MANILA – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should do more to end plastic pollution of the world’s oceans, an environmentalist group said on Sunday.
Member nations of ASEAN on Saturday adopted the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region, which seeks to “prevent and significantly reduce” marine plastic pollution.
But Jed Alegado, of Break Free from Plastic, said the declaration was not enough.
“We feel that it fell short off what we really want to see there,” Alegado said in an interview with ANC.
He said the group wants to see “ASEAN member states leading the fight against plastic pollution by banning single-use plastics in their home countries.”
Alegado said that in the case of the Philippines, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001 already laid the legal framework for an environment-friendly way of dealing with garbage.
“The problem is the single-use plastics. Even if you segregate your waste properly, there will always be ones left that are neither recyclable nor compostable. And these are single-use plastics–sachets, packets, toothpaste tubes and those things,” Alegado said.
He also scored developed countries for sending their waste to developing countries like the Philippines, instead of recycling it themselves.
“The recent deluge of plastic waste coming from the rich nations to the PH, Indonesia, and Malaysia is really alarming because it shows that they really can’t process their own waste at their own backyards. And they have the resources to really deal with it,” Alegado said.
The group meanwhile lauded the efforts of local government units that are trying to minimize or ban single-use plastics in their jurisdictions.
ASEAN members Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, along with worst offender China, throw the most plastic waste into oceans, according to a 2015 report co-authored by environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy.
Article originally posted in ABS-CBN.