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Editorial

Less plastic

/ 08:15 AM March 20, 2012

Yesterday’s report about the plastics industry’s statement on the use of brown bags and newspapers is noteworthy if only to reiterate the effect that the plastics ban imposed by malls and establishments had on them.

Crispin Lao, spokesman of the plastics industry, said contrary to perception, plastic is  safer for wrapping food than paper that contains chemicals that may contaminate the food.

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Lao also said the use of plastic shouldn’t be blamed for the country’s garbage problem. He said this is the fault of local government units (LGUs) that didn’t enforce the waste segregation program that would have prevented plastic products from clogging drainage systems.

The Ecowaste Coalition debunked Lao’s position, saying that the manufacture of plastics involves the use of chemicals and petroleum, a dwindling natural resource.

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Lao’s position is understandable, but we doubt if it would convince commercial establishments and malls like SM to backtrack on its  program to encourage customers to use brown bags in lieu of plastic as part of their environmental advocacy.

The success of that program as well as the enforcement of a plastics ban by Metro Manila local government units in the wet markets and commercial establishments  provoked a response from Lao and the plastics industry, which may soon find themselves in the same corner as tobacco farmers and the tobacco industry.

Plastics as waste products are non-biodegradable and thus more difficult to dispose of than paper. Unlike paper, which is easily soaked and shredded to pieces, plastics don’t deteriorate. They remain  intact  in garbage sites and canals for years.

With the reality of  global warming and Climate Change,  Lao and the plastics industry should wake up to the reality that their products will see a marked decline in public demand as more people are made aware of the benefits of using recyclable products  or reducing waste.

Nevertheless,  Lao has a point. The frequent use of paper in lieu of plastic doesn’t mean LGUs can take it easy in enforcing the waste segregation program. Reduced use of plastics only means less garbage to worry about clogging the canals and flooding the city streets.

The government can only do so much. It’s up to the public to use resources of nature and synthetics like plastic responsibly.

Cutting down the use of plastic is only  part of the “war” to save sources of life itself—land, air, water.

It’s a habit we should develop, and a small sacrifice to make, to ensure we survive and thrive in this home we call Earth.

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TAGS: Climate Change, Environmental Issues, Global warming, Plastic Ban
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