By Chito Chavez
Quezon City-based environmental group EcoWaste Coalition expressed deep frustration over the excessive use of single-use plastic (SUP) “banderitas” (bunting) adorning the streets of Tondo and Pandacan, Manila on the occasion of the feast of the Santo Niño.
The group was puzzled over the extreme use of decorative materials made of disposable plastics such as the so-called “plastic labo,” as if the city and the entire country are not yet churning out too much plastic garbage.
“We are deeply saddened by the lavish use of plastic banderitas in connection with the feast of Santo Niño as if there was no tomorrow. It’s an overkill of wasteful SUPs,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Rarely reused or recycled, these banderitas consisting of semi-transparent plastic bags, plastic strips, or plastic packaging scraps add to the residual plastic garbage that ends up in dumps or on the streets and waterways. Far from being harmless, these disposable banderitas are a threat to the natural environment, especially when these are littered, burned, or dumped on land or at sea.”
Benosa urged the government to enforce the ban on single plastic use.
In this particular case, Benosa said “the wild use of single-use plastic banderitas is not in tune with Mayor Isko Moreno’s program to rid Manila of garbage as these decorative materials are meant to be thrown away after the feast.”
Ecowaste Coalition noted the “plastic banderitas overkill” is also not in step with the call made by Catholic bishops in 2019 urging dioceses to “actively promote ecological awareness and action… by eliminating single-use plastics… from our homes and institutions.”
In this era of climate and plastic emergency, EcoWaste Coalition requested barangays and parishes to rethink the outdated use of disposable plastic bunting during fiestas and other celebrations.
“As plastic banderitas, which are made from chemicals obtained from fossil fuels, serve no functional purpose and are not really essential for the good conduct of any festivity, we appeal to all barangay and parish officials to stop this classic example of preventable wastefulness,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.