Nestle, Unilever, and Procter & Gamble are among the worst Western consumer giants accused of polluting oceans by selling products packaged in cheap, disposable plastic, Greenpeace reported.
Single-use plastics from products sold by conglomerates, such as bags, bottle labels, and straws, stood out during a week-long Greenpeace clean-up campaign held in Manila Bay, Philippines, leading the environmental advocacy group to declare the Philippines the third worst polluter of the world’s oceans, after China and Indonesia.
More than 54,200 pieces of plastic waste were recovered from the bay in total, including some 9,000 from Nestle products the most frequently-seen brand, according to a tally kept by Greenpeace.
In countries with high levels of poverty like the Philippines, products sold in single-use sachets including instant coffee, shampoo, cooking oil, food seasoning, and toothpaste are accessible, low value, and most likely end up in landfills, as litter, or marine debris, said Greenpeace in their report.
Greenpeace said the Philippines contributed 1.88 million tons of “mismanaged plastic waste” each year, with Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia also on its list of the world’s biggest ocean plastic polluters.
The problem is expected to worsen as these countries’ growing economies lead to rising incomes and “exploding demand for consumer products”, the advocacy group said.
This is bad news for a nation frequently visited by typhoons, where flooding is worsened by clogged drainage ways and debris that can injure people.
Plastic waste from products made by Indonesian firm PT Torabika Mayora was third most-seen on Manila Bay, Greenpeace said, with local firm Universal Robina Corp. at number four.
Nestle in the Philippines has also apparently reached out to the group, informing Greenpeace of their ‘environmental sustainability projects’ which included waste management.
However, a statement from the group said Nestle’s methods still used incineration and “end-of-pipe solutions”, while Greenpeace is advocating for waste reduction and ending the utilization of single-use plastics altogether.