MANILA, Philippines?A public market in Caloocan City has enforced a ban on plastic bags every Monday, forcing customers to bring their own totes to reduce their nonbiodegradable garbage output.
Vendors at Langaray public market in Dagat-Dagatan, Caloocan City, instead distributed woven baskets or ?bayong? for free to customers who did their shopping.
Rowell Gan, president of Samahang Pagkakaisa ng mga Tindera sa Talipapa (SPTT), the cooperative that runs the market, said the vendors agreed to promote the use of reusable bags after they realized that plastic bags that clog the waterways contributed to flooding in their area.
?This is the reason why the front of the market gets flooded every time it rains. If it gets flooded, we lose customers. We cleaned up the canals one day and we saw that it was clogged with plastic,? he told Inquirer.
If the results are good, maybe in the future, we can ban plastic bags every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until we prohibit it totally,? Gan said.
Although there were complaints at the start from customers who did not bring their own bags, many were receptive to the idea, Gan said.
The initiative of Langaray market sellers drew praise from Church officials.
?I commend the Langaray market vendors for heeding the call for ecological stewardship by encouraging consumers to drop the ubiquitous plastic bags,? said Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez Jr.
?Let us take pride in using the bayong in the market and even in shopping malls knowing that we are saving the planet, ourselves and the future generations by cutting down on our craving for plastic bags and the ensuing emissions,? appealed Iñiguez.
Several groups like Earth Day Network and EcoWaste Coalition recently called on the government to ban the use of plastic bags.
The groups noted that consumers could use alternatives to plastic bags such as bayong and baskets made of biodegradable plant materials. Old garments and cloth could also be made into bags, they said.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, environment groups and supermarket chains recently agreed to encourage clients to bring their own bags one day each week to raise awareness on the harmful effects of plastic on the environment.