CALOOCAN CITY, June 4 (PIA) -- The 47th episode of "Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways" series with the topic, "Uniting Against Single-Use Plastic" featured representatives from big civil society organizations advocating for the phase-out of single-use plastics (SUPs) and calling for the immediate passage of the proposed Single-use Plastic Products Regulation Bill to dramatically reduce the dangerous effects of unnecessary plastics on people's health, the environment, and climate.
The online conversation conceptualized and hosted by three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda featured guests Froilan Grate, Regional Coordinator of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and President of Mother Earth Foundation; Atty. Gloria Ramos, Vice President of Oceana Philippines; and Marian Ledesma, Zero Waste Campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines.
"Umaabot sa tatlong milyong metric tons ng basura, at 500,000 metric tons ang plastic waste leakage kada taon. At ayon sa GAIA, tayong mga Pilipino ay gumagamit ng 59.7 billion na piraso ng sachet kada taon. Sa 100 million Filipinos, kung lahat ay gumagamit ng sachet, lumalabas na kada tao ay nagtatapon ng 597 pieces ng sachet per year. Hindi biro ang bilang na ito. Karamihan sa plastic na basura na tinatapon ay hindi nareresikulo. Nananatili ito sa karagatan for hundreds of years. Let's spend time to reflect on our consumption of single-use plastic," Legarda emphasized.
The civil society organizations presented their programs and projects across communities to address the problems caused by plastic pollution, and shared plastic-free alternatives in local enterprises and alternative delivery systems and reuse solutions.
"In a zero-waste system, kailangang sistema talaga ang nakikita natin, where the recyclables are being collected para ibalik at magagamit ito ulit. Ang ating mga food scrap at basura mula sa kusina na nabubulok ay magagamit muli via composting methods. Yung residual, yung trash natin, dito pumapasok yung efforts ng ating mga legislators para i-address via EPR (Extended Producer's Responsibility) or SUP (Single-Use Plastic) ban na moving na sa ngayon. With companies, we are pushing them to redesign their products at magbenta ng kanilang produkto na hindi gumagamit ng plastic. It's a whole system, lahat tayo ay may papel na gagampanan, pero kailangan din na makita yung buong sistema," said Grate.
"We know that the solution is in our hands but we need to work harder, work together, collaborate, and it's important to have consumers who are informed, and fully engaged in decision-making, ito yung kailangang magawa natin. Our call is to really stop plastic pollution at the source. The National Solid Waste Management Commission should already issue the list of non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging. This will go a long way in stopping plastic pollution at the very source," said Atty. Ramos.
"We really hope that more businesses can innovate their system and be early adaptors to new processes that are built around the idea of plastic-use reduction. Their innovation can really change the way the world does business and it can also change our system for the better," said Ledesma.
The episode is held in time with the approval of House Bill No. 9147 or the Single-Use Plastics Products Regulation Act on the second reading. The bill, sponsored by the House Committee on Ecology Chair and co-authored by Legarda, seeks to phase out various types of plastics in the coming years.
Commissioner Rachel Herrera of the Climate Change Commission also joined the conversation and conveyed the national government's efforts in the campaign to regulate single-use plastics, particularly the Anti Single-Use Plastic campaign spearheaded by the CCC and the Department of Finance, in collaboration with national government agencies.
"Buo ang suporta ng Executive Department agencies para sa pagsasabatas nito, through the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR) Resolution No. 1 adopted this year, which expresses its support for this national regulation and phase-out of single-use plastics. Sa Senado ay marami rin pong kaparehong Senate bills. Senator Manny Pacquiao has filed the Single-Use Plastics Regulation Bill (SBN 2262) last June 1," said Commissioner Herrera.
Legarda has also filed House Resolution No. 1829, urging Congress to conduct an inquiry of the National Solid Waste Management Commission and other national government agencies on the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (Republic Act 9003), specifically on the provision on non-environmentally acceptable products or packaging.
"Mula nung naisabatas ang RA 9003 noong January 2001 ay dapat nakalista na yung mga pinagbabawal o phase-out na plastic, dapat na-implement, pero hanggang ngayon, 20 years na ang nakalilipas, ay wala pa ring listahan. Let us look into the non-implementation of the list ng ipinagbabawal sa ilalim ng Ecological Solid Waste Management Law," Legarda stressed.
As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, "Stories for a Better Normal" aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a 'better normal' can be realized within our communities.
This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Department of Education, Philippine Information Agency, Mother Earth Foundation, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, and The Climate Reality Project-Philippines. (PIA NCR)