Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Plastics ban for Metro Manila wins support

An environmental group has supported the call of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for all 17 local government units in Metro Manila to take measures to curb the use of plastics.

“We praise MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino’s eagerness to ban plastic bags and containers similar to what Muntinlupa and other innovative local government units have done. Phasing out these problematic materials will significantly address our garbage and climate woes,” said Troy Lacsamana of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force Plastics.

Tolentino had earlier commended Muntinlupa City for enacting City Ordinance 10-109, the first city-wide ban on plastic bags and polystyrene food containers in Metro Manila.

“The MMDA strongly encourages LGUs to adopt similar strong measures such as this to combat the dangerous effects of environmental degradation which leads to massive flooding and climate change,”Tolentino said in commending Muntinlupa’s initiative.

Lacsamana said resolute action to control, if not eradicate, plastic pollution will also benefit local government units (LGU) in terms of meeting their waste reduction targets, as well as in trimming down the associated disposal costs which usually run into millions of pesos.

“Our LGUs have been carrying the plastic garbage burden, spending millions of pesos in de-clogging waterways and in managing residual plastic discards. The industry should be responsible for the massive waste they produce instead of passing the burden to the government and the people. It’s totally unfair for LGUs to be spending their meager funds in collecting and finding ways to ecologically manage these problematic materials. This problem should be addressed by the producers themselves,” he added.

Prior to Muntinlupa’s action, Los Baños in Laguna, Carmona in Cavite, Sta. Barbara in Iloilo, Lucban in Quezon and other LGUs have imposed prohibitions or restrictions on the use of plastic bags in their areas of jurisdiction.

According to the group, banning these problematic plastic products has major climate-friendly implications since this will reduce the use of fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the ban will help curb the “throw-away” mentality promoted by plastic bags designed for single-use.

The MMDA earlier said majority of the more than 8, 000 metric tons of garbage collected in Metro Manila daily are comprised of plastics. The agency has also raised the alarm on the haphazard dumping of plastic products clogging the already overburdened drainage system of the metropolis and resulting to flooding during heavy rains.

Uncontrolled dumping of waste was one of the factors the MMDA put the blame in the massive flooding when typhoon Ondoy hit the metropolis in 2009


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