AS OUR environment is changing rapidly, the efforts to ensure the preservation of it have also increased. One major hurdle is the use of plastic. To which, the solution is to lessen its use, or even eradicate it completely.
Plastic has been the typical means of carrying consumable goods worldwide. Mostly anything we buy from the market is packed using plastic. Everyday, almost 48 million shopping bags are used throughout the Philippines, adding up to more than 17 billion a year. Now, the growing plastic pollution is getting out of hand, yet, a lot of us are still not taking the matter seriously.
However, our country (through the help of local ordinances) has strongly imposed regulating the use of plastic. Since Feb. 1, 2019, Siquijor has required customers to bring their own bags when shopping. It also prohibiting the sale of new plastic bags during Sundays. They’ve also prohibited the use of cellophane for cooked food and water. Recently, in May, another ordinance was passed prohibiting the use and sale of styrofoam and other disposable containers. The same goes for San Carlos City in Negros Occidental, which passed a similar ordinance in 2014. They encouraged the use of alternative packing materials for food and beverages that could be reused. Vendors have also been using banana leaves to wrap wet goods, such as fish and meat. Another noteworthy city to mention is San Fernando, which has been consistently hailed as a zero-waste model in the Philippines and around the world due to its 80 percent waste diversion rate. This is the highest in the country and possibly in the Asia Pacific region.
These local ordinances are helping, but how about passing laws that promote and demand the practice of Environmental Preferable Purchasing (EPP)? According to the University of Louisville, EPP, or Green Purchasing, refers to the procurement of products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose, wherein customers bring their own containers for them to refill with their consumables, such as shampoo, toothpaste, even spices and such.
This can be made possible through Zero-Waste shops. If the proposed law is to be enforced, Zero-Waste shops will become widely more available in different cities, just like our usual grocery stores. This will also encourage our fellow Filipinos to start their own efforts of supporting this practice and be able to contribute to the preservation of our planet.
With all that said, the effort should begin with every individual, taking daily steps that will accumulate to a greater whole. By then, we would have made a more liveable environment for the next generation.
Nicole Victoria A. Alverastine & Hansi Asiredano /
Students, University of San Carlos / Contributed Article