25.5 C
Cagayan de Oro
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
HomeOpinionLegarda’s plastic solution

Legarda’s plastic solution

SENATOR  Loren Legarda has lately announced she would file a bill banning the use of micro-plastics in consumer products  that harm the environment and  threaten marine life.

With all her accolades as a self-proclaimed environmentalist, Legarda’s move (read: dream) to come up with that bill is another political grandstanding.

Too late the hero and here’s why.

For a long, long time, Mother Earth has a plastic problem, even before Legarda came into being.  

Already more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic  of any kind and in any  form  are produced on Earth regularly and dumped into open spaces — landfills, seas and oceans, mountains, plains and plateaus.

Name it, the Earth have it.   Plastic is everywhere.

The report in the journal Science Advances is described as the first global analysis of all mass-produced plastics and warns that an even more dire scenario lies ahead.

At the current pace, over 13 billion tons of plastic waste will be discarded in landfills or in the environment by 2050.

This amount — which converts to 12 billion in metric tons — is about 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building in New York.

Most plastics do not biodegrade in any meaningful sense, so the plastic waste humans have generated could be with us for hundreds or even thousands of years.

The estimates underscore the need to think critically about the materials we use and our waste management practices.

Researchers compiled their data from production statistics for resins, fibers and additives from a variety of industry sources.

The report found out that as of 2015, nearly seven billion tons (6.3 metric tons) of plastic waste was generated on Planet  Earth.

A total of 79 percent of that plastic waste accumulated in landfills or the environment, including the oceans.  Despite widespread efforts toward re-usability, only nine percent was recycled.   Another 12 percent was incinerated, a process that can also be harmful to the environment. 

Too late the hero…..

Recycling is not much help when it comes to plastics, because they do not dissolve in the environment. None of the plastics in widespread use are biodegradable.

Just over two tons of plastics were produced globally in 1950, when mass manufacturing of the durable material began, said the report.

By 2015, that number skyrocketed to over 440 million tons, outpacing most other man-made materials, with the exception of steel and cement.

About half of the total amount of plastics produced from 1950 to 2015 has been made in just the last 13 years. 

While steel and cement are used for years, most plastic is used in packaging — think plastic water bottles that are used once and discarded.

Roughly half of all the steel we make goes into construction, so it will have decades of use — plastic is the opposite. Half of all plastics become waste after four or fewer years of use.

 Plastic debris can now be found in oceans all over the world. In 2015, eight million metric tons of plastic entered the oceans.

Many bags drift into the ocean, strangling turtles, suffocating seabirds and filling the stomachs of dolphins and whales with waste until they die of starvation.

By 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish.   Plastic bags take between 500 to 1,000 years to break down.  It enters the human food chain through fish and other animals.

Plastic problem is real that needs massive global surgical operation, not a kind of band-aid treatment done locally.

That  Legarda Bill, if ever it will come into being, is  nothing but a ‘plastic’ solution.  (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)  Editor’s note: Ruffy Magbanua is an advocate of  clean environment, having been attended a two-week climate change studies at the Environment Institute of Singapore. He is also the immediate past president of Cagayan de Oro Press Club.

- Advertisment -spot_imgspot_img

Most Popular

Recent Comments