Isabela ladies group launches ‘Walang Plastikan’ campaign


By CEASAR M. PERANTE

SAN MATEO, Isabela — To minimize, if not eradicate, the widespread use of plastic bags in town, the San Mateo chapter of the Isabela Green Ladies Organization (IGLO) launched the other day a campaign it called “Walang Plastikan.”

The battle cry was intended to discourage the indiscriminate use of the non-biodegradable containers commonly used in modern shopping places, public markets and high-end malls.

“The message which figuratively means be true to one’s self literally means no to plastics,” said Dr. Crispina Agcaoili, IGLO president and wife of San Mateo Mayor Roberto Agcaoili.

A municipal ordinance discourages the use of plastic bags as containers especially in the San Mateo public market.

“While we have a strict garbage disposal system being implemented in our public market and in all the 33 barangays, discouraging the use of plastics will substantially reduce the mounting problem of waste management, not only in our municipality but in the entire country as well,” Mayor Agcaoili said.

Because non-biodegrable, plastic bags and similar containers cause problems at garbage dump sites.

“Because plastic does not decompose, you can just imagine millions of tons of it covering the earth every minute, every second. What will happen to us?” Doctor Agcaoili said.

The mayor’s wife said that food stalls, variety stores and mobile juice carts using cellophane pouches and sachets in the sale of bottled soft drinks and juices or even hot food and soup were advised to stop the practice.

“Cellophane pouches may look clean, but these could be dangerous to our health because there are unknown chemical elements in them that may react with cold soda drinks or to extremely high temperature of food,” Doctor Agcaoili said.

The use of the traditional “bayong” (nipa basket) or rattan baskets, commonly used by rural folk decades ago, is being revived to save the ailing environment.

“In our modern times, ‘bayong’ or basket may initially look awkward, but as the renewed practice goes in full swing, we will get use to it as our official shopping kit. Besides, we can save money because we will no longer buy every now and then plastic bags which cost from R2 to R5 depending on the size. And as a result, we can clean our dump sites and get rid of eyesores,” Mayor Agcaoili said.

Led by the municipal government, civic groups and schools, “Walang Plastikan” is now a byword in the town in both its literal and figurative meaning.(MB)

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