Friday, October 22, 2010

Say no to plastic bags, diocese says

A diocese in the Philippine capital has urged Catholics to use grass
baskets, locally known as bayong, instead of plastic bags when they go
to market.

“Let us take pride in using the bayong—knowing that we are saving the
planet, ourselves and future generations by cutting our craving for
plastic bags,” said Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez of Kalookan.

The diocese’s ecology ministry and the EcoWaste Coalition held a
bayong parade on Oct. 9, eve of the Global Work Party, an event
addressing the global climate crisis.

“Let’s switch to the versatile bayong that our elders were accustomed
to before our society fell in love with anything convenient and
disposable,” said Romy Hidalgo of the EcoWaste Coalition.

Bishop Iñiguez lauded the initiative, saying plastic bags are
polluting the environment.

Environment groups said switching from plastic bags to the traditional
basket will help achieve the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the

Worldwatch Institute revealed that some 12 million barrels of
non-renewable petroleum oil are required to produce 100 billion
plastic bags.

Some 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are used annually and
over one million bags end up as litter worldwide.

In the Philippines, 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.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said some 756,986
kilograms of garbage were collected during the coastal clean-up
operations in 2009, with plastic bags constituting 300,176 kilograms
or almost half of the retrieved garbage from shorelines and waterways.

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

He was referring to the move by vendors in his diocese who decided to
observe every Monday, beginning Oct. 11, a No Plastic Bag Day.


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