Wasteful plastic bag ‘banderitas’ irk environmental watchdog

MANILA — An environmental watchdog pursuing preventive measures to stem the ever growing garbage problem in Metro Manila has slammed the use of plastic bags as fiesta “banderitas”.

The EcoWaste Coalition described the increasing practice of hanging plastic bag garlands across the streets as “extremely wasteful” and should stop at once.

“It seems to be getting out of control as we can see in San Andres, Manila with many neighborhood streets festooned with plastic bag banderitas that will surely end up as garbage,” observed Aileen Lucero, coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“The banderitas consisting of plastic sando bags, ultra-thin plastic bags and other plastic-based materials compete with the countless plastic tarpaulins of local politicos for space and attention. It’s plastic all over,” she noted.

The Sagrada Familia Parish in the vote-rich San Andres Bukid is set to observe the Feast Day of the Holy Family on Sunday, January 24.

The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier decried the wide and wild usage of new plastic bags as fiesta banderitas in some streets of Pandacan and Tondo, which recently celebrated the feast of the Santo Niño.

“Hanging banderitas has become an extremely wasteful practice that only contributes to Manila’s huge garbage disposal expenditure,” she said.

Based on the 2013 year-end report of the Commission on Audit, the city government of Manila spent PHP512.6 million for garbage hauling expenses, second to Quezon City that spent PHP999.6 million, the top garbage spender in Metro Manila, which totally spent a mind-boggling PHP4.2 billion.

Aside from insisting for a ban on plastic bag banderitas, the group also sought the enforcement of Manila City Ordinance 8282 that bans the use of plastic bags for dry goods and regulate their use for wet goods, as well as bans polystyrene (Styrofoam) as container for food, produce and other products.

The Manila-wide regulation on plastic bags and polystyrene containers should have taken effect in September 2013.

“With effective public education and vigilant implementation, Manila’s plastic bag regulation has the potential to succeed in reducing garbage spilled onto the streets and esteros, and in cutting the staggering costs of waste disposal and flood control,” she emphasized.

“We also hope that Manila will take action against wasteful plastic banderitas and ban them at once,” she added.PNA/northboundasia.com