Local advocates for a zero waste and toxics-free society are joining a growing chorus of voices seeking effective solutions to the global plastic pollution crisis.
In a press statement coinciding with the observance of the Earth Hour, the EcoWaste Coalition enjoined the government, industries and citizens to switch off tonight in solidarity with the worldwide efforts to protect the environment from single-use plastics – the focus of the Earth Hour this year.
“To halt the chemical and plastic contamination of our water bodies, particularly the oceans, the government has to adopt sweeping policy changes that will address the problem at source, incentivize single-use plastic reduction and disincentivize single-use plastic production, ” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“The government has to get a ban on single-use plastics in place this year as our country’s contribution to the global drive to protect the oceans from further plasticization,” she said
“A National Ban on Plastic and Plastic Products Act will be required to phase out single-use disposable plastics and usher in sustainable resource use. A National Action Plan will be needed to move our society away from our addiction to throw-away plastics,” she pointed out.
“As for the industries, especially for manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods, we urge them to fast track the replacement of single-use plastic packaging with alternative product delivery systems, like refill and reuse, with a clear plan and timeline,” she said.
“As for our citizens, we urge them to minimize, if not stop, the reckless use and disposal of single-use plastics, and to adopt consumption choices and habits that will lessen the generation of plastic garbage. We ask every waste generator to manage their discards responsibly to prevent plastics and other wastes from entering the marine environment,” she added.
The EcoWaste Coalition also took the opportunity to stress the importance of effectively enforcing the country’s key environmental laws such as RA 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act), RA 9275 (Clean Water Act) and RA 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act) to prevent chemicals and plastics from spilling into the oceans.
These pollution prevention laws, the group stressed, were enacted to protect the environment, including marine waters, from dumping and other environmentally- damaging acts.
According to the UN report “Marine Plastic Debris and Microplastics,” “80 percent of all pollution in the sea comes from land, including some eight million tons of plastic waste each year, that have cost the lives of one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals. Moreover, it causes $8 billion in damage annually to marine ecosystems.”