Quezon City. As couples and romantic individuals plan their dates for the most amorous time of the year, a zero waste and toxics-free watchdog group has offered timely advice on Valentine’s Day: it’s time to break up with single-use plastics (SUPs).

The Ecowaste Coalition called on Filipinos nationwide to break away from the usage of SUPs as this toxic relationship with throw-away plastics is threatening the health of people and the planet.

“It is high time for every one of us to rethink our usage of SUPs. We can live without SUPs but we cannot live in an environment where a big portion of our waterways are polluted with disposable plastics, along with their chemical additives. For the love of Mother Earth, we need to end this toxic relationship before our oceans and rivers completely turn into a floating dumping ground,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, Ecowaste Coalition.

Flowers with single use plastics

The Philippines is at the center of the world’s struggle against ocean plastic pollution. According to Oceana, the country is among the five countries that produce half of the world’s plastic waste. Multinational companies, big businesses, and developed nations continue to treat countries in the global south such as the Philippines as plastic dumps. Even 23 years after the passage of RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, solid waste generation in the county has steadily increased from 9.07 million metric tons in 2000 to 16.63 million metric tons in 2020. According to the World Bank, an estimated 20% of the generated plastic ends up in the ocean. Many Filipinos buy products in smaller quantities with single-use packaging as part of the “sachet economy,” which results in more plastic waste being dumped on the country’s land and waterways. These plastics are used for a few minutes and then thrown away like the ubiquitous plastic bags, drinking bottles, bottle caps, cups, drink lids, sachets, food wrappers, cutlery, straws, and stirrers. Experts warn that by 2050, there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean.

As tons of plastic and its chemical additives are dumped into the oceans, its consequences become more staggering: microplastics invade the food chain and find their way into the human body.

Microplastics are tiny particles of plastic that can be eaten by marine animals and end up in their bodies and tissues, entering the food chain and leading to disastrous consequences for the health of the planet and people.

Flowers with single use plastics

In their efforts to counter the rapid plastic pollution of the oceans, the Ecowaste Coalition advocates for the urgent passage of global and national policy measures that will reduce and control plastic production, and promote plastic-free alternatives that can be reused, recycled, or composted. However, the group also recognizes that policy change is just one of the many fronts of the fight against SUPs. Building collective power among the most impacted and vulnerable sectors and communities and holding corporations accountable is key to following the path towards zero waste.

To bid goodbye to our convenient but toxic relationship with SUPs, the EcoWaste Coalition has advised consumers to start a loving and enduring relationship with ecological alternatives to SUPs, including:

  1. Bring bayong, fabric bags, and other reusable bags instead of plastic carry or grocery bags.
  2. Use tiffin carriers, stainless steel lunch boxes, and repurposed bottle jars instead of polystyrene food containers.
  3. Always bring a water canteen, jug or flask, with no lead coatings, in place of plastic water bottles.
  4. Use washable glasses, tumblers or mason jars instead of plastic cups.
  5. Use glass, porcelain, and other lead-free dishware instead of disposable plates.
  6. Always bring reusable cutleries and bamboo and metal straws or, better still, go straw-free and drink straight from the glass or bottle.

Reference: https://ph.oceana.org/our-campaigns/single-use-plastics/

EcoWaste Coalition
Let's make an eco-friendly, zero waste, and toxic-free Philippines a reality.