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Quezon City is taking a bold step towards being more environmentally-responsible with its recent ban on single-use plastics.
In a recent press conference, QC Mayor Joy Belmonte announced the approval of two ordinances, Philstar reported. Ordinance No. SP 2868 is an amendment of an existing ordinance that allows businesses to charge P2 on customers who use plastic bags in supermarkets, pharmacies, and department stores. Under the new ordinance, which will be implemented in January next year, there will no longer be an option for payment of plastic bags, since it implements a total ban.
Meanwhile, Ordinance No. SP 2876 prohibits the use and distribution of single-use plastics in commercial premises. It will take effect in February, giving businesses a three-month adjustment period.
The said ordinance identified specific business establishments that should be compliant to the said order. Restaurants, for instance, which include enterprises that serve food, snacks, or refreshments, will not be allowed to use plastic plates, spoons, forks, and cups for dine-in arrangements. Hotels, on the other hand, are banned from dispensing hygiene-related products sealed in sachets and single-use containers, including bar and liquid soaps, shampoos and conditioners, and shower gels.
Businesses who will not comply with the ordinance will be slapped with a fine of P1,000 for the first offense. At the second offense, a P3,000 penalty will be imposed, along with the cancellation of environmental clearances and issuance of a cease and desist order. For the third offense, there will be a P5,000 fine, a revocation of business permit, and a closure order.
The Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department and the Business Permits Licensing Department are in charge of ensuring the compliance of business establishments.
Malacañang expressed its approval on Quezon City’s move towards eco-friendly community practices, an action that is already observed and upheld by real estate developers in the Philippines. Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo even encouraged other local government units to follow the example of QC, as reported by Manila Bulletin.
Earlier, President Duterte considered the idea of having a nationwide ban on single-use plastics, proposing it to members of his cabinet and acknowledging that legislative action is necessary. The idea was prompted by a presentation from the Natural Resources Development Corporation, outlining the pollution problem in the country.
Meanwhile, environmental groups also supported QC’s ban on single-use plastics. In a report from Manila Bulletin, EcoWaste Coalition coordinator Aileen Lucero labeled the ordinances as a “step in the right direction.” She also honored the efforts of the city council, especially Mayor Belmonte and Councilor Dorothy Delarmente, in pushing through with these “progressive environmental policies.”
Mother Earth Foundation also expressed its support for QC’s bold environmental move. Chairman Sonia Mendoza hopes that other local government units will also implement greener, waste-reducing measures.
The president of Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy, Dr. Angelina Galang, is optimistic that the plastic ban will greatly help in diminishing the volume of waste produced in the city. She echoed the government’s call to businesses and citizens to comply with the ordinances and advocate for greener practices.
Other Eco-friendly Measures
Plastic waste is a pressing pollution problem in the Philippines, which affects not only the country but the entire world. According to a different report from Philstar, the country is the third-biggest contributor to plastic waste in the oceans. This is why it is not only LGUs that are making the bold move to reduce the reliance on single-use plastics. Private companies are in it as well.
A recent report from CNN Philippines showed that San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has equipped its logistic center in General Trias, Cavite with ‘plastic roads.’ They used 900 kilos of recycled plastic and laid it on a 1,500 square meter pilot site. It served as a binder with bitumen, creating the asphalt mix. The effort was made possible with their partner-global materials science company Dow.
According to test results conducted by a third-party laboratory, the material surpassed the standards the Department of Public Works and Highways use. Additional tests, however, are necessary to ensure that recycled plastic is feasible for bigger road and infrastructure construction operations.
SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang shared that their goal is to help reduce plastic waste, finding a sustainable use for it, thereby preventing overflow of landfills and further pollution of rivers and oceans.
Sources: Philstar, Manila Bulletin, CNN Philippines