In response to the plea made by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, various ecology groups signified their support for groundbreaking citywide policies aimed at reducing the volume of single-use plastics and other residual wastes.
At a press conference held yesterday, Belmonte announced the promulgation of Ordinance No.2876, which bans the distribution and use of single-use plastics and disposable containers in hotels and restaurants in the city effective February 1, 2020, as well as Ordinance No. 2868, which bans the distribution of plastic bags by retailers effective January 1, 2020. Ordinance 2868 will also ban the distribution of brown bags in various establishments one year after it has taken effect.
“Introduced by Councilor Dorothy Delarmente, these Ordinances are concrete steps taken by the City Government to prevent plastic bags and single-use plastics from entering the waste stream and thus lessening the possibility of these plastics from ever reaching bodies of water, she said, stressing “it takes a concerted effort from all stakeholders to prevent this problem from escalating.”
“I encourage all stakeholders to support the newly-enacted ordinances,” Belmonte said. “We hope that you will continue to partner with the City Government to advance our advocacies on climate change, sustainability and environmental protection,” she told members of the EcoWaste Coalition, which co-organized the press conference.
Belmonte’s clarion call drew immediate support from the EcoWaste Coalition and other green groups.
“The promulgation of these twin pollution prevention ordinances against plastic and paper disposables is as a step in the right direction,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of theEcoWaste Coalition, who commended Belmonte, Delarmente and the City Council for giving priority consideration to these progressive environmental policies.
“This action from the ground should encourage the speedy approval of a robust national legislation phasing out single-use plastics and other disposables to advance the consumption and production agenda in the country,” she pointed out.
Sonia Mendoza, Chairman of the Mother Earth Foundation, also lauded the passage of the ordinances stressing that “other local government units should take their cue from Quezon City and enact similar measures that will address the proliferation of throw-away packaging such as single-use plastics, which constitute a main obstacle in community efforts to reach the Zero Waste goal.”
"These waste prevention measures targeting the consumption and disposal of single-use plastics and other throw-away materials will surely contribute to reducing the city's massive production of garbage. We expect the business community and the citizenry to rally behind the effective enforcement of these measures, as well as the promotion of sustainable practices toward a greener city," said Dr. Angelina Galang, President of the Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy.
Under Ordinance No. 2876, single-use and disposable materials such as plastic spoons, forks and knives; plastic/paper cups, plates, straws, stirrers; and Styrofoam will not be allowed for dine-in customers in hotels and restaurants.
Hotels are likewise prohibited from distributing items used for hygienic purposes like soaps, shampoos, conditioners and shower gels in sachets and single-use containers.
Under phase one of Ordinance No. 2868, “a total ban on the distribution of plastic bags will be implemented by all shopping malls, supermarkets, department stores, grocery stores, fast food chains, food stalls, restaurants, drug stores, pharmacies and other similar retailers.”
For phase two of Ordinance No. 2868,“ total ban on the distribution of brown bags” by retailers will be imposed “one year after the effectivity of this Ordinance.”
Violators of the said Ordinances will be fined PHP1,000 for the first offense; PHP3,000 for the second offense, plus revocation of Environmental Clearance and issuance of a Cease and Desist Order; and 3) PHP5,000, plus revocation of Business Permit and issuance of a Closure Order.