Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Caloocan market goes green, gives ‘bayong’ to customers

A public market in Caloocan City has enforced a
ban on plastic bags every Monday, forcing customers to bring their own
totes to reduce their nonbiodegradable garbage output.

Vendors at Langaray public market in Dagat-Dagatan, Caloocan City,
instead distributed woven baskets or “bayong” for free to customers
who did their shopping.

Rowell Gan, president of Samahang Pagkakaisa ng mga Tindera sa
Talipapa (SPTT), the cooperative that runs the market, said the
vendors agreed to promote the use of reusable bags after they realized
that plastic bags that clog the waterways contributed to flooding in
their area.

“This is the reason why the front of the market gets flooded every
time it rains. If it gets flooded, we lose customers. We cleaned up
the canals one day and we saw that it was clogged with plastic,” he
told Inquirer.

If the results are good, maybe in the future, we can ban plastic bags
every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until we prohibit it totally,” Gan

Although there were complaints at the start from customers who did not
bring their own bags, many were receptive to the idea, Gan said.

The initiative of Langaray market sellers drew praise from Church officials.

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

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

Several groups like Earth Day Network and EcoWaste Coalition recently
called on the government to ban the use of plastic bags.
The groups noted that consumers could use alternatives to plastic bags
such as bayong and baskets made of biodegradable plant materials. Old
garments and cloth could also be made into bags, they said.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, environment
groups and supermarket chains recently agreed to encourage clients to
bring their own bags one day each week to raise awareness on the
harmful effects of plastic on the environment.


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