In a 2015 report on plastic pollution, the country was identified as the third biggest producer of plastic waste in the world. The report was made by the Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.
“Critically, our research found that more than half of the plastic leaking into the ocean comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam,” in an article by McKinsey and Company entitled ‘Saving the Ocean from Plastic Waste‘.
“This is the critical finding of a joint report by the Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, Stemming the tide: Land-based strategies for a plastic-free ocean. Our comprehensive investigation found that more than 80 percent of ocean plastic comes from land-based sources rather than ocean-based sources such as fisheries and fishing vessels. Of that 80 percent, three-quarters comes from uncollected waste, and the remainder from leaks from within the waste-management system itself,” adds the same article.
In its report ‘Stemming the Tide: Land Based Strategies for a Plastic Free Ocean’, it was mentioned that over half of land based plastic waste leakage originates from five countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The same report also revealed that collected and uncollected plastic waste enters the ocean through five physical locations: low waste density rural areas, medium waste density rural areas, high waste density urban areas, illegal dumping by garbage haulers, and dump sites on waterways.
Moreover, according to non government organization Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, or GAIA, revealed that the Philippines is one of the top users of single use plastic, nearly 60 billion sachets a year; 48 million shopping bags a day, 17 billion in a year.
“On a per capita basis, it’s about one sachet per person per day. “But on a per year, per city basis, it’s quite shocking. It runs into the millions and billions depending on the place,” states Froilan Grate, Executive Director of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives Asia Pacific Office.
Just recently, President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte waged a war against single use plastic. According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the president “floated the idea to ban the use of plastics, which according to him would require legislative action”. The president considered the idea during the 43rd cabinet meeting.
It can be recalled that there are atleast seven bills in the Senate and 20 bills in the House of Representatives that seek to regulate the banning of single use plastic. All propositions remain at committee level. Among those include bills by Senator Cynthia Villar and Senator Francis Pangilinan. Both lobbied for the banning of single use plastic at public establishments.
“The low cost and convenience of plastic sachets, as well as inefficient waste disposal, has made the Philippines one of the world’s leading plastic polluters, with tremendous negative impacts on the environment. WWF-Philippines is using hands-on involvement in coastal clean-ups, as well as social media engagement, to spread awareness of the problem,” in an article by the World Wildlife Fund.
Photo by Philippine Star