Plastics, Log Ban

Opinions Unlimited

by Atty. Tony(APA) Acyatan (Atty. APA – chairman of Acyatan & Co., CPAs-DFK International is PICPA past national president and Accountancy Hall-of-Famer, and past chairman of ASEAN Federation of CPAs).

ENVIRONMENT:  We all agree that despite the extreme usefulness of plastics – especially as shopping and grocery bags – they create problems for our environment since they are NOT biodegrable.  Garbage dumps in most metropolitan areas are full of plastic wastes. Also, as garbage disposed of by irresponsible people are returned by the ocean tides – the harmful aftermaths of plastic-usage are visible to all.

The move in certain cities in the Philippines – following the regulations in developed countries – to ban the use of plastic bags and containers is a most welcome sign. The ordinance against the use of plastic bags in Muntinlupa City is a trailblazer in Metro-Manila.  It will now be implemented, after a year’s moratorium.  San Juan City is also passing its own anti-plastic local law, to be followed by other cities along the Manila Bay coast and those near Laguna Lake.

WATER:  Metro-Manila residents (and so with those in Lucena City in Quezon) are suffering from low water supply.  By their own admission – the water distributors are running out of supply.  Aside from those flowing from natural springs, many water districts are now drawing supply from underground tables with the use of water-pump operations.  The handwriting on the wall is precise and clear:  soon, water supply will be a major problem.

Economic use of water must be part of our children’s lessons – in the same light as what Singapore is doing.  Waste water should be treated for possible non-potable usages.  Of course, Maynilad (West Manila water provider) is doing a bigger one. It is treating water from Laguna Lake (at their plant in Brgy. Putatan in Muntinlupa) for distribution to its consumer-customers.  The complementary regulation for this is the strict garbage control for the communities around Laguna de Bay.

SUBSTITUTE:  The common idea is to use paper bags instead of plastics.  Unfortunately – paper comes from trees, and coincidentally – Malacanang has recently announced a possible total ban on logging.  The executive order is being objected to by the foresters’ group and the Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA).  Potential loss of foreign investments and the negative effect on employment (to the tune of 650,000 jobs lost) are being trumpeted.

Opinions Unlimited believes that there are available substitutes to plastics other than from trees.  These include farm products like those from bananas and abaca, buri and “buntal” – or even those from bamboo and coconut trees.  Our government should encourage planting of these special crops to respond to the new necessities created by the plastics ban.  The plastics-use issue has long been around – and our failure to remedy (in advance) the situation indicates our lack of foresight.

ECONOMICS:  The record 7.3% (or 7.5%) GDP growth recorded in 2010 is the highest since 1986 (Year of EDSA Revolution).  This means things may be really looking bright for our economy.  It will be foolhardy though, to rest on our laurels.  Recent  natural calamities suffered by almost all regions – which destroyed (in fact, still destroying up to now) our infrastructures and crops will dampen our 2011 figures.

On domestic and foreign investments – the discovered AFP anomalies may frighten away the capitalists.  Another serious item to watch is our inflation rate which escalated to 3.5%.  At the background is the global cost of oil currently being destabilized by socio-political turmoil in the Middle East and Africa.  For all these developments – we have to be united as a people, doing the best for ourselves and our family, and for our country.  As the Lord said – we are the “salt of the earth, and the light of the world”.

PRAYER:  Sharing our excess with our needy brothers and sisters certainly gladdens our dear Lord!

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