TAGBILARAN CITY – City sari-sari and grocery stores and wet markets still appeared continue to use plastic bags as packaging despite the ban or regulation on their use. DyTR monitored most groceries and wet markets in the city and found that use of plastic bags still unabated. Former city officials moved to regulate the use of non-biodegradable materials or plastic or synthetic products in packaging of bought goods that will help solve the growing problem of solid garbage.
The city has joined with other local government units in the country in prohibiting the use of plastics in the approved city ordinance. But the measure encourages the use the “alternative” and “eco-friendly packaging,” instead. Cash fines and imprisonment are imposed for violations of the measure. A fine of PhP1,000 and suspension of license in the case of traders for first offense; PhP3,000 for 2nd offense; and a prosecution proceedings will be carried out in third and succeeding offenses.
Section 11 of the Ordinance provides six-month grace period from the date it was approved after which full blast implementation of the Ordinance will take effect and for the traders/business establishments and/or individuals “to comply with” the city ordinance. “Single-use carryout” plastic bags are plastic pouches made of non-biodegradable materials and Styrofoam or styropor is referred to as polystyrene foam, a petroleum-based plastic made of styrene monomer and a material that is light in weight and commonly used as container for food, cup for coffee-noodles, plates and protective packaging for electronic products, the City Ordinance provides.
The Ordinance, authored by then Vice-Mayor Atty. Nuevas Tirol Montes and sponsored by former City Councilor Atty. Doni D. Piquero, was approved pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, R. A. No. 9003 or The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and the Local Government Code of 1991.
“No commercial establishment shall utilize single-use or carry-out plastic bags at the point of sale for the purpose of carrying dry goods.” Use of polystyrene or styropor foam is also banned for use as containers for “prepared and/or ready-to-eat food, produce and other similar products.”
The office of the city mayor is tasked to formulate the corresponding implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for its effective implementation and the City Solid Waste Management Office for monitoring and implementation of the same with an initial appropriation of PhP500,000.
To ensure full awareness of the measure, the city shall conduct massive information, education and communication efforts with the media and promote eco-friendly and alternative packaging materials, such as “baluyot,” or “baujot” or “bukag” made of indigenous materials and the like. (rvo)