Monday, October 11, 2010

Church, eco groups promote 'bayong' vs global warming

Church and ecological groups on Saturday paraded the "bayong" as the
ecological weapon of choice against global warming, on the eve of the
“Global Work Party" seeking solutions to the climate crisis by Oct. 10

The Caloocan diocese's ecology ministry and EcoWaste Coalition
gathered at Langaray Public Market in Caloocan City to urge citizens
to use the bayong (traditional native bag).

“We can break our obsession with plastic bags by switching to the ever
versatile ‘bayong’ that our elders were accustomed to before our
society fell in love with anything convenient and disposable to the
detriment of our fragile environment," Romy Hidalgo of EcoWaste said
on the group's blog site.

Caloocan bishop Deogracias Iñiguez Jr. commended the Langaray market
vendors for heeding the call for ecological stewardship by encouraging
consumers to drop the plastic bags, which are non-renewable,
oil-consuming and mostly non-biodegradable.

The Samahang Pagkakaisa ng mga Tindera sa Talipapa (SPTT) moved to
observe every Monday beginning October 11 as “No Plastic Bag Day."

“Let us take pride in using the bayong in the palengke [market] and
even in shopping malls knowing that we are saving the planet,
ourselves and the future generations by cutting our craving for
plastic bags and the ensuing emissions," he said.

SPTT president Rowell Gan earlier noted markets' heavy use of plastic
bags, which may harm the environment. The ecological groups said
switching from plastic bags to bayong will help in attaining the safe
upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which scientists set
at 350 parts per million (the current level being 390 ppm).

Citing information from the Worldwatch Institute, the groups said that
in the United States alone, some 12 million barrels of non-renewable
petroleum oil are required to produce the 100 billion bags consumed
annually. Worldwide, some 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are
consumed annually or over one million bags per minute with millions
ending up as litter.

In the Philippines, government data indicate that plastic comprises 15
percent of Metro Manila’s solid waste, with food and kitchen waste
accounting for about 45 percent, paper 16 percent, glass and wood 9
percent and other discards 15 percent.

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, some
756,986 kilos of garbage were collected during the coastal cleanup
operations in 2009, with plastic bags constituting 300,176 kilos or
almost half of the retrieved garbage from shorelines and waterways.

“Indeed, we can help in reversing the statistics and in stabilizing
the earth’s climate by shifting to eco-friendly lifestyle starting by
saying no to plastic bags and shifting to the bayong," the groups

Just last month, the DENR and Earth Day Network Philippines, Inc.
launched "Pagbabag ko, Pagbabago!" a reusable bag campaign.

Also last month, Pampanga Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr.
introduced Resolution 783 in the House of Representatives. House
Resolution 783 provides for the phase-out of plastic bags as packing
materials of goods sold or disposed by sari-sari stores, market
vendors, department stores, and similar establishments, prescribing
penalties therefore, and for other purposes, the Sun Star reported on
its website.

In the bill, Gonzales refers to Section 16, Article 11 of the 1987
Constitution, which declares “the State shall protect and advance the
right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with
the rhythm and harmony of nature."

“The use of plastics is one of the causes of ecological degradation,
the same being non-biodegradable; the use of plastic bags as packing
materials of goods sold by business establishments can be attributed
as one main factor in the environmental problems we are facing,"
Gonzales was quoted as saying in the report.


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