Ecogroup hails LGUs efforts in enacting Ordinances aiming to reduce plastic wastes

03 December 2011, Quezon City. Environment watchdog EcoWaste Coalition lauds the continuous efforts of local government units to address the plastic pollution in our country. Recently, more cities in the country enacted ordinances to regulate the use of plastic bags and polystyrene products.

Bacolod City passed its Ordinance No. 562, “Regulating the Use, Sale and Provision of Plastic Bags as Packaging Material in Bacolod City”. Under the ordinance, no business establishments and the like shall utilize, sell or provide plastic bags and/ or sando bags as packaging material to customers. And to encourage the use of reusable bags, stores are encouraged to formulate appropriate incentives to consumers such as “point-system scheme” and providing express lanes such as “Green Lane” to cater customer who bring their own bags or use reusable bags.

“We are grateful that more and more forward-thinking local government units are reinforcing their solid waste management systems specifically in reducing the volume of plastic waste”, said Troy Lacsamana, Head of Task Force Plastics of EcoWaste Coalition.

Las Piňas City and Mandaluyong City also passed plastic-regulating ordinances. Under the Las Piňas City Ordinance 1036-11 passed last September 15, “Commercial establishments are prohibited from using thin film, single use, or carry-out plastic bags of carrying away purchased goods . The use of polystyrene foam and other similar materials by commercial establishments as containers for food and produce is also prohibited.”

Mandaluyong City’s Ordinance No. 73, on the other hand plans on “Reducing the Use of Plastic Bags and Styrophors in the City of Mandaluyong.”

Meanwhile, implementation of the Antipolo City’s ban on the use of plastic bags and polystyrene containers began last month following the two-year moratorium on the implementation of City Ordinance 2009-370.

The group also hails Senator Miram Defensor Santiago who recently filed Senate Bill 3001 entitled “Banning the Use of Plastic Bags, regardless of Composition, in all Retail Establishments”.

“Enacting a bill that altogether bans plastic bags by any name will be of great help in significantly reducing our plastic wastes and conserving raw materials. Both so-called degradable and compostable bags perpetuate throw-away mentality that aggravates resource depletion since they require extraction of virgin materials to manufacture new products,” adds Lacsamana.

For his part, Rei Panaligan, National Coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition added that, “for LGUs, any reduction in waste generation means reduction in solid waste management and clean-up/dredging expenses. Ultimately, this also means that the concern on spending hundreds of millions on dirty and pollutive waste disposal technologies such as incinerators and landfills becomes moot. Instead, money saved may be spent to strengthen the waste and other environmental programs of the LGU”.

The passage of these ordinances also lend support to the metrowide coastal clean-up of Manila Bay event headed by the Department of Interior and Local Government held last November 26. It could be recalled during the recent waste audit conducted by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition last November 2010 in Manila Bay showed plastic discards as the top debris found in the bay with 75.55% of which, plastic bags and polystyrene products has the highest volume. More than 20 municipalities and cities have already passed their Ordinances, of which includes Batangas City, Burgos, Pangasinan, Municipality of Cavite: Carmona and Imus, Municipality/City of Laguna: Biňan, Calamba City, Calauan, Los Baňos, Luisiana, Paete, Kalayaan and Sta. Cruz, Muntinlupa City, Odiongan, Romblon, Pasay City, Pasig City, Municipality of Quezon: Infanta and Lucban, Sta. Barbara, Iloilo, among others.

“More and more cities and municipalities are deciding to do their share in solving plastic pollution. Business and commercial establishments, vendors, schools and communities are also extending their support to their LGUs. It is already time that our honourable Legislators and President Aquino should enact a country-wide ban on plastic bags, which when implemented, will be beneficial to our environment, to our health, to our economy and to our climate”, the Coalition stressed.