PEOPLE who stand in solidarity with environmentalists are correct that there’s now that urgent need to prohibit the use of plastics in this Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 million people.
Flooding in low-lying communities across the country, notably in heavily-populated Metropolitan Manila, should remind us that many waterways are clogged by plastic bags and containers.
Even during a brief but heavy downpour, these clogged and heavily-silted rivers, creeks, esteros, streams and other waterways easily overflow their banks, flooding surrounding barangays.
In the Lower Chamber of Congress, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has filed a bill which seeks to regulate the production, sale, use and disposal of plastic containers and plastic bags.
House Bill (HB) No. 3579 has already hurdled the powerful appropriations committee and the influential committee on ecology.
In the Upper House of Congress, Sen. Cynthia A. Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture, has urged his colleagues to hasten the approval of her bill banning single use plastics.
“Pwede i-combine yung dalawang bill sa bicameral at sila magka-counterpart para mas mabilis (ang pagpasa sa nasabing panukalang batas),” said Speaker Arroyo of Pampanga and Pangasinan.
Arroyo, an economist, added: “Kagaya ng sabi ni Senator Villar, dumadami ang plastic na nasa dagat, sa ilog. Kinakain sila ng isda, nalalason sila tapos nababawasan ang ating fish catch.”
Of course, like other well-meaning Filipinos, we share the view of various quarters that the country’s inflation rate continues to rise because of the spiraling prices of fish and other food items.
And if we want to prevent the degradation of natural habitats, like oceans and seas, then let’s support the speedy approval of Arroyo’s HB No. 3579 and Senator Villar’s single use plastic bill.