Philippines survey shows ‘shocking’ plastic waste

MANILA (AFP) – An audit in the Philippines has shown the country uses a “shocking” amount of single-use plastic, including nearly 60 billion sachets a year, a new report said yesterday.

The report, produced by the NGO GAIA, is part of an effort to collect data on plastic consumption as environmentalists push for government action to reduce plastic waste.

It contains eye-popping figures: Every day, almost 48 million shopping bags are used throughout the Philippines, adding up to more than 17 billion a year.

And that figure does not include the smaller, thinner and often transparent plastic bags known as labo bags – around 16.5 billion of those are used per year across the country, the report says.

The figures are based on 21 waste assessments conducted in six cities and seven municipalities across the Philippines, with the national figures produced by extrapolating from local results.

More than half of non-recyclable plastic analysed in the survey came from sachets – small plastic packets often lined with aluminium or containing other materials that make them non-recyclable.

“On a per capita basis, it’s about one sachet per person per day,” said Executive Director of GAIA’s Asia-Pacific office Froilan Grate.