A photo of a fish whose belly was filled with plastic trash went viral on social media after a woman in Palawan shared it on Facebook.
Mary Vanessa Guzman-Tan said it was her father's morning routine to buy fresh fish in the morning and he decided to purchase slices of a Dorado fish.
"Since the fish was huge, the vendor sliced it open and as they revealed the insides of the fish, they were surprised to see trash, aside from some squid that the fish had eaten. Yes, basura. Basura na nilunok o nalunok ng isda," she said in her post, which has been shared a thousand times.
There were candy wrappers, soda bottle caps, a yellow plastic spoon, and a pain relief patch. Netizens who saw the picture called it alarming.
Guzman-Tan told reportr that her family was disgusted over what they saw and would buy smaller fish next time. They also promised to be more responsible in disposing their trash.
Puerto Princesa started implementing a ban on single-use plastic and styrofoam in 2020.
In a response to the post, advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition reiterated their call for strict implementation of solid waste management laws and a national ban on single-use plastics with the hashtag "#SachetAway."
"It's only a matter of time before other forms of plastic waste are found, not just in the fish that we eat, but in our other food sources as well. Our oceans, rivers, and seas are crying for help already!"
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According to United Nations initiative SEA Circular, packaging waste is the major contributor to marine litter.
The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) in 2020 said the Philippines uses almost 60 billion sachets a year, blamed on the Filipino "tingi culture" where food, body care products, household cleaning products and cooking ingredients all encased in single-use plastic.
In 2020, about 71% of Filipinos said they supported a national ban on single-use plastic, the SWS showed.