Luczon: Political pollutants


THE battle for reducing to near-impossible non-use of plastic materials remains uphill.

And in this time of political campaigning, the term "plastic" even transcended to a figurative meaning, as it no longer referring to the solid non-biodegradable material, but also alluding to some candidates who seem to have mastered the art of hypocrisy.

It can be recalled that the Philippines is one of the five countries in Asia, if not the world, contributing to the plastic wastes that were washed ashore in the ocean. This was based on the 2015 report on plastic pollution by Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.

This means that the country is too dependent on plastics, that it is not enough to see mountain piles of plastic garbage every day, some of these go to the bodies of water - from rivers going downstream to the oceans.

The recent discovery of a dead whale in Davao Oriental, which findings inside its belly discovered that there were about 40 kilos of plastics is not an isolated case, in fact, there has been a trend of washed-up dead whales with plastic inside their stomachs after an autopsy.

If whales can eat the bulk of plastic wastes, it is also likely that smaller creatures in the ocean ingested plastic materials as well, down to the small fishes by eating microplastics.

Preparing for our doom can be an understatement, since major industries have yet to adjust and find alternative ways to finally get rid of non-biodegradable plastics.

In this election season, contribution to plastic production and possible waste, might increase. This is because almost all candidates and political parties have been using plastic-based campaign materials, particularly posters, that are made of cellophane or tarpaulins, which have polymer, the base material of plastics.

It was not like before some 10 or 20 years ago when posters were paper-based, and streamers were made of "cacha" or thick cloth that can be re-used as pajamas, sacks, etc.

So far, there have been no specific laws that would mandate candidates and parties to recycle or re-use these plastic-based campaign materials, it is up to their conscience actually, whether they would rise above to become environment-conscious to pick these materials after the campaign, whether they have won the elections or not.

If only these politicians would also include the environment and finding an alternative to using plastics as part of their political agenda.



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