By Noreen Jazul
Greenpeace Philippines on Thursday said a national ban on single-use plastics can be “successfully implemented as long as there is strong political will to do so.”
The environmental group made the statement after Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, told reporters on Tuesday that it might be impossible to ban single-use plastics nationwide.
“Hindi pa naman natin pinagbabawal ang single-use plastics kasi ang plastic ang pinakamura. And I don’t think they have a replacement…Baka impossible to ban” Villar told reporters.
(We won’t ban single-use plastics yet because it’s the cheapest form of packing. And I don’t think they have a replacement…so it might be impossible to ban it)
Greenpeace said prohibiting the use of disposable plastic products is “not only very necessary but also doable and practical.”
For her part, Greenpeace campaigner Virginia Benosa-Llorin argued that some cities in the Philippines have already imposed a ban on single-use plastics, citing Quezon City and Siquijor as examples.
Last Feb. 15, Quezon City started implementing an ordinance that disallows the use of disposable plastic products in hotels and restaurants.
Benosa-Llorin also said there are already existing alternatives to single-use plastics.
“The proposed ban should prompt the government to support and promote the development of packaging and delivery systems that don’t rely on disposables,” she said.
The Greenpeace campaigner said the government should mandate companies to “implement refill and reuse systems for their products,” rather than giving them “more excuses to pass the costs and responsibility to people.
“Currently, Filipino taxpayers shoulder the cleanup, health and environmental costs of plastics,” she said.
Benosa-Llorin said the plastic problem can best be solved by putting a stop to its production.
“Recycling, upcycling, downcycling, and drastic approaches such as waste incineration do not address the root of the problem, and will only encourage the continued manufacture of single-use plastic which end up as pollution and puts people’s health and well-being at risk,” she said.