An advocacy group promoting Zero Waste lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing Executive Order 26 as this will translate to cleaner air and litter-free environment.
The EcoWaste Coalition welcomed the E.O. “providing for the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed places” as this will protect the public health and environment.
“We laud President Duterte for signing the long-promised E.O. as this will protect the right of every Filipino to be protected against the hazards of second-hand and third-hand tobacco smoke,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We agree with the President that ‘public health takes precedence over any commercial or business interest’ as mentioned in the E.O. and ask everyone to rally behind its implementation,” she added.
While the E.O. provides for non-mandatory designated smoking areas (DSAs) with certain standards to follow, the EcoWaste Coalition urged persons-in-charge to go for 100% smoke-free environment for places under their jurisdiction.
According to the E.O., “nothing in this Order shall compel the persons-in-charge to establish DSAs nor prevent them from instituting more stringent measures in their buildings and establishments to better ensure a smoke-free environment in their premises.”
“As a group campaigning for a waste-free society, we trust that the enforcement of the E.O. will significantly reduce the number of cigarette butts thrown on the streets that ultimately find their way into the rivers and oceans,” she emphasized.
“The E.O., we believe, will help in protecting our urban, rural and marine ecosystems from cigarette butts, which is more than just a litter,” she said.
“Although small and lightweight, cigarette butts take several years to degrade, contain many harmful chemicals, pose environmental health risks, and waste public funds for cleanup and disposal,” she explained.
The EcoWaste Coalition also expressed its hope that the proposed E.O. imposing a national firecracker ban will be signed next.
The group had earlier said that the immediate promulgation of the E.O. will give the country, particularly the firecracker industry, more time to perform the necessary adjustment and transition.
“The ban will surely not make everyone happy, but, just like in E.O. 26, the greater public interest dictates that a tougher policy is adopted to put an end to the preventable cycle of injuries, deaths, fires and toxic pollution due to firecrackers,” the group stressed.
“We urge the President to hasten the ban on firecrackers, too,” it said.