TAIWAN, Philippines (AP) The Philippines is the world’s sixth largest producer of plastic bags, but its pollution problem is largely a result of the country’s high use of disposable plastic bags.
The country has taken steps to clean up its waterways and improve its environment, but plastic pollution still remains.
The United Nations Environment Program says nearly half of the world-wide plastic bag waste is found in China, followed by China, South Korea and Japan.
In the Philippines, more than 50 percent of the plastic bags used for bags and other plastic products are made by China.
The Philippines, home to about 5.3 million people, has been the biggest exporter of plastic to the U.S. since the mid-1990s.
China and South Korea have also been major sources of plastic products.
But in recent years, the Philippines has become the country with the highest percentage of plastic in the world, according to the Environment Protection Network, a nonprofit group that monitors plastic pollution in the region.
The Philippine government has invested more than $500 million in its environment protection efforts, but pollution has increased in recent decades.
In 2014, the country produced 1.4 million tons of plastic waste, or about 3 percent of its total.
That was nearly double the amount produced in 2002, according the environmental group.
The government said it was not able to control the growing amount of plastic pollution because of the way plastic is processed in factories.
“We have a complex and costly environment,” Environment Minister Carlos B. Angara told The Associated Press.
“I am asking all manufacturers to be more efficient and to clean their factories of plastic, especially in the plastic production process.”
A recent survey by the Philippine Environmental Protection Commission showed that the country had more plastic bags per capita than anywhere else in the Asia-Pacific region, even though the country is home to only a handful of major cities.
The survey showed plastic bags accounted for 2.2 percent of all plastic waste produced in the country.
Bag manufacturers like Litton and Danske, the leading brands of disposable bags in Asia, have been able to improve their production and marketing strategies to reduce the amount of trash produced by plastic bags in the bag.
Danske said the company’s efforts have been very successful.
Litton, meanwhile, has begun a program to help factories remove waste plastic from their production processes.
The company said it had taken steps toward reducing plastic waste by using new processes and technology.
“Since 2015, we have been working to improve our production and packaging practices and to reduce waste plastic in our products and packaging, particularly in the manufacturing process,” Litton said in a statement.
“We also made major investments in our operations in the Pacific Northwest to support our expansion.”
The Philippines has also invested in a program that helps companies in the market to produce and sell products that can be reused.
It requires companies to spend 10 percent of their production cost on recycling.
“The government has been investing in plastic bag recycling, recycling, and reuse,” said Maria Teresa Castillo, the executive director of the Philippine Institute of Waste Management.
“But this is just the beginning of our effort.”