09 October 2010

Climate Defenders Flaunt the Handy “Bayong” to Fight Global Warming as Local Market Sets “No Plastic Bag Day”





On the eve of the “Global Work Party” dubbed as 10/10/10, climate defenders trooped to a public market in Caloocan City to show off what could be the finest weapon that Filipinos can unleash to combat global warming: the “bayong.”

As part of the global day of action on climate solutions, members of the Ecology Ministry of the Diocese of Caloocan, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives gathered at Langaray Public Market in this city to rally citizens to rediscover the use of the unpretentious “bayong.”

“Bayong,” the lowly hand-woven native bag made of buri palm leaves or other locally available plant materials, is the “ecological weapon of choice” that Filipino consumers from all walks of life should make the best use of, the groups said.

“We can break our obsession with plastic bags by switching to the ever versatile ‘bayong’ that our elders were accustomed to before our society fell in love with anything convenient and disposable to the detriment of our fragile environment,” said civic leader Romy Hidalgo of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“Let the bayong be our ecological weapon of choice as citizens, while we ask our political leaders to initiate even bolder measures, globally and locally, to fight climate change,” he added.

“I commend the Langaray market vendors for heeding the call for ecological stewardship by encouraging consumers to drop the ubiquitous plastic bags,” stated Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr.

Bishop Iñiguez was referring to the move by the Samahang Pagkakaisa ng mga Tindera sa Talipapa (SPTT) to observe every Monday beginning October 11 as “No Plastic Bag Day” to cut unrestrained consumption and disposal of plastic bags.

"Ang palengke ang isa sa malaking pinagmumulan ng mga basurang plastik. Nais naming makatulong sa pagbabawas sa basura at sa polusyon na nagpapainit sa ating daigdig," said Rowell Gan, President of SPTT.

“Let us take pride in using the ‘bayong’ in the ‘palengke’ and even in shopping malls knowing that we are saving the planet, ourselves and the future generations by cutting our craving for plastic bags and the ensuing emissions,” appealed Bishop Iñiguez.

According to the groups, switching from plastic bags (which are petroleum-based products) to “bayong” will help in attaining the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which scientists set at 350 parts per million (the current level is 390 ppm).

Citing information from the Worldwatch Institute, the groups said that in the U.S. alone, an estimated 12,000,000 barrels of non-renewable petroleum oil are required to produce the 100 billion bags consumed annually.

Worldwide, some 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are consumed annually or over one million bags per minute with millions ending up as litter.

In the Philippines, government data indicate that plastic comprises 15 percent of Metro Manila’s solid waste, with food and kitchen waste accounting for about 45 percent, paper 16 percent, glass and wood 9 percent and other discards 15 percent.

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, some 756,986 kilos of garbage were collected during the coastal cleanup operations in 2009 with plastic bags constituting 300,176 kilos or almost half of the retrieved garbage from shorelines and waterways.

"Indeed, we can help in reversing the statistics and in stabilizing the earth’s climate by shifting to eco-friendly lifestyle starting by saying no to plastic bags and shifting to the ‘bayong’,” the groups said.

-end-

1. For more information about the “Global Work Party” and the 10/10/10 campaign, please log on to: http://www.350.org/

2. The Samahang Pagkakaisa ng mga Tindera sa Talipapa (SPTT), led by President Rowell Gan. adopted Resolution # 10-0710, which provides for 1) plastic bag use reduction to address garbage and climate pollution, 2) the use of “bayong,” “fish net bags” and other reusable containers in lieu of plastic bags, 3) the observance of “No Plastic Bag Day” every Monday, 4) the conduct of continuing climate change education among vendors and buyers, and 5) the adoption of a policy towards the ecological management of market waste. Additionally, the said resolution requires buyers who prefer to use plastic bags for goods purchased during the “No Plastic Bag Day” to be duly charged, while those who will bring their own bayong or other containers will be given discounts.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 329, Eagle Court Condominium
Matalino St., Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 441-1846
ecowastecoalition@yahoo.com

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