The committee on environment of the Tacloban city council, chaired by Councilor Aimee Grafil (standing), conducted a public hearing on Tuesday (Oct.29) as part of a proposed measure to regulate the use of plastic bags across the city. Also present during the public hearing held at the session hall of the Legislative Building were Councilors Evangeline Esperas, Dalisay Erpe and Leo Bahin, city environment officer Jonathan Hijada and Elizabeth Biangcong of the Mother Earth Foundation. (CIO)

As a way to help the environment

TACLOBAN CITY-A public hearing on the possible regulation on the use of plastics and polystyrene here in the city was conducted by the members of the committee on environmental protection and waste management.
The panel, chaired by Councilor Aimee Grafil, aims to solicit opinion and at the same time, support from the public on a measure she introduced at the city council on the regulation of single-use of plastics and polystyrene on food products.
The committee’s public hearing, conducted at the session hall of the Sangguniang Panglungsod, was attended by business establishments’ operators or their representatives, barangay officials, and some environment groups.
Councilor Grafil said that under her proposed ordinance, end-users, to include business establishments, will be given six months to properly dispose and stop in using plastic bags and polystyrene.
But this deadline was opposed by some saying it is too short for them to comply the mandate of the proposed ordinance which carry a penalty of fines of not less than P5,000 and imprisonment.
However, majority present in the public hearing eventually agreed for a six months grace period.
Under the proposed ordinance, the City Information Office, the media and information arm of the city government, will lead in the information dissemination campaign on the regulation on the use of plastic bags and polystyrene on food products.
Grafil is pushing for the enactment of the ordinance saying that there is now a need to at least regulate the use of plastic use in the city not only they cause damage to the environment but also to help lengthen the use of the city’s sanitary landfill.
Jonathan Hijada, city environment and natural resources officer, informed those who attended the more than three-hour public hearing that there is really a need for the people of the city to be conscious in properly disposing their waste, particularly plastics which are non-biodegradable.
According to him, the waste disposal in the city is declining due to the cooperation of the public, especially on proper waste disposal and segregation.
Hijada reported that from the previous 154 tons per day of waste, they now collects 114 tons a day.
“But with the proposed ordinance, we hope to target to just 100 tons a day of waste,” he said.
Also present during the public hearing were Councilors Evangeline Esperas, Dalisay Erpe and Leo Bahin.