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Philippine Industry Ad: Plastic Bag Bans Don’t Protect Environment

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MANILA, Philippines, August 31, 2012 (ENS) – Faced with a growing number of local governments imposing plastic bag bans, 14 industry groups today took out a full-page ad in three major daily newspapers to tell the public that bans on plastic bags fail to protect the environment.

Paraiso by dinno 19 on flickr.com. Used by permission from the owner.

Instead, the groups, including the Federation of Philippine Industry, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Philippine Association of Supermarkets, are asking for strict enforcement of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, known as RA 9003.

The timing of their ad comes in response to the latest plastic bag ban in Quezon City, where enforcement of the ordinance starts September 1.

Quezon City is one of the 17 city-municipalities that make up Metro Manila, the National Capital Region. Other Metro Manila cities that have passed plastic bag bans include, Manila itself, Las Piñas, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Pasay City and Pasig. (See Plastic Ban Map for a complete listing of cities.)

The 14 groups argue in their ad that “The plastic ban does not protect the environment at all! It leads to more paper use, which means more trees cut and higher water and power use. The environment is worse off.”

Armed with data from the Technological Association of Pulp and Paper Industries and studies from the UK Environment Agency and by Boustead Consulting & Associates, Inc., the industry groups argue that:

  • Up to 17 trees need to be cut to make a ton of paper
  • One gallon of water is needed to make just one paper bag, by comparison, 116 plastic bags can be made using the same amount
  • Paper bag production generates double the carbon emissions than does plastic bag production
  • A paper bag is 600 percent heavier than a plastic bag, so it produces a greater volume of trash

“With more cut trees and denuded forests, with more water and energy used, more carbon emissions and more trash, the plastic ban actually harms the environment,” the industry groups contend. In addition, they warn that “almost 200,000 workers of the plastic industry now face losing their jobs.”

They also argue in the ad that floods are caused not by plastic bags clogging up drainage systems but by climate change and improper waste disposal. “We also have old sewers, lost manholes and a broken garbage collection system,” the ad states.

In lieu of plastic bag bans, the industry groups want strict enforcement of the Solid Waste Management Act.

“It entails more work but it will make our cities cleaner; our waterways free of all kinds of waste; save forests, water and energy; reduce imports; save jobs; and even create a robust recycling business all over the country,” the groups argue.

Other business groups that support the statements made in today’s ad are: Association of Petrochemical Manufacturers of the Philippines, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Metro Plastics Recycling Industries, Packaging Institute of the Philippines, Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association, Philippine Association of Supermarkets, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Philippine Plastics Industry Association, Pollution Control Association of the Philippines, the Polystyrene Packaging Council of the Philippines and Samahan ng Pilipinas sa Industriang Kemiko.

In addition, Quezon City retailers are up in arms over the new plastic bag ban.

In Quezon City a two peso plastic recovery system fee will be collected for each plastic bag starting Saturday. The fees will go into a “green fund” to finance various environmental initiatives. Shoppers who bring their own reusable bags will receive points that can be used for purchases, and a dedicated “green lane” checkout counter to get them on their way more quickly.

But Quezon City retailers complain that the municipal government has not even provided them with a copy of the implementing rules and regulations for the new ordinance.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2012. All rights reserved.

Cover photo: Katipunan Ave., Quezon City, Philippines. Author: Mike Gonzalez. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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