Parañaque to Ban Single-use Plastics in June 2020

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Residents in Parañaque City will have to get used to tote bags when buying goods, as the local government joins other Metro Manila cities in banning plastic use.

In a Facebook post, CENRO (City Environment & Natural Resources Office) announced the prohibition of single-use plastics, which includes bags, straws, spoons and forks, cups, and stirrers under City Ordinance No. 18-40. Styrofoam plates, cups, bowls, and serving trays are also banned. 

The measure will take effect in June 2020, allowing businesses and residents to adjust to the new regulation. The local government encourages the public to direct their concerns and inquiries to their official email address. 

Meanwhile, Netizens have different reactions to the plastic use ban announcement. Some lauded the move, even urging others to be responsible and bring eco bags and reusable containers when grocery shopping. Others hoped that the good change will be sustained, practiced not only in the first few days or months but through and through. 

Last year in November, President Duterte floated the idea of a nationwide plastic use ban. Malacañang Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that there’s a possibility that the chief executive will certify a bill related to prohibiting single-use plastic.

“Plastic-Free” Cities

Before Parañaque’s environmental move, plastic ban policies have been in place in various Metro Manila cities. Here are some of the municipalities in NCR that have gone plastic-free:

Muntinlupa

As early as 2011, the city already prohibited the use of plastic bags on dry goods and styrofoam on food items, as ABS-CBN reported. The ban was one of the solutions the city council proposed in response to terrible flash floods in their locale. Plastic bags and non-biodegradable containers block canals, creeks, and rivers that drain into the Laguna Lake, causing water overflow in neighborhoods and communities.

Since the passing of Ordinance No. 10-109, the city has fined violators, even shutting down erring businesses. In the years prior, there were also talks about tweaks in the inclusions of plastic goods and alternatives as well as stricter penalties for those who do not comply and tax breaks for those who do.

Las Piñas

This municipality deployed “Anti-Plastik Pulis,” who went around business establishments, markets, and stores to make sure that people are not using plastic or styrofoam materials for packaging of goods, as seen in this news archive from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)

Introduced in 2012, this initiative was part of the City Ordinance No. 1036-11 that banned the use and distribution of thin-film, single-use, carryout plastic bags and polystyrene foam (styrofoam). The ordinance urges residents to bring green bags when shopping and doing groceries.

Under the same regulation, the local government authorized barangay officials to monitor and clean up public places, like parks, markets, waterways, and open spaces, to reduce incidents of flash floods and spread of diseases.

Quezon City

In 2012, the local government issued an ordinance about the reduction of plastic bag use. The law mandated certain retailers to charge customers who do not use reusable bags and to incentivize those who do. In December 2019, QC Mayor Joy Belmonte introduced ordinances regarding the total ban of single-use plastics.

Ordinance No. 2868 is an amendment of the existing ordinance allowing businesses to charge P2 for customers who choose to use plastic bags. This new ordinance that took effect this January 2020 doesn’t have provisions for that anymore, as it executes total prohibition. Meanwhile, Ordinance No. 2876 prohibits the use and distribution of single-use plastics in commercial establishments. It is set to take effect in February to allow businesses to adjust and prepare.

Pasay

The city government began implementing Ordinance No. 4647 in 2012, as shown on their official website. The law regulates the use of non-compostable plastic carryout bags and promotes the use of recyclable paper and reusable bags. Under the ordinance, stores are required to submit a certification to the city’s Solid Waste Management Office (SWMO), confirming that the bags they give out to customers passed the standard specification on compostability. The certification can be issued by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) or any authorized government agency.

Violators of the rule will receive a warning at the first offense, a P1,000 fine for the second, and a P3,000 penalty for the third offense. Businesses face closure or cancellation of their business permit at the final violation. Tampering with the certification or submitting a fake document will also be slapped with penalties.

Sources: Paranaque CENRO, ABS-CBN, PIA, Quezon City Government, Pasay City Government

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