Philippines drowning in plastic bag waste

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Philippines Drowning In Plastic Bag WasteThe Philippines has a growing environmental problem with waste from plastic bags, with 164 million mostly non-recyclable pieces being thrown away by Filipinos on a daily basis.

This is the result of a study on the country’s plastic pollution problem by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), a worldwide alliance of more than 600 environmental grassroots groups and non-governmental organizations, which also revealed that nearly 60 billion sachets a year are distributed, representing a “shocking amount” of single-use plastic in the country.

Of the total, every day, almost 57 million plastic bags are used as shopping bags throughout the Philippines, adding up to more than 20 billion a year. And there are the smaller, thinner, and often transparent plastic bags known as “labo” bags – around 16.5 billion of those are used per year across the country, the report says.

The study is part of an effort to collect data on plastic consumption as environmentalists push for government action to reduce plastic waste. The figures are based on 21 waste assessments conducted in six cities and seven municipalities across the Philippines, with the national figures produced by extrapolating from local results.

More than half of non-recyclable plastic analysed in the survey came from sachets – small plastic packets often lined with aluminum or containing other materials that make them non-recyclable.

“On a per capita basis, it’s about one [non-recyclable] sachet per person per day,” said Froilan Grate, executive director of GAIA’s Asia-Pacific office.

“But on a per-year, per-city basis, it’s quite shocking. It runs into the millions and billions depending on the place,” he added.

The report further noted that the figures showed “that the sheer volume of residual waste generated daily is beyond the capacity of barangays, cities and municipalities to manage,” noting that the problem was the huge amount of single-use plastics being produced.

“With the absence of policies mandating liability and accountability of the production of this problematic waste stream, cities and municipalities are left to deal with this problem using taxpayers’ money,” GAIA’s report said, “adding that “this highlights the urgent need for interventions that involve manufacturers in taking responsibility for their plastic waste, primarily by drastically reducing production of throwaway plastic packaging.”

The report also called on the government to adopt a comprehensive national plastic bag ban that promotes reusable bags, regulate other single-use plastic products, mandate companies to redesign packaging and strengthen the ban against waste incineration.

“Plastic is not a litter problem, it is a pollution problem, and it starts as soon as the plastic is made. Faced with no choice but plastic packaging, people are forced to be complicit in the plastic pollution crisis,” the study said.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Philippines has a growing environmental problem with waste from plastic bags, with 164 million mostly non-recyclable pieces being thrown away by Filipinos on a daily basis.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Philippines Drowning In Plastic Bag WasteThe Philippines has a growing environmental problem with waste from plastic bags, with 164 million mostly non-recyclable pieces being thrown away by Filipinos on a daily basis.

This is the result of a study on the country’s plastic pollution problem by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), a worldwide alliance of more than 600 environmental grassroots groups and non-governmental organizations, which also revealed that nearly 60 billion sachets a year are distributed, representing a “shocking amount” of single-use plastic in the country.

Of the total, every day, almost 57 million plastic bags are used as shopping bags throughout the Philippines, adding up to more than 20 billion a year. And there are the smaller, thinner, and often transparent plastic bags known as “labo” bags – around 16.5 billion of those are used per year across the country, the report says.

The study is part of an effort to collect data on plastic consumption as environmentalists push for government action to reduce plastic waste. The figures are based on 21 waste assessments conducted in six cities and seven municipalities across the Philippines, with the national figures produced by extrapolating from local results.

More than half of non-recyclable plastic analysed in the survey came from sachets – small plastic packets often lined with aluminum or containing other materials that make them non-recyclable.

“On a per capita basis, it’s about one [non-recyclable] sachet per person per day,” said Froilan Grate, executive director of GAIA’s Asia-Pacific office.

“But on a per-year, per-city basis, it’s quite shocking. It runs into the millions and billions depending on the place,” he added.

The report further noted that the figures showed “that the sheer volume of residual waste generated daily is beyond the capacity of barangays, cities and municipalities to manage,” noting that the problem was the huge amount of single-use plastics being produced.

“With the absence of policies mandating liability and accountability of the production of this problematic waste stream, cities and municipalities are left to deal with this problem using taxpayers’ money,” GAIA’s report said, “adding that “this highlights the urgent need for interventions that involve manufacturers in taking responsibility for their plastic waste, primarily by drastically reducing production of throwaway plastic packaging.”

The report also called on the government to adopt a comprehensive national plastic bag ban that promotes reusable bags, regulate other single-use plastic products, mandate companies to redesign packaging and strengthen the ban against waste incineration.

“Plastic is not a litter problem, it is a pollution problem, and it starts as soon as the plastic is made. Faced with no choice but plastic packaging, people are forced to be complicit in the plastic pollution crisis,” the study said.

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