Sunday, December 5, 2010

Plastic trash still top Manila Bay pollutants

Plastic trash is still the No. 1 source of pollution in Manila Bay, an audit of the garbage collected by various environmental groups showed.

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (Gaia) Greenpeace, Ecowaste Coalition, and other civil society groups said they examined 728 liters of polluted water from the bay early this week and found that 75.55 percent of debris gathered was composed of plastic garbage.

Biodegradable trash was the next largest pollutant at 10.99 percent. It was followed by glass, 5.77 percent; metals, 2.2 percent; hazardous waste, 1.38 percent; and rubber, 0.55 percent.

The garbage audit was among the activities held to mark the ninth Global Day of Action against Waste and Incineration. The Greenpeace flagship boat, Rainbow Warrior, traveled to the bay for the event, which mainly entailed the cleanup of Manila Bay’s shores and waters.

“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 the prime visible pollutants of Manila Bay. Our findings today reinforced what all of us already know: Plastics is a problem, and our penchant for patronizing disposable products magnifies this problem,” said Gigie Cruz of Gaia.

“Fortunately, there are now bills in Congress which propose to phase out, ban and tax plastic bags, and they have our full support,” she stated.

The figures from the garbage audit of the Manila Bay, one of the city’s tourist attractions and major waterways, highlighted the need to reduce Metro Manila’s trash.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said that it recently recovered 756,986 kilograms of trash from the country’s shoreline and waterways. Of that number, 622,448 kg consisted of plastic and rubber items.

About half of the plastic items thrown in the waters—300,716 kg—were plastic bags, the DENR said. It was followed by food wrappers/containers at 110,939 kg.


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