The Social Weather Stations found that seven in 10 Filipinos would prefer a ban on single-use plastics.
Respondents to the survey said sando bags, plastic straws and stirrers, plastic labo bags, styrofoam or polystyrene food containers, sachets, tetra packs, plastic drinking cups, cutlery and plastic bottles should be regulated or used less.
Six in 10 said they were willing to buy condiments in recyclable or refillable containers instead of sachets. Four in 10 believe that it is the responsibility of companies to find alternative materials to use.
Other countries have already passed legislative measures aimed to curb production and use of single-use plastics, recognizing that these stay in the environment for a very longtime, and form part of the pollution that can be ingested by humans and marine wildlife, affecting their health. Plastics are also known to smother coral reefs.
This knowledge, of course, was never known to many in the past, which is why entire generations of Filipinos grew up consuming products in convenient packaging. The familiar “tingi” distribution manner—from instant coffee to detergent soap—is often seen as pro-poor because many cannot afford to buy supplies in large, bulk quantities.
Unfortunately, the practice is anti-environment, and in the long run threatens not just the well being of the poor but everybody.
The survey results are heartening because it shows that Filipinos are aware of the hazards to the environment, and are willing to make sacrifices even if it means developing new habits to substitute what has been convenient for them for the longest time.
Private companies, for their part, have an opportunity to show they are worthy corporate citizens by making their products available in packaging that at the very least does not worsen the environment’s state.