A waste and pollution watch group threw its support behind a move by Senator Risa Hontiveros to ban plastic drinking straws and coffee stirrers.
“We support Senate Bill 1866 as its enactment will help in eliminating unnecessary plastic products that only add to the garbage plaguing our communities and the world’s oceans,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Plastic straws are not necessary at all except for persons with disabilities or medical conditions and when non-plastic alternatives are not suitable to meet their special needs,” he said.
“We urge our lawmakers to also work for a law banning single-use plastic bags that are thoughtlessly produced, used and disposed of, and often winding up in water bodies and wreaking havoc on aquatic life,” he added.
“The ban on single-use plastics will help in drawing attention to the global plastic pollution crisis, drive industries to find sustainable substitutes to disposables, and promote a shift to eco-friendly lifestyle ” he stated.
Senate Bill No. 1866, known as the proposed "Plastic Straw and Stirrer Ban of 2018,” aims to prohibit the use of plastic straws and stirrers by restaurants and other establishments, including sari-sari stores, that offer beverages.
The bill allows food service establishments to provide a suitable beverage straw to a person requiring it due to a disability or medical condition.
The bill penalizes food establishments caught providing plastic straws and stirrers with P50,000 for the first offense, P80,000 for the second offense, and a fine of P150,000 and one-year business permit suspension for the third offense
“As what is at stake is the health of the marine environment and the food chain, the public should back the passage of Senate Bill 1866, and further support a ban on single-use plastic bags that often end up in dumps, landfills, incinerators, and, yes, the oceans,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.
Single-use plastics have to go to curb the waste and chemical pollution of the oceans and save aquatic animals from consuming plastics or from being entangled in them, the group said.
Such action is needed as the continuing spillage of plastics and chemicals into water bodies poses significant threats to food safety and security as well, the group also pointed out.