Sunday, December 5, 2010

Plastic top culprit in Manila Bay pollution

THE Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), an international coalition of environmental groups, in its latest waste audit, said plastic remains the top cause of pollution in Manila Bay.

According to GAIA, plastic trash comprised 75 percent of garbage retrieved from Manila Bay.

"Of the waste recovered, 75.55 percent was composed of plastic discards, mostly plastic bags and polystyrene products," GAIA said.

The waste audit was conducted last Nov. 28 to mark the ninth "Global Day of Action" against waste and incineration.

"Biodegradables made up a far second at 10.99 percent; glass, 5.77 percent; metals, 2.2 percent; hazardous waste, 1.38 percent; and rubber, 0.55 percent," the coalition said.

GAIA has 650 members from 92 countries.

It has conducted a similar discard survey in 2006, ranking plastic discards as the number one solid wastes polluting the Manila Bay.

Of the 76.9 percent of the total plastic trash recovered in 2006, 51.4 percent were plastic bags, 19 percent junk food wrappers and sachets, five percent styrofoam and one percent hard plastics.

The rest of the recovered trashes were rubber at 10.2 percent and biodegradable waste at 12.9 percent.

"Considering the outgoing current, we still collected quite a volume of trash and it is unfortunate that plastic items led by plastic bags and styro products remain to be the prime visible pollutants of Manila Bay," said Gigie Cruz of GAIA.

"Our findings today reinforced what all of us already know: plastics is a problem and our penchant for patronizing disposable products magnifies this problem," she added.

Cruz said pending bills in the Congress such as House Bills 127, 651, and 2109 should immediately be passed to stop the proliferation of plastic bags in the country.

"These bills that are now in Congress, which propose to phase out, ban and tax plastic bags should be supported," she said.

The three House Bills sought to impose a plastic bag levy; mandating the use of recyclable or biodegradable materials for the packaging of consumer products; and banning the use of plastic bags in groceries, restaurants and other establishments.


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