Legarda to file bills to ban microplastics, single-use plastics

Sen. Loren Legarda (File photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Sen. Loren Legarda said she would file bills banning microplastics in consumer products and single-use plastics that harmed the environment and threatened aquatic life.

Speaking at the 4th Asia-Pacific Coral Reef Symposium in Cebu on Monday, Legarda said the Philippines had one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world but was also a major source of plastic trash in the world’s oceans.

The country contributes 2.7 million metric tons of plastic waste and 500,000 MT of plastic waste leakage per year, she said.

Legarda said countries like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom had passed laws or banned plastic microbeads that are usually found in shampoos, toothpaste and cleansers.

Microplastics could pass through water filtration systems and end up in the sea and pose a threat to aquatic life.

Throwaway culture

“It is now time for the Philippines to implement the same law,” Legarda said.  “Banning microplastics and single-use plastics will help reduce waste and move people away from a throwaway culture.”

“The waste that we produce, unless minimized and managed properly, will find its way into our oceans and will affect both marine and human life,” she added.

Legarda called on local governments to do their part and strictly enforce laws on conservation and sustainable marine biodiversity.

She urged government agencies to team up with academic institutions for marine conservation and coral rehabilitation. /atm