Beat plastic pollution: The plastic trail

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Ballescas - The Freeman

To all who have communicated with us about their partnership for our February Love Our Earth personal ecobrick campaign, our heartfelt gratitude, and the planet’s as well!

Our salute and applause to these schools/organizations/parents/children/students, government agencies/CSOs/church groups/barangays/LGUs, others that have committed to store their daily plastic items in a used PET bottle, their personal ecobrick, as their daily eco-offering for this month of love!

Each kilo of plastics kept away from polluting our waters, our land, and air is already a laudable, inspiring step and act towards beating plastic pollution together, as partners!

There is no way to go but to forge partnerships, to hold hands in unity to keep our world plastic free!

That means understanding and tracing the plastic trail in our midst.

That trail starts from plastic production, distribution, consumption, management and disposal.

All stakeholders involved in every stage of the plastic trail will need to understand their role either for the continuation of or the breaking away from plastic pollution!

Again, we stress.

The advocacy to create a better world, a more protected people and planet, requires unity and partnership. No one can solve this problem of plastic pollution alone or independent of the initiatives of others.

Until now, efforts to address plastic pollution have seen various stakeholders doing their own initiatives, kanya-kanya, ija-ija as Bol’anons would say.

Plastic producers, globally and locally, have to realize/recognize/accept that the problem of plastic pollution starts with the production of plastics.

Produced from fossil fuels, how many of the plastic producers, especially the giant companies, recognize the greater harm that their plastics cause for people and our earth than their comfortable economic profits?

The recent failure of the passage of the Global Plastic Treaty aimed at banning plastics is a loud testimony to the staying power/influence of giant plastic producers.

Until plastic production is halted, expect plastic pollution to continue.

Distributors buy and use produced plastic items for their business interests and for public convenience, they’d reason out.

Ranging from small single use dealers of fish/food/drinks out in the streets and public places to big companies selling their food/cosmetics/toiletries/drinks/and more, imagine how much plastics are circulated from the producers to the distributors, then to the consumers, including you and me.

And the consumers are legions, billions all over the world. And each day, this legion of consumers buy/use, and sadly, dispose and throw plastics just anywhere.

Among these consumers are those that try to reduce, avoid, prevent the use of plastics, but their number is insignificant.

The plastic trail has continued to take a linear path from production to disposal, the dominant waste paradigm of produce-distribute-consume-dispose unchanged.

Between plastic consumption and disposal, there are those who try to manage plastics through reduction, reuse, recycling, refusing, rethinking, repair.

There are those that adopt the circularity strategies starting from 3Rs (Reduce-Reuse-Recycle), extend to 4Rs (Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Recover) and moving to 9Rs or more (Refuse-Rethink-Reduce-Reuse-Repair-Refurbish-Remanufacture-Repurpose-Recycle-Recover).

Advocates encourage all to embrace these 10Rs of true eco living:Responsibility, Resist, Reduce, Return, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Restore, Respect and Reach Out.

And please, NO to dumpsites, burning and incineration of all wastes, including plastics!

To those who insist burning plastics is non-polluting, those who trade plastics for use in kilns and cement factories, can you please regularly do air-pollution tests so you can present real-time, reliable/scientific data to convince the public and critics of this method that your sector is burning plastics at acceptable, non-polluting temperatures?

Perhaps, these regular air pollution tests can be done collectively, with business/ DENR-EMB/researchers/CSOs joining the hard data quest for plastic incineration temperatures that do not pollute/or pollute our atmosphere?

Why #BeatPlasticPollution?

Aside from averting global warming,JP Sottile, in his February 19, 2024 article inTRUTHOUTshared researches confirming that “microplastics are now everywhere, polluting our food/water/even the clouds!”

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