Sunday, January 30, 2011

Group decries demonization of plastics

The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) said the campaign to avoid use of plastic products is misplaced.

FPI Jesus Arranza said national and local officials advocating a ban or imposition of levies on plastics are barking up the wrong tree and should instead direct their attention to better waste management and recycling programs.

Arranza said that contrary to common belief, plastics are actually the better option environmentally speaking since they retain 100 percent of the energy required to produce them. Besides, plastics are also cheaper and more convenient to use.

"It is a wrong argument to say that plastics should be banned because the sewers are getting clogged. Plastics are not the problem but the waste recovery and recycling system. That is the area where we should focus our attention on and not on the use of plastics per se," Arranza said.

There should also be stricter implementation of laws and ordinances on anti-littering and waste segregation, he added.

Arranza said the local plastics industry employs about 175,000 people so government units should think twice before coming up with regulations that will jeopardize their livelihood.

Arranza said all it takes is improved waste recovery and recycling programs from the barangay level up to the national government.

"In England, for example, they managed to put up the world’s largest recycling facility out of the proceeds from the sale of the recovered wastes," Arranza said.

He said plastic wastes have a ready market in local plastic makers so the local government units only need to come up with effective schemes in collecting these recyclable materials.

Arranza said aside from preventing the sewers from getting clogged, an improved waste recovery and recycling program will also have multiple positive effects.

He added barangays and their communities will have additional earnings from the sale of the recovered plastics while ensuring local plastics makers of ready inputs for production.

This will also help the country save on foreign currency as the volume of resins importation will go down.

Muntinlupa became the first city in the metropolis to ban the use of plastics, a move that was lauded by the Metro Manila Development Authority. There are also proposals to impose additional levies on the use of plastics.


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