Climate and Environment

Most Filipinos support reducing plastic to fight pollution, climate change — poll

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Most Filipinos support reducing plastic to fight pollution, climate change � poll
This photo taken on September 18, 2019 shows a man sorting plastic items from piles of trash to be sold at recycling shops in Manila.
AFP/Maria Tan

MANILA, Philippines — A new survey by an environmental group suggested that nine in 10 Filipinos support reducing plastic production to combat plastic pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change. 

This sentiment was echoed in a poll commissioned by Greenpeace International, which found that 93% of Filipinos surveyed support a global treaty that cuts the production of plastics. 

The survey results also showed that 94% of Filipinos believe a cap on plastic production would not only address the plastic crisis, but also prevent biodiversity loss and limit global warming.

The results of the poll were released ahead of the fourth Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC4) meeting for a Global Plastics Treaty in Ottawa, Canada later this month.

Delegates from 173 countries will convene at INC4 to pave the way for final negotiations on a legally binding global plastics treaty.

Ninety-seven percent of Filipino respondents emphasized the importance of the Global Plastic Treaty including targets that oblige governments and corporations to transition away from single-use plastic packaging to reusable and refillable alternatives.

A significant majority, or 88%, also expressed support for a ban on single-use plastic packaging. 

These findings highlight Filipinos’ concern about plastic pollution, with 94% reporting worries about its health impacts on their loved ones and children.

“Filipinos are against plastic pollution and want genuine and lasting solutions to the plastic crisis because they know it’s harmful to health and the environment,” said Marian Ledesma, zero waste campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines. 

Global South most in favor 

Greenpeace said there was a “notable difference” between responses from the countries from the Global North and the Global South. 

Support for statements on reducing plastic production and banning single-use plastics were below the global average in Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

In contrast, the six countries where respondents consistently score above the global average are from the Global South: China, Egypt, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, and Thailand. 

“Global South countries are less likely to have the infrastructure to deal with plastic waste,21 whether it’s generated within the country or originating from other countries,” the Greenpeace report read. 

‘Phase down’

Ledesma called on the Philippine delegation to “show leadership and ambition” at the Global Plastics Treaty Negotiation. 

“Governments must seize this historic opportunity to establish a global target to phase down the production of plastic and deliver a just transition away from all virgin production capacity,” she said. 

Greenpeace proposes that the Global Plastics Treaty establish a target to reduce plastic production by at least 75% by 2040 to achieve the 1.5°C target, protect biodiversity, and address the full life cycle impacts of plastic.

The Philippines has an Extended Producer Responsibility law, which requires large enterprises to recover or offset their plastic packaging footprint. But groups like Greenpeace Philippines criticize the measure for failing to strengthen upstream interventions necessary to mitigate plastic pollution in the country.

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