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Environmentalists seek phaseout of plastic bags

[ manilastandardtoday.com ] July 4, 2011
ENVIRONMENTALISTS want plastic bags phased out and organic reusable bags promoted.

EcoWaste Coalition president Roy Alvarez said they are batting for a law that would boost waste management by phasing out plastic bags and promote recycling, among other things.

Environmental groups gathered at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City on Sunday to mark International Plastic Bag-Free Day.

The groups also warned about the proliferation of supposed biodegradable plastics.

“Degradable plastic bags merely perpetuate ‘throw-away’ and ‘dispose-as-usual’ mentality as it gives the wrong impression that discarding them the habitual way is okay since they degrade anyway. This raises at least two problems: littering and continued production of plastic waste,” Greenpeace campaigner Beau Baconguis said on the news site gmanews.tv.

“If at all, it is only a stopgap or temporary measure that we also have to do away with on our way back to using organic reusable bags,” Mother Earth Foundation President Froilan Grate said in the same news site. “The trick is simply not to get duped into believing that degradable plastic bag is the solution.”

The groups lauded several local government units for enforcing a ban on plastic bags, among them Muntinlupa City, Los Baños in Laguna, Batangas City, and Lucban in Quezon province.

Muntinlupa Mayor Aldrin San Pedro had earlier boasted that the absence of floods in the city during storm “Falcon” was due to a ban on plastic bags and styrophor materials.

The groups called for the enactment of a law that will:

• phase out plastic bags both regular and degradable;

• promote organic reusable bags;

• espouse take-back mechanisms and recycling;

• support LGUs in their waste management initiatives;

• impose environmental levy on plastic bags; and

• for accountability purposes, label so-called “degradable” plastic bags to show name of manufacturers, manufacturing date, and the degradation period of the bag.
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