After the PCGA’s coastal clean-up drive, Manila bay is still covered in trash

August 29th, 2018

In the recent years, the alarming increase of plastic trash has always been one of the most talked-about issues in the Philippines. A report released by United States-based non-profit organization, Ocean Conservancy, Philippines is said to be one of the five countries that contributes to the world’s plastic waste.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), an intergovernmental organization, claimed on World Environment Day 2018 that, “About half of all of the plastic waste that ends up in the oceans comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.”

Data from Ocean Conservancy‘s study, cited that these five countries constituted about 55 and 60 percent of the total plastic-waste leakage to oceans which is equivalent to an estimated reach of 8 million metric tons a year.

Despite the shocking statistics of the waste mismanagement in the country, some of us still remain apathetic of the situation.

In a Facebook post, Dave Lamette expressed his disappointment during the recent Manila bay coastal clean-up drive led by the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA). According to him, their combined strength isn’t enough to even reduce the massive amount of plastic wastes in the area. Even after a few hours of picking up the trash, their effort seemed like not making any difference. 

1 hour into the Manila bay coastal clean up with the PCGA 117th and other squadrons…. we’re tired, we’re dirty, we’re…

Posted by Dave Lemette on Friday, August 24, 2018

“One hour into the Manila bay coastal clean up with the PCGA 117th and other squadrons. We’re tired, we’re dirty, we’re frustrated. We stand on the waste that humanity produced and no matter how much of the stench we endure, no matter how much our backs and legs hurt, whenever we look up, there is more waste — 99% is plastic. Straws, slippers, bottle caps, plastic bags, binders, etc. etc. etc.

When we start to see a glimpse of the rocks beneath the garbage and lift our heads, it is as if we do not even make a difference with every wave more garbage is added then we cleaned up.

We need more people; we need more tools; we need machines and most of all, we need people to change their behaviour.” 

With this unimpressive lack of discipline among Filipinos, our country will soon be drowning in plastic pollution. Single-use plastic may be advantageous to us but this habit could lead to dreadful environmental consequences. One million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. 

In a “sachet economy” like the Philippines, more people with limited income rely on cheap goods sold in small quantities like instant coffees, shampoo, food seasoning, and more. And if waste mismanagement and improper disposal of trash persist, UN has predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

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