Plastic or Bayong?

Way back in the olden times, native bayong made of either bamboo or rattan was used when buying goods in the palengke. Then, use of plastic bags invaded and eradicated the use of bayong in almost all stores and eventually plastics in all forms have successfully invaded our lives. Check your grocery items and count how many plastics you see.

According to research, estimate of more than one million plastic bags per minute are consumed and discarded worldwide. (Go to shopping mall or at the market and you can conclude the quantity of plastic bags consumed everyday, excluding plastic items and those packed individually in the plastic. Among those mall- or market- goers, only few would reuse their plastic bags and majority would indiscriminately dispose it.) Though plastics are conveniently used and inexpensive, they pose a threat to the environment. Plastic bags are not biodegradable; it consumes a thousand years to break down. Plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller toxin particles that eventually contaminate the soil and water and pollutes the air, this process is called photodegradation. When animals accidentally eat these toxic bits, they die. Plastics which are brought to the dumpsite when burned releases gas that jeopardize the health and the environment. These were the disadvantages discovered with the use of the plastic bag. However, it continued in dominating our lives.

At present, more disadvantages of plastics are evidently present everywhere. During rainy season, flood is a normal phenomenon in most part of Luzon. The main contributor to flood is the clogging of the esteros, canals, rivers and even streets by plastic bags. Even while passing your way to school or work on an ordinary day, plastic bags are noticeable along the road because people indiscriminately throw their plastic wastes along the road or everywhere.

Today, environmentalist and other local officials and even celebrities are pushing and strongly encouraging the use of the bayong due to the environmental hazards that plastic bags has brought us. Recently the Greenpeace Philippines invaded the public markets to promote the use bayong and of the “I am not plastic” carry-it-all cloth bag. This could accommodate many items when shopping. It is handy and trendy too. In fact this has been supported by other celebrities and politicians and is presently the fashion statement everywhere.

To minimize the amount of non- biodegradable waste produced, many are proposing to use the traditional grocery/ market bag- bayong. The city officials of Baguio are planning to have a “balik- bayong” program which would award those who uses bayong in the market/ grocery stores.

Amazingly, a Louis Vuitton reusable shopping bag is very popular among tourists in Hong Kong. Such kind of bag had been introduced in Baguio City couple of years ago and has been widely used in many tiangge here in the Philippines, especially in Divisoria.

The next time you’ll buy in the market or shopping malls, would you carry your own bayong or you’ll count yourself among those who pollute the earth?


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