GAIA: Stop single use of plastics

by Jericho Zafra

AN environmental group has called on business corporations and global leaders to eliminate the production of single-use plastics to address the plastic pollution and climate crises in the world.

In a report, advocates for environmental justice Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) said around 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, with only less than 10 percent of these plastic wastes being recycled.

“Continued plastic production and consumption heat up global climate temperatures, depletes our resources, intoxicates the environment and creates public health issues, feeds incinerators, and chokes landfills and oceans,” GAIA said.

Plastic that is designed for limited use, such as single-use cups, cutlery, bottled beverages, plastic stirrers, and plastic bags, is the type of material that presents the most environmental risk, it said.

In a separate report, the United Nations Environmental Program said since the 1970s, the pace of production of plastic has increased at a rate that is far quicker than the production of any other material. If historical growth rates continue, the amount of primary plastic produced across the globe is expected to exceed 1.1 million tonnes by 2050. 

“Approximately 36 percent of all plastics produced are used in packaging, including single-use plastic products for food and beverage containers, approximately 85 percent of which end up in landfills or as unregulated waste,” said the report.

By the UNEP’s projection, approximately one million plastic bottles are purchased around the globe every minute, and there are as many as five trillion plastic bags used around the world each year.

In line with the celebration of International Zero Waste Month, GAIA said refusing the single-use plastic is a “commitment to creating a global movement that puts an end to waste pollution.”

The purpose of this celebration is to draw attention to the relationship between waste and climate change and to highlight proven zero-waste solutions as effective climate actions, it said.

According to GAIA, strategies aimed at achieving zero waste can cut greenhouse gas emissions caused by waste by an average of 84 percent if they are put into practice.

Zero Waste Month began in the Philippines in 2012 but was made an official month-long celebration in 2014 after President Benigno Aquino III enacted Proclamation No. 760, setting January yearly as Zero Waste Month.

According to the proclamation, zero waste is a cause that advocates for the design and management of products and processes to systematically prevent and eliminate the amount and toxicity of waste and materials, as well as to conserve and recover all resources rather than discarding or burning them without consideration.

The Zero Waste Month celebration also coincides with the signing anniversary of the Philippine Republic Act 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 which also aims to address waste pollution, it said.


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