De Lima calls public to ditch single-use plastics during Christmas parties

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Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the Filipino public, especially event organizers, from ditching single-use plastics which will mostly end up in the ocean or in landfill and worsen the country’s garbage problem, during Christmas parties and other gatherings this Yuletide season.

De Lima, who has consistently pushed for the nationwide ban of single-use plastics, maintained that one-time use plastics remain to be every party’s biggest offenders because they not only contribute heavily to the country’s garbage problem but also remain harmful for the environment and the people.

“Christmas parties and other gatherings are part of the joys of celebrating Yuletide season, but organizing festive events should remind us to consider eco-friendly alternatives in our get-togethers, especially since using single-use plastics, from straws to plastic cups to stirrers, sounds tempting for its convenience,” she said.

“With more parties coming as Christmas draws near, let’s all ‘give love’ to our environment by ditching all single-use plastics in our events and parties and instead opt for greener alternatives, such as reusable items, including those that are already available at your venues,” she added.

Based on a 2017 Ocean Conservancy report, Philippines, along with China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand, dump more than half of the eight million tons of plastic waste that end up in oceans every year.

The environmental group Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), meanwhile, found in its study published early this year that 60 percent of non-recyclable waste collected in several cleanup drives belong to some of the biggest manufacturing companies in the Philippines.

It may be recalled that environmental activist and former president of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa earlier warned that there would be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050, and that “microplastics are now confirmed in table salt, in fresh water, each person on the planet is believed to have plastic in their bodies.”

The lady Senator from Bicol said she hopes Filipinos would not take the dangers posed by the continued use of single-use plastics for granted and try to strike a balance between having fun this holiday season and staying conscious about the roles each of us has in saving the environment. “Let’s listen to Greta Thunberg,” De Lima added.

“No matter how big or small our parties are this season of loving and giving, it pays to help contribute in saving our environment by reducing our party waste,” she said.

“Whatever small steps or efforts we do today for our environment, as long as it is a step in the right generation, will surely benefit us and the younger generations in the years to come,” she added.

Last month, De Lima welcomed the Duterte administration’s decision to ban single-use plastics in the entire country to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change and address the worsening nationwide garbage problem.

In expressing support for the idea, she called for concerted efforts between the government and the Filipino populace in saving the environment and mitigating climate change by eliminating the consumption of single-use plastics nationwide. (30)

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