Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mandaluyong ordinance seeks to reduce plastics consumption in city

Mandaluyong City will soon be cutting back on its use of plastic products, following the lead of Muntinlupa.

Councilor Jessie Garcia has introduced a draft ordinance in the city council compelling restaurants and dry-goods sections of groceries and supermarkets to stop giving away free plastic bags to its customers and using disposable plastic foam packages and utensils.

“Mandaluyong is home to major shopping malls using a huge number of plastic bags and styrofoam. It is but right that we act now to reduce plastic wastes in our city,” Garcia’s proposal read.

The proposal also cited Metro Manila cities like Muntinlupa and Valenzuela, which had earlier imposed regulations on the use of plastic in their areas.

Lei Garcia-Beschi, Garcia’s chief of staff, said that under the ordinance, plastic bags in dry markets would be prohibited. Fast-food chains and restaurants will also be compelled to use “washable” plates and utensils instead of styrofoam and plastic products.

Plastic bags, however, are allowed in wet markets.

Market vendors, canteens and sari-sari (variety) stores will be fined P150 for the first offense; groceries and supermarkets will face a P500 fine.

Fines of P300 and P1,000 have been recommended for small-time vendors and supermarkets, respectively, for the second offense; and P1,500 and P3,000 and the suspension of business permits, for third-time offenders. The proposal recommended half a day of community service for those found violating the ordinance.

A task force composed of the city environment officer, Sanggunian Kabataan Federation president, three representatives from Mandaluyong-based environment organizations and two representatives from the Liga ng mga Barangay shall be created to monitor its implementation.

“As long as this is good for the environment, I have no worries,” said Mayor Benhur Abalos, adding that the ordinance should also include provisions about emerging technologies on biodegradable plastic bags.

Jimmy Isidro, Mandaluyong public information chief, said establishments in the city like Rustans and SM Megamall have already started cutting down on their consumption of plastic.

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