Thursday, September 30, 2010

Senators endorse bill mandating environment-friendly bags

SENATORS moved to ban plastic shopping bags and instead require
shopping malls and retailers to use recyclable and
environment-friendly bags.

The remedial legislation is contained in separate bills filed by Sens.
Loren Legarda, Manuel Villa and Miriam Santiago.

This developed as environment advocates, led by the EcoWaste
Coalition, put up a plastic garbage monster made of used grocery bags
outside the Senate compound as senators opened hearings on the three
bills to remind lawmakers of the need to “tame the  plastic monster”
one year after killer typhoon Ondoy hit the country.

The coalition pleaded with the senators to speed up passage of a law
to stop “the reckless use and disposal of plastic bags.”

At the hearing, Villar recalled that  exactly a year ago, Typhoon
Ondoy swamped much of Metro Manila to extraordinary level of
floodwater. “I still remember that the minute the floodwaters receded,
one of the obvious observations was that the plastic thrash had been
found to be a major cause of blocked drainage and floodways,” he said.

He noted that a survey conducted by the National Solid Waste
Commission of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in
2003 found that plastic materials comprised 15 percent of all solid
waste generated in Metro Manila.

“More recently, a survey conducted by the Quezon City Environmental
Protection and Waste Management Department at the Payatas Disposal
Facility this year found that plastic materials comprised 21 percent
of all garbage dumped at the facility. Plastic bags in particular,
comprised more than half of this amount,” he added.

Villar pressed for the early enactment of a law that will promote the
use of environment-friendly bags to conserve energy and natural
resources, reduce the volume of waste disposed daily, diminish plastic
bag litter and invite citizens to actively participate in practices
that promote a clean and sustainable environment.

Under Villar’s proposal, all department stores, malls, and retail
establishments with three or more stores, sales offices or branches
nationwide or those with capitalization of more than P5 million are
mandated to utilize reusable and environment-friendly shopping bags.

After three years of effectivity of the Act, the use of
environment-friendly bags is mandated in all commercial establishments
and shall be mandated as a requirement of registering or operating a
business or commercial endeavour.

Violation of this act will mean a penalty of revocation of license or
permit to operate a business and a fine of not less than P100,000.
Fines collected as penalties shall be constituted as a special
environment fund that will be used to disseminate information geared
towards the protection on Mother Earth.


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