LGUs Urged to Actively Enforce Plastic Bag Ordinances during Undas (Undas Not An Excuse for All-Out Use and Disposal of Plastic Bags)

1 November 2013, Quezon City.  The EcoWaste Coalition today urged concerned local government units (LGUs) with ordinances banning plastic bags to fully enforce their regulations as Filipinos from all walks of life gather in cemeteries to remember their dearly departed relatives.

“The mammoth gathering of people in public and private cemeteries during Undas should not be used to justify the laid-back enforcement of key environmental measures such as the various LGU ordinances banning plastic bags,” said environmentalist Sonia Mendoza.

Mendoza is the head of the Ecowaste Coalition’s Task Force on Plastics and chairman of the Mother Earth Foundation.

Stores and vendors doing their business inside and outside the cemeteries should not be exempt from following such ordinances, which are meant to promote and protect the common good. 

“We hope that concerned LGUs will take extra steps to ensure that such ordinances are not relegated to the trash bins as the age-old practice of remembering the dead is observed,” she stated.  

“Let it not be said that those tasked to enforce these environmental ordinances were sleeping on the job and allowed the deluge of plastic bags right under their noses,” she said.

“Vendors, we also hope, will cooperate and observe the restrictions on the use of plastic bags, as well as polystyrene containers, accordingly,” she added. 

The EcoWaste Coalition, Mother Earth Foundation and other green groups have hailed these local ordinances as vital measures aimed at trimming down the country’s burgeoning solid waste and the subsequent disposal costs , averting flood woes, reducing greenhouse gases and instilling environmental awareness and responsibility among businesses and citizens.

According to a recent advisory by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the volume of waste generated nationwide estimated at 30,000 tons per day “shoots up during public events.”  Metro Manila is the country’s biggest waste generator, churning out over 8,000 tons of trash daily.

In the said advisory, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje urged the public to "abide by local ordinances regarding the use of plastic bags" for a garbage-free Undas.

Nationwide, at least 90 LGUs have enacted ordinances banning or regulating plastic bags, with Caloocan City becoming the newest LGU to prohibit most plastic and Styrofoam packaging materials last September.

In Metro Manila, the cities of 
Las Piñas, Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Pasay, Pasig and Quezon have enacted ordinances to address head-on the many problems associated with the unrestrained use and disposal of plastic bags.