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Sashay away, sachets: Local environmentalists wants them gone for good

When it comes to “doing our part,” we all know the drill. We’ve been exchanging plastic straws for metal ones to curb the impending environmental doom. But advocates are pinpointing the Boss Fight all along: big corporations vs. the Earth. According to these groups, it’s up to the government to lay down some laws—starting with a total sachet phaseout.

Groups such as the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific and Break Free From Plastic made the call this week, imploring the government to provide stricter laws to companies on product packaging. While they acknowledge that some companies are doing their part, the cause would be more effective if there was government regulation put into place, instead of relying on volunteering.

“We’re recommending the government to phase out the use of sachets ideally in three years. Hopefully, that would give time for businesses to rethink and put more investments in redesigning products and delivery systems,” says Miko Aliño, program manager of GAIA Asia Pacific.

For a quick reality check, GAIA’s 2019 report reveals that 164 million sachets are thrown away each day in the Philippines. That’s 59.8 billion per year, after some math.

Aliño mentions that, right now, plastic pollution efforts are all about collecting waste, rather than eliminating plastic production in the first place. “If we don’t produce these materials in the first place then we don’t have to deal with the leakage, we don’t have to deal with lots of cleanups,” he said.

At the end of it, GAIA and Break Free From Plastic want big companies held accountable for their products’ creation and disposal in order to “change the narrative” when talking about plastic pollution.

“People are being blamed for the plastic waste, especially consumers. And the burden and responsibility on managing the plastic waste falls [on] the cities and the local government units,” says Break Free From Plastic national coordinator Rei Panaligan. “The burden of that should fall into the industry and the manufacturing because that’s the waste of the product.”

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Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

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