MANILA – Greenpeace Philippines warned on Friday that plastic waste was threatening to provoke a crisis in Manila and demanded a law banning single-use plastics throughout the country, which has a population of 100 million.
“Manila is on the brink of crisis. If we continue dumping and trashing our waterways, and if big companies continue business-as-usual by producing single-use plastic, then it won’t be long before our oceans are no longer able to sustain life,” said Abigail Aguilar, Detox Campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines.
Aguilar was part of a tour of Manila’s Pasig River showing the extent of waste in the river, one of the world’s dirtiest rivers, which pollutes Manila Bay with around 63,700 tons of plastic annually, according to the non-governmental organization’s data.
“It’s urgent that we all understand that the root problem is the production and promotion of single-use packaging, when we should be developing more sustainable habits instead,” the activist added.
According to a 2015 study, the Philippines is the third highest producer of plastic waste, behind China and Indonesia and ahead of Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria and Bangladesh.
The United Nations Environment Programme warned this year that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans unless single-use plastics including bags and bottles are banned.