The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watch group, bewailed the delay in the implementation of a key environmental measure that could have helped the City of Manila in reducing its garbage woe.
“This year marks the fifth anniversary of Manila’s plastic bag ordinance, which regrettably remains unimplemented to this day,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
Manila City Ordinance No. 8282 was signed on September 3, 2012 by then Mayor Alfredo Lim. The city government imposed a one-year moratorium on its implementation to enable businesses to make the needed adjustments.
The ordinance prohibits the use of any form of plastic bags on dry goods and regulates their use on wet goods.
It also bans the use of polystyrene and similar materials for food, produce and other products.
“We call upon Mayor Joseph Estrada to give Ordinance 8282 the chance to help the city in cutting its plastic waste, in unclogging the esteros, and in reducing the money spent for cleanup and disposal,” appealed Alejandre.
According to 2013 Commission on Audit year-end reports, Metro Manila spent P4.221 billion in combined garbage hauling expenses, with Manila spending over P512 million.
“The unrestrained sale, use and disposal of plastic bags in the city contributes to the destruction of Manila Bay, which the government is striving to clean up, rehabilitate and preserve as ordered by the Supreme Court in 2008,” he noted.
“Enforcing the plastic bag ordinance will stir Manileños into shifting to reusable bags and containers, which will help in restoring Manila Bay and other polluted water bodies,” he added.
Waste audits conducted at the Manila Bay in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2016 by the EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, Mother Earth Foundation and other groups revealed alarming quantities of plastic marine litter in the bay.
The waste audit conducted in 2016, for example, collected 1,482 kilos of trash, 79 percent of which were assorted plastic materials, comprising of junk food wrappers and sachets (20 percent), plastic bags (17 percent), composite packaging (12 percent), food packaging (9 percent), polystyrene containers (7 percent), diaper liners (7 percent), hard plastics (4 percent), drinking straw 1 (percent) and plastic twine (1 percent).