“No Plastic Bags Policy”

“And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried: Look at this Godawful mess” (Art Buchwald, 1970).

Image via One Green Generation

There is one simple action we can all take that will have an enormous impact on the health of our planet and its inhabitants: Don’t leave the stalls, sari-sari store, and malls, carrying a plastic bag the next time you shop. Just so we know plastic bags are the most lethal polluters created. Our response will sure help reduce and, eventually, remove plastic bag in circulation.

I had started curtailing my “polyethylene consumption” when I was in college (2001) upon stumbling upon a post by our school’s mountaineering association which talked up Reducing Plastic Usage. Just like what I said in my blog entry, The Struggling Servant of Mother Nature, last 15 April 2011, living up to the practice did not happen in a day nor a week. We were used to these plastic bags and have lived with it for years so acquiring the practice is just like trying to quit smoking. The development towards fulfillment is gradual.

After seven years of practice, I started my campaign at home or last March 2009 only. To date, my major accomplishment is I had my mother, wife, and siblings refrain from collecting plastic bags each time they go to  a public market. We have been using basketa, or sometimes bigger plastic bags as a way of reusing, to take those foodstuffs and small household supplies in. Honestly, the realization that it took that long for me to magnify this advocacy is saddening; nevertheless, I am proud I am pushing on.

For the last three years of my stay in Quezon City, I have not yet seen signs that the No Plastic Bags Policy would reach the corners of the city anytime soon more so at the public market in our area. I must say that the efforts of the EcoWaste Coalition and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) in staging a campaign against plastic bags in the country at Commonwealth Market, Quezon City was futile because up to now, I have not yet heard nor read any development ensuing said campaign last 03 July 2010.

It has been a practice for market vendors, sidewalk and stall hucksters in particular, to put a single item bought in a plastic bag — may it be a carrot, a mango, fascicle of horse radish tree, or a pile of calamondin. People should know that carrying those and their equivalents through the hands whenever possible, instead of putting them into a plastic bag, can create a ripple effect on the reduction of plastic bags usage, which is undeniably a real and BIG problem now. That proves how less informed most of the people are on the issues encircling this problem in our place. Hence, I am forced to go to market from time to time with a basket to perform that ceremony of returning their plastic bags. Because of the vendors’ ignorance and reluctance on the matter, I must admit that I sometimes hesitate to pour the sentiment out right away especially if the person’s face “looks” acerbic. However it may be, I am hopeful that these little acts will contribute to the triumph of the policy.

Days before I drafted this post, I researched on possible references via Google. The most important information that I have learned is that, currently, there are only five (5) cities, four (4) towns, and 10 malls across the country who are implementing the No Plastic Bags Policy. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) I thought of quoting more text from those articles but I left off considering that their titles speak for the same cause anyway: providing updates on how far the policy have gone in the country. And here they are in chronological order:

1. Bacolod City’s Ordinance Banning Shopping Bags and Styrofoam – May 18, 2011

2. No Plastic Policy Earned Two Million Pesos (Department of Education) – May 13, 2011

3. Los Baños Also Has ‘No Plastic Policy’ Since 2008 – April 28, 2011

4. Stop Whining, Start Supporting NO Plastic, NO Styro Campaigns – Batangas, April 25, 2011

5. No Plastic Policy in San Francisco, Quezon Province – April 24, 2011

6. DepEd – Roxas City Promotes ‘No-Plastic’ Campaign – March 21, 2011

7. Calapan City To Ban Plastic Bags – February 24, 2011

8. Muntinlupa City Officially Bans Plastic And Styrofoam Through City Ordinance No. 10-109, January 22, 2011

9. Jollibee Centris Station Goes GREEN – October 15, 2010

10. DENR Pushes Reusable Grocery Bags, September 29, 2010

11. Malls To Charge Fee for Plastic Bags Once A Week (Ayala Malls, Ever Malls, Hi-Top Supermarket, Isetann Malls, Makro, Robinson’s Supermart, Savemore, SM Hypermart and SM Supermarkets), September 23, 2010

12. ‘No Plastic, No Styro’ Policy Pushed in Bangued, Abra – August 29, 2010

13. EcoWaste Coalition and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) staged the campaign Against Plastic Bags at the Commonwealth Market – July 3, 2010

14. Marikina City Moves To Ban Plastic Bags – March 31 2009

15. The Struggling Servant of Mother Nature

For further reading, the following links are recommended:

1. Reducing Plastic Bag Usage

4. The Harmful Effects of Plastic Bags in the Environment

3. Plastic Bags Effect on Global Warming

4. Adopting a Green Lifestyle

5. One Green Generation

6. Greenpeace International

Let us do our part in helping Mother Nature. “There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet” Brooke Medicine Eagle.

Spread the word, please!

Image via http://www.reduceresuserecycle.co.uk

17 Comments Add yours

  1. It starts with one man to change the World’s thinking. We should just totally ban plastic bags in groceries. There’s tons of unused canvas bags or any bags for that matter that people could use. It’s part of recycling what you already have. People had been blinded by consumerism. Buy this, buy that. It’s so easy, no brainer but they’re not even aware that they are killing the environment and in the end, themselves because those non-degradable things won’t go anywhere except the planet we live in. Despite of the information out there a lot are still lazy or simply insensitive to do anything. I hope more people will take care of nature because there’s just one Earth and we’re slowly killing it. Great post.


    1. Sony Fugaban says:

      I am fervently praying for that as I am trying my best to do my part as a servant of Mother Nature. Thanks for supplementing this post, my friend!


  2. great article Sony, accordingly, “plastic” is considered the best invention of our generation, unfortunately, this invention is the fiercest ammunition of man in destroying mother nature.

    good thing mountaineering imparted us LNT both in outdoors and in urban living.


    1. Sony Fugaban says:

      I agree, Jon. It’s just saddening that we became so attached to it that we regard plastic bag as an outright necessity for the every item (particularly the small ones) purchased.

      I’ve been holding 3-5 pieces of what I buy from convenient stores or at the market a long time ago (e.g. a piece of banana, 3 pieces of garlic or the similar kind, a bottle of water or soda, etc.). The picture I want to get out of these little acts is not just to inform but for those unaware to do the same. Unfortunately, I still can’t see that picture.

      So, Jon, let’s keep doing our share and let’s keep posting the same here.

      Thank you for sharing your sentiment!


  3. Excellent post Sony! You are definitely doing your part to make this planet a better place. It is great to know that there are people like yourself that care deeply about our planet. As for me, I have a reusable grocery bag that is made from recycled material. After it wears out, it is recyclable. I recycle everything I can. By the way, I love the quote at the end of your post. I couldn’t agree more. 🙂


    1. Sony Fugaban says:

      And it feels so much better to see that there are still people out there like — with purpose — who do the same. Thank you for inspiring me to continue the advocacy for the Earth in every possible way I and we can.


  4. thedailydish says:

    Down with single-use plastic bags!

    We see them everywhere, blowing down the street or tangled in the branches of a tree, as often as in the hands of shoppers. So good to hear you’re boycotting them. A great post reminding us all to be more mindful while out shopping.

    Remember your baskets and reusable bags, everyone!


    1. Sony Fugaban says:

      Yeah — to the last part of your comment!



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