DENR supports sustainable shopping thru eco-bag use

As stewards of the Earth, all humans are enjoined to do their share in reducing wastes in order to address the problems on the rising amount of garbage, the lack of space to accommodate these wastes, pollution, flooding and most of all, climate change.
This is the call of Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) Regional Director Jonathan Bulos during the launching of SM Supermalls’ Eco Bag last Nov. 12, 2012 at SM City Iloilo.
“We have a problem on where we will dispose our solid wastes,” he said.
With mountain-high dumpsites around the region, Bulos said that local government units (LGUs) are now required to create their own sanitary landfills and stop operating dumpsites. This is mandated by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, or Republic Act 9003.
“But, it’s hard for an LGU to establish one due to monetary considerations. A landfill costs P60 to 100 million,” he said.
There are operational landfills in the region, like in San Carlos, Bago, Sipalay and Bacolod cities in Negros Occidental.
Under construction are the landfills in Passi City, Iloilo; Malay, Aklan; and Cadiz City, Negros Occidental.
Bulos said they expect to have the Iloilo landfill operational next year.
He also zeroed in on the use of plastic bags. “There is so much disposal of low density plastic. During rainy days, we see plastics clogging esteros and canals. These cause flooding,” he said.
He cited that plastic also takes 10 to 20 years to disintegrate, as seen in Brgy. Calajunan dumpsite, Mandurriao where Iloilo City’s garbage goes.
“But due to our increasing population, we can’t totally stop the use of plastic bags. But, why not re-use eco-friendly bags instead? Through this, you can reduce energy use and burning of fossil fuels, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
“This way, we can help mitigate the effects of global warming,” he said.
He added, “The smaller the residual waste, the longer the lifespan of the disposal facility.”
So, as part of their corporate responsibility towards the community, SM Supermalls is promoting sustainable shopping habits by encouraging the public to use eco bags.
Engr. Gilbert Domingo, assistant mall manager of SM City Iloilo, said their eco bags, following the theme of “Engage to change,” come in four designs created by artists from around the country.
Every Wednesday, shoppers are encouraged to bring their own bags or if they forget to do so, they have to make do with the brown paper bags that SM provides. Or they can opt to use the eco-bags which they can re-use.
Mimi Santos, a frequent shopper of SM, brings an eco bag daily with her. “I just fold it neatly and place it inside my bag’s pocket. So that whenever I feel like buying something from SM, I no longer have to use their plastic bags,” she said.
Apart from Wednesday’s Bring Your Own Bag, SM Supermalls also hold the Trash to Cash project every first weekend of the month wherein consumers can sell things they no longer need to scrap buyers.
They also invite resource persons who can share to the public how they can make accessories, bags and wallets out of old newspapers and magazines.*

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