Philippines uses shocking amount of plastic bags

VNA
The Philippines uses a shocking amount of single-use plastic, including nearly 60 billion sachets a year, according to a recent report released by GAIA, a non-governmental organisation.

Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

The report is part of an effort to collect data on plastic consumption as environmentalists push for government action to reduce plastic waste.

It contains eye-popping figures: every day, almost 48 million shopping bags are used throughout the Philippines, adding up to more than 17 billion a year.

That figure does not include the smaller, thinner and often transparent plastic bags, the report said, adding that around 16.5 billion of those are used per year across the country.

The statistics are based on 21 waste assessments conducted in six cities and seven municipalities across the Philippines.

More than half of non-recyclable plastic analysed in the survey came from sachets - small plastic packets often lined with aluminium or containing other materials that make them non-recyclable.

On a per capita basis, it is about one sachet per person per day, Froilan Grate, executive director of GAIA's Asia-Pacific office said.

However, on a per year, it is quite shocking when the figure could amount to the millions and billions depending on the place, he added.

The survey is the first time GAIA has tried to quantify sachet use, and the organisation hopes to pressure both the government and industry to take action on curbing single-use plastic.

The report found that where local-level plastic bag bans have been put in place and rigorously enforced, usage has dropped dramatically.

GAIA urged the government to institute a comprehensive national plastic bag ban that promotes reusable bags.

And it wants regulations on other single-use plastic products and rules requiring companies to redesign products and packaging to minimise plastic waste.

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