IT IS quite assuring to enter the new year realizing that there are efforts by local government officials to refurbish our environment and to protect our natural resources.
In the town of San Remigio, Cebu our local leaders, headed by Mayor Mariano Martinez, approved a law prohibiting the use of single-use plastic bags all-year-round. “Bulsita” and net bags are the only receptacles for purchased items in their wet market and elsewhere.
Beachfronts in San Remigio were clean as if the white sand beaches were combed. To my surprise, there was no trash at all, not even a Snow Bear wrapper. I could attribute this to the “no-plastic policy” of the local government and the discipline of the beach goers who were mostly locals.
Resort manager Cyrile Ursal who was hands-on with the operation, saw to it that the staff kept the resort premises tidy. I had the same observation in the resorts I visited in Catmon, Cebu.
My internet research revealed several astounding facts about the bad effects of plastics.
“Plastic waste affects all types of biomes and organisms. Nearly 13 million tones of plastic is washed into the ocean every year. Some plastics release chemicals in the water leading to cancer and other health issues but the most prevalent issue is the consumption of plastic by animals. Fish, turtles and ocean birds are the largest groups affected by plastic debris. Nearly 100 marine resources die each year directly from the consumption of plastic waste. Plastics that end up in landfills take 400 years to degrade.”
“Single-use plastics are easily blown by wind and carried long distances, getting stuck in trees into storm drains. Clogged storm drains could lead to floods and create big areas of standing water which are breeding grounds for disease carrying insects.”
There are supermarkets that no longer use plastic bags for our purchases. It is notably difficult for some wet markets to comply. It is a long overdue effort by our local government to think of ways to preserve our planet.
I learned that the municipal leaderships of Asturias and Tiburan refused the operation of a Japanese shipyard simply because it would affect marine resources and fishermen’s livelihood in the area. The local government had to balance the pros and cons of the shipyard operation. It took political will to make a decision where constituents were divided on the issue. They must have taken into consideration the long-term benefit of such a decision.