Officials and civil society leaders gathered onboard the Rainbow Warrior on March 13, Wednesday, to sign a declaration aiming for Cebu to become a 100-percent plastic-free province.
The Declaration for a Cebu Free of Single-Use Plastic makes local government units commit to create and implement measures that reduce and eventually ban single-use plastics.
The Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace’s flagship, is now docked at Gate 7 of the Cebu International Port for the second stop of its “Ship It Back” campaign tour.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Abigail Aguilar said they want to call attention to and compel makers of fast-moving consumer goods, who are allegedly the top producers of single-use plastics in the world, to explore alternative delivery systems of their products.
“They have the capacity to redesign and explore alternative packaging to reduce their production of plastics,” she said.
Aguilar shared that during a cleanup they conducted in one of the rivers in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, they were able to collect at least 1,500 pieces of commercial sachets within the first four hours.
Among those who signed the declaration were Beau Baconguis, the Regional Coordinator for Break Free from Plastic Movement, Captain Pete Wilcox of the Rainbow Warrior, Tony Galon of the 5pcs Daily Habit and lawyer Rhea Yray of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office.
Baconguis urged the government to be more careful and particular in crafting environmental laws to ensure the full implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management, as there are some who are reportedly taking advantage of the ordinances’ loopholes.
“We should be billing these corporations for the pollution that they make, but the government must also find the loopholes of its environmental ordinances,”
Yray said the Cebu Provincial Government is venturing into waste to energy initiatives and waste recovery programs as solid waste conversion to ecobricks, ecohats, and ecobags.
However, Baconguis requested Penro not to push through with these, calling these false solutions.
“We are just converting solid waste to air pollution,” she said.
Yray then acknowledged Baconguis’ request.
The Rainbow Warrior will be open to the public from March 15 to 16.
“The ship is here to let people know that something like this is happening. For maybe with these plastics going into the water, there would be more micro plastic in the water than fish,” Wilcox said. / WENILYN B. SABALO, SUNSTAR CORRESPONDENT