As it resumes operation January 2, a supermarket in Cagayan de Oro City begins complying with the city ordinance that bans single-use plastic bags by replacing them with paper-based wrappers or bags. Photo by Nef Luczon/PNA
CAGAYAN de Oro City--The local government has recorded 89 violators during the second day of its single-use plastic ban on Wednesday (January 2).
The violators--mostly market vendors--were given a warning and most of them asked that they be allowed to dispose of their remaining plastic bags, said Pria Tacandong of the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office (CLENRO).
However, Tacandong reminded the vendors that the city has already informed local businesses of the plastic ban as early as September last year.
City Ordinance No. 13378-2018 or the "Integrated Eco-biological Solid Waste Management Ordinance" prohibits business owners and market vendors from dispensing single-use plastic materials as packaging or wrapper for bought goods and items.
The city government has also campaigned for the wider use of reusable "eco-bags" as alternative to plastic packaging products.
CLENRO chief Armen Cuenca warned that after receiving the warning, violators will be penalized.
"We are still warning them (violators) because the printing of violation receipts are not yet finished. The maximum penalty for every plastic bag issuance is PHP3,000," Cuenca said.
Bencyrus Ellorin, chair of the Pinoy Aksyon for Governance and Environment (PAGE), said that single-plastic use ban was a welcome development as it will greatly reduce the plastic materials that usually clog canals and waterways.
However, Ellorin said more should be done to completely address the plastic waste problem in general.
"The coverage (of the ordinance) is single-use plastics like sando bags. We are still faced with the bigger problem of plastic sachets used in almost all household products. This is only part of the solution," he said.
The local single-use plastic ban comes at a time when the Philippines has been identified as among the top contributors of plastic wastes in the planet's oceans.
A study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2015 said showed that the Philippines produces more than 6.2 million kilograms of plastic per day. That means 81 percent of the country's plastic wastes are mismanaged, the agency said.
For comparison, countries like Japan and the United States similarly waste millions of kilograms per day—19 million kilograms and 37 million kgs. respectively—but both had zero percent mismanagement rating, meaning that virtually, no plastic wastes get carried into the oceans.
The Philippines joined China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam in terms of excessive plastic waste mismanagement.
In 2017, international environmental group Greenpeace has called on the Asean to seriously draw mechanisms to curb waste mismanagement.
On June 5, 2018, in line with World Environmental Day, the Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) said it has joined the movement to reduce plastic wastes for the environment in the region.
ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita S. Lim cited that Los Baños in Laguna is the country's first ever municipality that regulated the use of plastic bags in 2008. (PNA)