Friday, September 7, 2012

Re-evaluating our Green Initiative

More and more municipal governments are implementing the Go GREEN initiative.  However, are our strategies for protecting the environment really based on an unadulterated desire to SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT or is just another political tool for POGI points?

The basis for the GREEN movement in the Philippines is Article 2 Section 16 of the Philippine Constitution which states that, "The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature."  The thing is, our politicians may have forgotten that the key word here is BALANCED.  

The use of non-recyclable plastic packaging and Styrofoam became the target of municipal governments.  In lieu of plastic the alternative solution is to switch to paper.  As a consumer, using paper packaging for groceries will take some getting use to but for the sake of the environment---it is a sacrifice worth making.  However, our beloved law makers may have took this a little too far and may have not considered the side effects of using all paper especially in the food sector.  

It is true that going paper will help lessen the proliferation of plastic waste.  Fast food chains have already implemented a partial green initiative by using washable wares (for dine in customers) and using oxo-biodegradable plastics for (take out).  Like the supermarket situation, fast food takeout orders can be a real bitch (pardon my French).  But again, since it is for the environment, time will eventually teach us to accept this burden.  What our policy makers failed to see is that using paper for food (direct contact) will require fresh pulp paper and not recycled paper.  Fresh pulp paper or virgin paper comes from freshly cut trees.  If take out orders comprises 40% of fast food sales that would mean a significant amount of our forest trees gets depleted.  Aside from that, it would also mean that more nitrogen dioxide (NO2) sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are released in the atmosphere since these are by-products of paper production.

According to the United States Environment Protection Agency recycling paper causes 35% less water pollution and 75% less air pollution as compared to the production of virgin paper.  This makes the use of recycled paper the better option.  But let us not just join the GO PAPER bandwagon blindly.  As I've mentioned earlier, BALANCE is the key to proper paper implementation.  

Isip-isip mga munisipyo!

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