Sunday, December 5, 2010

Plastic trash top polluter in Manila Bay

The result of a waste audit conducted by green advocates show that plastic discards remain the top polluter in the heavily-polluted Manila Bay.

As part of the 9th Global Day of Action Against Waste and Incineration, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Greenpeace, EcoWaste Coalition, and various civil society organizations conducted a follow up to their 2006 waste audit of Manila Bay last Sunday.

About 728 liters of waste was collected and segregated into 12 classifications, namely, plastic bags, composites, polystyrene, hard plastics, plastic bottles, hazardous wastes, rubber, metal, glass, biodegradables, nappies, and other discards.

Of the collected debris, 75.55 percent was composed of plastic discards, mostly plastic bags and polystyrene products.

Biodegradables were second at 10.99 percent; glass, 5.77 percent; metals 2.2 percent; hazardous waste 1.38 percent; and rubber 0.55 percent.

Last Sunday, the “land” team collected litter along the shore of Manila Bay stretching from the Manila Yacht Club to the United States Embassy, while the “water” team rode boats and collected floating garbage offshore from the Yacht Club to Baseco Compound in Tondo, Manila.

GAIA pointed out that in their 2006 waste audit results, plastic discards also ranked number one at 76 percent among the various categories of solid waste polluting Manila Bay.

“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. Our findings today reinforced what all of us already know: Plastics is a problem and our penchant for patronizing disposable products magnifies this problem,” Gigie Cruz of GAIA said.

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

GAIA called House Bill No. (HB) 127 authored by Rep. Al Francis Bichara, HB No. 651 by Rep. Sonny Angara, and HB No. 2109 by representatives Rufus Rodriguez and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. which are respectively imposing 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 as “important laws which time has come.”

“We can only do so much cleaning visible trash, but toxic discharges which are actually more harmful remain invisible. In line with Zero Waste principles, Greenpeace is calling for a mandatory pollution disclosure system that will be the first step to eliminate these hidden toxics in our waters,” Beau Baconguis, toxics campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said.


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