“We laud Mayor Antonino Calixto, Vice Mayor Marlon Pesebre who authored the ordinance, and the Pasay City Council for enacting this very important legislation. Through this initiative, the city will significantly reduce the volume of its garbage, promote the use of ecological bags, and mitigate plastic pollution in the city and in Manila Bay,” said Christina Vergara, Zero Waste Program Officer of EcoWaste Coalition.
The City Ordinance 4647 or “Ordinance Regulating the Use of Non-compostable Plastic Carry Out Bags in Pasay City and Promoting the Use of Recyclable Paper Carry Out Bags and Reusable Carry Out Bags” was signed by Mayor Calixto last October 3, 2011. The ordinance prohibits all stores within Pasay City from providing customers with plastic carry-out bags while promoting the use of recyclable paper carryout bags, reusable bags and compostable bags.
The Ordinance aims to minimize the impacts of plastic pollution and reduce the city’s expenditure on solid waste management disposal.
It will take effect next year to provide time for educational program and allow affected stakeholders, especially store owners to comply with the requirements of the ordinance.
According to the EcoWaste Coalition, there are already 20 cities and municipalities across the country that have adopted regulation phasing out and banning single-use plastic bags and packaging.
The Metro Manila Development Authority early this year urged local government units (LGUs) to ban plastic bags, while the Laguna Lake Development Authority has issued a resolution supporting the ban on plastic bags in lakeshore towns and cities.
“More and more cities and municipalities are already banning the use of plastic bags and it should already be a motivation to President Noynoy Aquino to enact a national ban. Plastic bags and other disposable plastic products are disastrous to our environment, pollute our rivers and water bodies and contribute to the worsening of the world’s climate. The people are already speaking and we want to end plastic pollution, now!” said Vergara.
According to Vergara, such move from PNoy will also heed the call of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner encouraging all world leaders to ban thin-film single-use plastic bags. It will also show that the president supports the strong implementation of the country’s environmental laws.
The coalition also cautioned the LGUs against the so-called oxo-degradable plastic bags.
“These degradable plastic bags do not biodegrade – meaning they remain to be plastic after degradation and cannot be processed by nature. While we may no longer see them if they ever degrade, all the other affiliated threats remain: they could still contain toxic chemicals; encourage wasteful lifestyle since they are designed to be disposable; and pollute our marine ecosystems,” added Vergara.
The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 also know as Republic Act 9003 mandates the national government, through the National Solid Waste Management Commission, to release the list of non-environmentally acceptable packaging and products. However, the government has not come up with the said list. Meanwhile, members of the plastic industry continue to sit in the said Commission and its technical working groups.