DTI, eco groups back plastic ban

Published by rudy Date posted on April 28, 2011

CEBU, Philippines – The proposed plastic ban ordinance of Cebu City Councilor Edgardo Labella has gained support from the Department of Trade and Industry and environmental groups during yesterday’s public hearing.

DTI has asked the city to support the mass production of ‘bayong’ or woven handbag as alternative to plastics.

The proposed ordinance of Labella seeks to ban the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags, plates and cups to reduce the garbage generated by the city and to eliminate this kind of garbage that usually clogs the waterways.

A fine of P5,000 and an imprisonment of six months shall be imposed to violators.

Yesterday’s public hearing was attended by the DTI, environmentalists and some establishments operating in the city.

DTI expressed no opposition to the ordinance while admitting that due to plastics thrown into the rivers, creeks and other waterways, Cebu is easily flooded every time it rains even within few minutes.

DTI said that it is time for the city to shift to indigenous materials like the ‘bayongs’ made from abaca or palm leaves.

A mass production of ‘bayongs’ is needed to cope with the demand. DTI said the city in coordination with other agencies may teach the barangays how to produce ‘bayongs’. Materials are available in the countryside.

Lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos of the Philippine Earth Justice Center also commended the city government for its efforts to protect and preserve the environment.

She said that it is high time for the city to pursue the ordinance because it is already long over due. The previous city council also discussed a similar ordinance but it was never passed.

The ordinance, she said, will help the city follow the mandate of Republic Act 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act. The law mandates that waste should be reduced by 25 percent every three years.

She also suggested to impose tax on establishments that will continue to use plastic, if totally banning the same is not possible.

Labella said he is open to suggestions so revisions may be made in the proposed ordinance.

The council is yet to obtain the position paper of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry to get their sentiments before the council starts deliberating.

If possible, Labella said, another hearing will be set to invite other stakeholders like the markets, the manufacturers, schools, retailers and other technical experts. —(FREEMAN)

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