MindaNews/25 March – Campaigns calling for the recycling of non-biodegradable items like plastic have become commonplace. It has in fact become a fad to the point that it has obscured an essential fact – the problem isn’t plastic waste but the continuing production of plastic.
What this piece is trying to emphasize is, the fault lies with the industry that produces plastic for many of the things on store shelves – shampoo, bottled water and soda, packed meat, junk food, toys. Focusing on recycling without exacting accountability from the industry transfers the guilt to the end-users.
Yes, people who threw those plastics into the sea that have killed whales and other forms of marine life are to blame for such tragedy. The greater responsibility however rests on the industry that produces the poison that killed those hapless creatures and polluted their habitats. There’s got to be an end to this cycle of producing tons of plastic and making consumers and government assume the dirty job of waste management.
Besides, recycling plastic waste can only do so much. The things that can be produced from it will remain plastic and will become unusable after a few years, for example, chairs and tables fashioned from plastic bottles. Recycling only delays their departure to the dumpsite – or the ocean.
So, enough of those paeans to recycling and get some sense, that is, ban plastic. If Congress can’t be made to act on it fast, citizens can lobby with their local government units for ordinances. In Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro City has pioneered in this area by prohibiting business establishments and vendors from using plastic bags. There may be resistance at the start but the greater good should prevail.
It can be done. It must be done.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at [email protected])