QUEZON CITY, Philippines- Champion women and activists for the environment call on marketgoers and the public to minimize the use of plastic bags and instead use the traditional bayong, basket and other reusable materials to do their shopping.
The “green” queens composed of Miss Philippines-Earth Jeanne Harn, Miss Philippines-Water Joyce Nocomura, Miss Philippines-Ecotourism Ana Katrina Bautista, and former Miss Philippines-Earth Cathy Untalan, human rights activist and Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, “Boy Bayong” and members of the EcoWaste Coalition bought fruits, vegetables and other goods using bayong, cloth bags and other reusable containers at the Nepa Q-Mart in Quezon City. The goods they bought were donated to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Reception and Action Center.
“Every rainy season, thousands of Filipinos are besieged with floods due to waterways clogged with plastic bags, styrofoam and other disposable materials. Children are forced to wade in dirty water going to school while many communities suffer from rat and pest infestations all because of our own garbage,” said Harn in a statement.
“But, we can be a part of the solution. Taking and using reusable carry bags to the supermarket, palengke or sari-sari store is a friendly gift to our environment,” she further said.
According to the latest monitoring of the 15 large pumping stations in the metropolis by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), there was a drastic increase in the volume of garbage collected in 2005 from 13, 988 cubic meters to 18,796 cubic meters. Major rivers and tributaries in Metro Manila like the Pasig, Marikina, and Tullahan Rivers have been clogged with mixed waste, mostly plastics.
In the discard survey facilitated by EcoWaste Coaliton and Greenpeace in Manila Bay in 2006, 76% of the garbage collected were plastics and 51% of these are single-use disposable plastic bags.
"We have to rethink our lifestyle and minimize our demand for plastics and disposable items. Let us support the choices that provide health and ecological benefits as well as financial savings and aesthetic advantages," said Troy Lacsamana of the Task Force Plastics of EcoWaste Coalition.
The EcoWaste Coalition calls on the Congress to pass laws to regulate the production and use of plastics while giving incentives to promote earth-friendly containers. Akbayan Party-list through Baraquel filed a bill in Congress to minimize the production and use of single-use plastics and disposable plastic wares. The ecogroup also welcomes the initiatives of different establishments to encourage the public to minimize the use of plastic bags or other disposable materials.
The Balik Bayong event also drew the participation of Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm, Kaalagad Katipunang Kristiyano, Miriam P.E.A.C.E., Mother Earth Foundation, November 17 Movement, Sagip Pasig Movement and Zero Waste Philippines.
For more information, please call Troy Lacsamana at 0917-8290925 or the EcoWaste Coalition at (02) 929-0376. Photos by Gigie Cruz of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).
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