In observance of the Zero Waste Month, Luntiang Pilipinas Partylist has launched a nationwide drive to ban the use of single-use plastic and keep the oceans litter-free.

Luntiang Pilipinas, along with several environmental groups, is pushing for a “zero-waste lifestyle” among Filipinos.

The partylist will hold a series of forums, meetings with community leaders, key stakeholders in the government and private sector, as well as enlist the support of traditional media and social media, to wage an effective battle against plastic waste that pollutes our land and water resources.

“Plastic waste pollutes our land and water resources, it will ultimately affect human health.”

Producing some 40,000 tons of waste every year, the Philippines is the third largest ocean plastic polluter in the world after China and Indonesia.

“A zero-waste lifestyle means using products that can be reused and promoting processes that avoid or eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste. It means creating little to no waste. It is veering away from the throwaway culture by reusing, reducing and recycling,” explained Senator Loren Legarda, founder of Luntiang Pilipinas Partylist.

Legarda encourages everyone to start a zero-waste lifestyle, especially avoiding the use of plastics.

“Let us start the year with a resolve to be better citizens of the Earth by adopting an eco-friendly, zero-waste lifestyle,” said Legarda, founder of Luntiang Pilipinas Partylist.

Legarda, the United Nations Global Champion for Resilience, said that the shift to zero-waste lifestyle may not be easy, but with the start of a new year, people can definitely add this to their resolutions.

Legarda founded Luntiang Pilipinas as a movement in 1998 to advocate for the protection and preservation of the environment.

As a partylist, it aims to better serve the Filipino people by advocating policies and measures that would lead the nation towards resilience, inclusivity and sustainability. It has fielded journalist Michael Ubac as its first nominee, Ciara Sotto as second nominee, Mons Romulo as third nominee and Sonia Mendoza as fourth nominee for the 2019 elections.

“Let us start the year with a resolve to be better citizens of the Earth by adopting an eco-friendly, zero-waste lifestyle.”

Legarda, the country’s foremost voice when it comes to environmental protection, filed a bill last year to end the use of single-use plastic.

Senate Bill No. 1948, or the “Single-Use Plastics Regulation and Management Act of 2018,” would ease the transition to a zero-waste lifestyle, she said.

Luntiang Pilipinas Partylist will rally support for the passage of SB 1948 as part of its overarching goal to end the scourge of single-use plastic.

 

Ocean pollution

A 2015 study led by Dr.Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia in the United States, estimated the mass of land-based plastic waste that ends up in the oceans each year exceeds 4.8 million metric tons. UN estimates suggest that land-based sources are responsible for 80 percent of marine debris, according to the Ocean Conservancy environmental advocacy group.

The Philippines contributed 1.88 million metric tons of plastic waste every year, the study says. The National Capital Region produces 9,000 tons of trash daily.

Mendoza, chairperson of Mother Earth Foundation, a non-government organization known for its zero waste approach to waste management in the communities, identified some simple steps to have a zero waste lifestyle: avoid the use of disposable items and single-use plastic products such as plastic straws, bags, bottles, cups, plates and cutleries.

“We are already promoting the use of bar soap, shampoo and conditioner bars instead of bottled ones,” she said, adding: “Let’s have zero food waste, too.”

A zero waste cities summit with the theme, “Plastic-Free Journey Towards a Zero Waste Philippines,” will be held on Jan. 31 at Sulo Riviera Hotel in Quezon City, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the founding of Mother Earth.

Besides Mother Earth, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, which has a network of 800 organizations in 90 countries, is co-organizing the summit that will be attended by local government officials, environment officials and advocates, and Mother Earth partner organizations such as the Break Free from Plastic Movement, Break Free from Plastic Europe and Zero Waste Europe.

 

Pending Senate bill

The proposed “Single-Use Plastics Regulation and Management Act of 2018” aims to provide a solution to the single-use plastics problem by prohibiting the importation and use of single-use plastics in establishments, stores, markets, and retailers. It encourages consumers to use reusable materials and incentivizes businesses and individuals engaged in the manufacture of plastic alternatives.

The implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Law, which Legarda also authored, and the passage of SB No. 1948 will help Filipinos transition to a zero waste lifestyle.

The ESWM Law implements a system of solid waste management that includes segregation of garbage at its source, segregated transportation, processing, treatment, and proper disposal of solid waste.

“The massive plastic pollution in the country and around the globe is a cause for alarm because as plastic waste pollutes our land and water resources, it will ultimately affect human health,” said Legarda.

 

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