ConsumerNet-9 joins clamor for regulated use of plastics PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 30 August 2013 11:48

The ConsumerNet-9 in its 2nd quarter meeting held in Zamboanga City recently passed a resolution urging the city councils of Zamboanga, Dipolog, Dapitan, and Pagadian, and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Zamboanga Sibugay to pass legislations that would regulate the use of plastic bags, plastic containers and Styrofoam and to provide mechanisms for the recovery and recycling of said items.

Engr. Jamir Omar Abubakar of the Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) who also acts as head of the ConsumerNet-9 Secretariat said that theresolutionwas passed unanimously by the groupto back up other cause-oriented groups’ clamour for reduction in the use of synthetic packaging materials and to return to the use of “bayong”, baskets and bags made of locally available materials that are more environment-friendly.

The said resolution states that plastic bags, plastic containers, and Styrofoam nowcontribute largely to the volume of waste being disposed daily and that they create considerable litter problems in communities and often times found clogging canals and sewerage systems causing flooding problems in many areas.

The resolution further states that polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride and polystyrene which are the base materials in the manufacture of plastics and Styrofoam are scientifically proven to be non-biodegradable, hence adding to the mountains of garbage that do not decompose even after a hundred years.

DTI Regional Director Nazrullah Manzur, when reached for comment, meanwhile said that he personally supports these clamour from the ConsumerNet and other environment advocates for the regulation in the use and distribution of materials that have deleterious impact to the environment.

He cited that DTI in Zamboanga del Sur, in coordination with the DENR, DEPED, the Pagadian Chamber and the Pagadian business community launched in April last year an advocacy campaign dubbed as “Di Ko’g Plastic” which aimed to make every Saturday a plastic-free day in the city and at the same time promote the use of locally made bayongas  bags for shopping and marketing.

He however, added that the problem with plastic is not so much on the material itself as much as the way it is disposed off when it reaches its end of useful life. In fact, he said it can be argued that the invention of plastic packaging is one of our most practical inventions in recent times and has contributed greatly to the increase in the quantity and quality of traded goods worldwide.

“It is a multi-billion dollar industry employing thousands considering that plastic products are not only used in packaging but also as a major component in many consumer products like cellphones, TVs, computers, cars…virtually every product nowadays has plastic component in it,” Manzur said.

“What I am suggesting here, is that in the crafting of local legislations on the matter, banning plastics completely should not be an option, whether as packaging or in some other form. I suggest that the laws to be crafted should focus more on proper solid waste management… on the proper implementation of waste segregation and the 3Rs (that is reduce, reuse, recycle) and those that cannot be recycled anymore should be properly disposed off, Manzur said.

“Public education is key in solving this problem on plastic wastes. Strict enforcement of environmental laws is another that should severely penalize or punish those who continue to   wantonly disregard the environment in disposing their wastes,” Manzur said.