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Legarda Urges Filipinos to Break Free from Throw-Away Culture on Independence Day

June 11, 2021

On the 123rd year celebration of the country’s independence, three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda urges Filipinos to continue embodying a vision for freedom, this time from our throwaway culture as she called for unity in building a pollution-free environment.

“This Independence Day reminds us of how, more than a century ago, we were able to break free from the clutches of colonial oppression and inequality. The current generation, however, continues to wage war for freedom – from pollution, environmental degradation, and climate change. We continue to live in a highly-polluted environment that has placed us in a cycle of disruption, disaster vulnerability, and poverty,” Legarda said.

“Given the many challenges we face, it is about time that we shift from a throwaway mentality, veer away from using single-use plastics and our consumptive lifestyle, and instead promote sustainable living as we face the impacts of the climate and health crises today,” Legarda added.

The three-term Senator said that single-use plastics have become a symbol of our throw-away culture and continue to be a waste management problem in the country, which was magnified by the need of Filipinos for take-out orders and online deliveries during the imposition of community quarantines, and the need to use disposable face masks and other personal protective equipment following health protocols to minimize contamination and further spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“With many Filipinos having to resort to take-out orders and deliveries that commonly use disposable plastic containers and utensils to prevent the spread of the virus, millions of single-use plastics are irresponsibly disposed of, adding up to the proliferation of plastic waste that could lead to an even greater environmental and public health crisis in the future,” Legarda said.

Just recently, news reports showed plastic wastes found in the belly of a fish bought in a market in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

Legarda, author of landmark environmental laws such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003), is co-author of House Bill No. 9147 or the Single-Use Plastic Products Regulation Act in the House of Representatives that mandates the phased regulation of single-use plastic production, importation, distribution and use in the country. Legarda believes that for the country to effectively attain economic growth and climate-resilient development, the protection and conservation of the environment should be mainstreamed in the government’s development agenda.

She appealed to the public to break free from their dependence on single-use plastic products, practice ecological solid waste management, lead a low-carbon lifestyle, and embrace green and sustainable living by using reusable utensils, cloth or native reusable bags made of organic or recycled materials, and reusable containers made of non-toxic and non-hazardous materials. Legarda also noted that by patronizing these alternatives, “we are also promoting and supporting sustainable businesses and MSME initiatives while trying to restore our planet’s health.”

“It is our primary responsibility to protect and preserve our environment. Let us push for the use of numerous eco-friendly alternatives like our baskets, paper bags, cloth bags or katsa, bags made of recycled materials, bamboo utensils, and containers, among others. By doing so, we are not only reducing plastic wastes, but we are also providing and helping sustain the livelihood and income for our MSMEs and local communities,” Legarda said.

“Our reckless actions and unmindful behavior are causing the decline of ecosystems –this has been determined as one of the underlying drivers of disaster risk and continuing poverty. As we ourselves are endangering our environment to suffer from possible biodiversity collapse, let us also be the ones to provide sustainable solutions and free our environment from this burdensome plastic waste pollution,” Legarda concluded.***