Eco Groups Support MMDA’s Call to LGUs to Enact Plastic Bags Ban

Quezon City. Pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition declared support to Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Arturo Tolentino’s call to local government units (LGUs) to enact their own ban on single-use plastic bags.

“We praise Chairman Tolentino’s eagerness to ban plastic bags and single-use plastic products similar to what Muntinlupa and other innovative LGUs have done. Phasing out these problematic materials significantly help address our garbage woes and reduce our carbon and methane emissions,” said Troy Lacsamana of the Task Force Plastics of the EcoWaste Coalition.

Tolentino last week said that he would push for the adoption of Muntinlupa plastic ban as a model ordinance that can be adopted by LGUs in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

“The MMDA strongly encourages LGUs to adopt similar strong measures such as this to combat the dangerous effects of environmental degradation which leads to massive flooding and climate change,” said Tolentino in a statement published in the agency’s website.

The Coalition, composed of more than 100 organizations and networks, said that banning plastic bags and single-use plastic products will also be very beneficial to local government units since it will significantly reduce the volume of their municipal waste and the huge costs of managing it.

Muntinlupa City started implementing last January 18 the banning of plastic bags and Styrofoam products following the initiative of localities like Los Banos City in Laguna, Carmona in Cavite, Sta. Barbara in Iloilo and Lucban in Quezon.

Internationally, other countries are also doing away with plastic bags. Bangladesh banned single-use plastic bags in 2002. South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania started phasing out plastic bags in 2003. Taiwan banned plastic bags in 2003, while China’s State Council implemented a nationwide ban on plastic bags in 2008. Most recently, Italy banned single-use plastic bags beginning January 1, 2011.

“Our local governments have been carrying the plastic brunt spending millions of pesos for decades in cleaning-up and de-clogging waterways and managing residual wastes while the plastic industry neglect the environmental responsibility that necessarily comes with their products,” laments Lacsamana.

According to the Coalition, banning these problematic plastic products has major climate-friendly implications since a ban reduces dependency on fossil fuel and cuts down GHGs like carbon dioxide and methane produced by landfills. Furthermore, it addresses the “throw-away” mentality promoted by plastic bags designed for single-use.

The Coalition also invites local government units to integrate the banning of plastic bags in their climate mitigation and adaptation plan and use the opportunity to promote livelihood opportunities for their constituents such as bayong or basket making out of organic, indigenous materials.
“The industry should be responsible for the massive waste they produce instead passing the burden to the government and the people. We cannot force our local governments to spend their already meager funds in collecting and finding ways to ecologically manage these problematic materials. This problem should be addressed by the producers themselves,” said Lacsamana.