Beginning on New Year’s Day
TACLOBAN CITY– This city has joined local government units in the country prohibiting the use of plastics by business establishments and the public.
The ban on the use of single-use plastics in the city started on Monday (Jan.1), based on Ordinance Number 2023-15-06, otherwise known as the Plastic and Styrofoam Packaging Regulation Ordinance approved by the city council and signed by Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
Under the said ordinance, business establishments, restaurants, fast-food outlets, food kiosks, catering services, and the likes are prohibited from using plastic or Styrofoam or expanded polystyrene foam as food containers.
The author of the measure, Councilor Aimee Grafil, in a previous interview, said that the ordinance is not only meant to help address the city’s problem of garbage, particularly involving plastics but more so, encourage the public to use indigenous or reusable bags, potentially opening livelihood opportunities among its residents.
“The ordinance aims to eventually reduce the volume of solid wastes generated in the city, promote the use of indigenous or reusable bags, and provide opportunities for livelihood to communities, thereby upholding health, safety, and welfare not only of the people but including the environment,” Grafil said, after the passage of the ordinance March of last year.
‘Banderitas’ which is being used during celebrations like fiesta is also banned under the ordinance.
The city has an average of 141 tons of daily waste of which plastic wastes account ‘significant portion,’ the City Environment Office said.
Violators of the ordinance face fines of P1,000 to P5,000 with the cancellation of the business permit for establishments and imprisonment of at least six months, subject to the discretion of the court, for individuals.
The Business Permits and Licensing Office is mandated to conduct inspections and ensure the compliance of the establishments on the ordinance.
The prohibition on the use of plastics and Styrofoam is in line with the mandate of RA 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
The implementation of the single-use prohibition in Tacloban was welcomed by a pro-environment group based in the city.
Ronan Renz Napoto, founding member of Balud, an Eastern Visayas-based youth-led environmental organization
“This sends a strong message to the entire region that it is really high time and long overdue that we put prime focus on the state of our environment and move towards progressive practices, and Tacloban, being the lone highly urbanized city in the region brings more weight to this call,” he said in a statement.
“However, we are also interested to see how this implementation would go; how would they translate the policy into action; how would the LGU Tacloban would address the varied reactions and the feedbacks from the people; etc,” Napoto added.
JOEY A. GABIETA