Sunday, January 23, 2011

Philippines city bans plastic bags

Muntinlupa City has become the first major urban centre in the country to ban the use of plastic bags and other non-biodegradable materials.

Just recently, the city, located in the southern fringes of Metro Manila, started implementing Ordinance Number 10-109.

The local edict prohibits establishments from using, offering or selling plastic bags as primary or secondary packing materials for dry goods, as well as for wet goods such as fish, meat and poultry.

The ordinance further bans polystyrene containers for foodstuffs, drinks and other goods. Likewise, it also imposes fines for violators ranging from P500 (Dh42) to P2,500 (Dh209) as well as imprisonment of not more than six months.

Business establishments found violating the law face having their licences to operate cancelled for up to one year. In passing the Ordinance, the Muntinlupa City Council noted that irresponsibly-disposed-of plastic bags and other non-biodegradable containers were the major causes of flash floods in the city during heavy rains as it clogged canals, creeks, rivers and other waterways.

Francis Tolentino chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority said lauded the city and its mayor, Aldrin San Pedro for initiating the "bold move for the sake of the environment".

Local environmental watchdog, the EcoWaste Coalition, similarly hailed the city council and the Mayor's move. "The Muntinlupa plastic ban offers a beacon of hope for our beleaguered environment that has long been suffering from white pollution," said veteran performing actor Roy Alvarez, President of the EcoWaste Coalition.

Bold measure

"By insisting to enforce the ban, Muntinlupa will become an environmental leader among local government units with this bold measure to reduce plastic litter and promote ecological values," he emphasised.

Tolentino, for his part, added he would push for the adoption of this measure by the fifteen other cities and one municipality comprising Metropolitan Manila, and exhorted other mayors throughout the Philippines to do the same.

Prior to the ban on plastic bags and similarly non-biodegradable packaging by Muntinlupa City, certain commercial establishments in the Philippines encouraged customers to bring their on shopping bags or use re-usable baskets of containers made from biodegradable materials.

San Pedro said that 90 per cent of material which obstructed drains and waterways was plastic rubbish, which cost the city government millions of pesos for de-clogging operations.


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