The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental network upholding responsible consumption and zero waste, lauded the implementation of City Ordinance No. 2003-095, banning the use, sale and distribution of plastic, polystyrene and other non-biodegradable packaging materials in Makati City starting June 20.
“We laud the government and people of Makati for this long-overdue environmental policy that will certainly contribute to a cleaner and greener city. Makati has now joined a growing club of enlightened local government units that have taken bold action to cap the unrelenting consumption and disposal of plastic bags,” said Sonia Mendoza, head of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force on Plastics.
Mendoza, who also chairs the Mother Earth Foundation, pointed out that since the measure took nine long years before its implementation, “business establishments have no alibi not to comply.”
“As the plastic bag and styro ban goes full blast, we urge everyone to throw their maximum support behind the environmental ordinance and tell the world that Makati, the nation’s premier business capital, means business in protecting the environment,” she added.
The ordinance upholds the use of environment-friendly materials as it prohibits business establishments from offering, selling, using or distributing plastic bags for use as primary or secondary packaging on dry goods, or as secondary packaging for wet goods, and altogether banning Styrofoam (polystyrene) and other materials with non-biodegradable components as containers for food, drinks, utensils and other products.
The ordinance also requires all covered establishments including barangay halls to place visibly marked “Plastic Bag Recovery Bins” at accessible areas such as building entrances and exits to serve as drop-off points for easy collection, recycling and disposal of plastic bags.
This measure comes after the nine-year grace period for business establishments to comply with the said ordinance expired last December 2012, and was subsequently extended by Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay through Executive Order No. 007-2012 until June 20 upon appeals from the business sector.
Individual violators will be fined P1,000 or imprisoned for five to 30 days, or both, depending on the court. On the other hand, owners of corporations and establishments found violating the ban have to pay a fine of P5,000 or face imprisonment from 30 days to a year, or both, and face the possibility of having their business permits or licenses revoked.
With this ban, Makati joins more than 50 local government units all over the country, including at least 9 cities in Metro Manila with similar policies in place.
Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition calls for stricter measures on a nationwide scale as more localities have yet to adopt similar ordinances while some LGUs are reluctant to impose such bans because of the economic pressure from the plastic industry.
“In order to institutionalize a nationwide plastic bag ban, we need an effective legislation that will truly curb wasteful consumption and indiscriminate disposal of plastic bags, exacerbating floods amid worsening climate conditions,” Mendoza cited.
The EcoWaste Coalition reiterated the need to ban all forms of plastic bags, including oxo-biodegradable plastic bags as "these will just disintegrate into smaller and relatively toxic plastic bits, and upon mix-up with house dust, pose a greater health hazard to residents, most especially to children.”