High time for PH to go straw-free
We laud Ceres P. Doyo for calling attention to another nonessential use of plastic as a drinking straw that is wreaking havoc to the marine environment (“Ban plastic straws,” 4/26/18).
Like other single-use plastics, sip straws have to go to curb the alarming plasticization of oceans and protect aquatic animals from consuming plastics or from being entangled in them.
Such action is needed as the continuing spillage of plastic waste into water bodies poses significant threats on food safety and security as well.
As what is at stake is the health of the marine ecosystem and the food chain, consumers should simply say no to plastic straws, coffee stirrers and other single-use plastics that often end up in dumps, landfills, incinerators, and, yes, the oceans.
Plastic straws are not necessary at all except for persons with disabilities or medical conditions, and when nonplastic alternatives are not suitable to meet their special needs.
As for food and beverage establishments, we urge them to heed the cry of the dolphins, sharks, sea birds, turtles, fish and other aquatic animals and go straw-free.
After reading Doyo’s article, we quickly visited 13 restaurants and convenience stores along Matalino Street in Quezon City and found only one straw-free restaurant.
To reduce straw consumption, restaurants should only serve straws upon request, remove straw dispenser in the counter, or offer no straw at all to their customers.
For a straw-free Philippines, our policymakers should consider banning plastic straws nationwide with due consideration to the needs of people with disabilities or specific health conditions.
Our neighbor Taiwan, for instance, has recently issued restrictions for in-store use of plastic straws in food and beverage stores starting 2019.
A ban on free plastic straws in such establishments will take effect in 2020.
Marine animals that are now paying the price for the global plastic waste crisis will surely welcome prohibitions on unnecessary uses of plastics and so should we.
The bans on plastic drinking straws, coffee stirrers, and the ubiquitous plastic bags, we believe, will foster environmental awareness and responsibility among our people, and spur industry initiatives for sustainable substitutes to single-use plastics and for a zero waste economy.
Eileen B. Sison, president, EcoWaste Coalition, Quezon City
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