De Lima joins calls for PH to ban single-use plastics

Published July 7, 2019, 3:36 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Hannah Torregoza 

Detained Senator Leila de Lima has called on the government to implement a policy banning single-use plastics in the country, saying the whole nation must heed the global fight against worsening plastic pollution.

Senator Leila de Lima (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Leila de Lima

“Single-use plastics such as drink stirrers, grocery bags, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, plastic cups and fast-food containers continue to pollute our waters and block waterways that often lead to flooding, especially during this rainy season,” De Lima said.

“We urgently need to increase public awareness and education on how overconsumption of plastics can adversely impact our ecosystems and push for the phase-out of single-use plastics in our country,” she added.
De Lima underscored the necessity to increase public awareness on plastic pollution not only to remind the populace to use reusable materials but also to prompt the government to take necessary and urgent actions involving plastic pollution.

Citing a 2017 Ocean Conservancy report, the opposition lawmaker noted that China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines dump more than half of the eight million tons of plastic waste that end up in oceans every year.

“Ang mga basurang nalilikha sa buong bansa ay madalas napupunta sa kanal, estero, ilog at dagat (The wastes that is created in the whole country usually end up in our canals, rivers and seas),” the senator pointed out.

“Kung titingnan lang natin sa Manila Bay, makikita natin na sa kabila ng tangkang linisin ito, patuloy pa rin at higit na dumadami ang mga basurang tinatambak dito, (if we would just look at Manila Bay, we can see that despite the efforts to clean it, garbage are still being dumped here),” she said.

During the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok last month, the 10-member states made a commitment to combat marine debris, including “addressing the unsustainable use and disposal of single-use plastic products” by adopting the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region.

The ASEAN leaders reportedly agreed to support “an integrated land-to-sea approach to prevent and reduce marine debris and strengthen national laws and regulations as well as enhance regional and international cooperation including on relevant policy dialogue and information sharing.”

De Lima urged the government to undertake the necessary research to present the best alternatives to single-use plastics and assess its impact on several industry workers.

“We need to take heed of the global campaign to reduce plastic waste seriously if we want our children and our children’s children to have a better world to live in,” she said.