Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Group appeals to Manileños on garbage

A LOCAL waste-and-pollution watchdog on Wednesday appealed to Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim to ban the use of plastic banderitas to decorate the streets in the country’s capital city in celebrating fiestas, such as the coming feast of the Santo Niño in Tondo this weekend.

In a statement, the Ecowaste Coalition said the thin-film plastic bags used as banderitas or buntings will surely end up in garbage dumps after the festivities. This, the group said, is unacceptable considering the garbage problem that the country, particularly Metro Manila, is desperately trying to address.

“The use of these disposable bags as buntings represents a very short-lived, superficial and nonessential use of the materials, which, while sold cheaply, require lots of raw materials and fuel to manufacture and trade,” Roy Alvarez, president of EcoWaste Coalition, stated.

“It is simply not sustainable to be spending for disposable décor that we know would add to the city’s waste problem and to environmental pollution not only in places where the buntings are hanged, but also in distant communities where these are later dumped or burned,” he emphasized.

The group appealed to Lim and the rest of the city’s officials, including the members of the city council, led by Vice Mayor Iskho Moreno, to support and echo the appeal for a greener fiesta.

“If Manila will initiate measures to control and eliminate wasteful fiesta habits, we are certain that the entire country will take notice and follow suit,” he added.

The EcoWaste Coalition’s Basura Patrol visited Pandacan on Tuesday and found out that some 55,000 pieces of red thin-film bags were used up to decorate a portion of Narciso Street in barangay 848, zone 92, which has an approximate length of less than 500 meters.

In barangay 833, zone 91, some 15,000 pieces were consumed in Pandacan and Talundon streets, according to kagawad Rez Cabunilas.

The group said kagawad Violeta Casidsid and Luzviminda Armobit reported that some 15,000 pieces were used on Adolfo Street and another 16,000 pieces in Laura Street, both in barangay 862, zone 94.

The group further revealed that as per barangay 862 officials, the thin-film plastic bags cost P56 per 1,000 pieces. On top of this, they also have to use at least two rolls of plastic rope per street at P50 per roll and also for wires at P75 per kilo.

While expressing its concern over the use of plastic bags as buntings, the EcoWaste Coalition commended the Santo Niño de Pandacan Parish for the smart use of reusable cloth decorations that are adorning the church patio.

Long-time parish maintenance staff member Boy Acosta told the Basura Patroller that the multicolor, cloth-based décor have been used since 2005.

In lieu of single-use buntings made of plastic bags, packaging scraps and product advertisements, the EcoWaste Coalition suggests the use of eco-friendly substitutes as buntings.

The group requested politicians to refrain from putting up “happy fiesta” banners on streets, electric posts and trees, stressing that such banners only add to street clutter and have become environmental nuisance.

Resources spent for wasteful buntings and banners are better used for pre- and post-fiesta community cleanup activities, the EcoWaste Coalition said.


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