the 12-day UN climate talks mean that "a safe, inclusive and just global climate conference is impossible," the Climate Action Network said.

"Our concern is that those countries most deeply affected by the climate crisis and suffering from the lack of support by rich nations in providing vaccines will be left out," said Tasneem Essop, CAN's executive director.

"There has always been an inherent power imbalance within the UN climate talks and this is now compounded by the health crisis." — AFP

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