Dialog sought for anti- plastic lawCebu Daily News
Full compliance with a total plastic ban and a holistic approach should be pursued by the Cebu City government, environment groups said over the weekend.
George Chiu, administrative officer of the Cebu Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc., said while the proposed No Plastic Saturday Ordinance was a good measure “it should start with the right means.”
“A dialogue with store owners, consumer groups and government agencies on how to implement it must also be conducted so these plastics won’t reach the marine or reef areas and harm the ecosystem,” Chiu said.
The ordinance authored by Councilors Nida Cabrera and Edgar Labella received initial support during the public hearing last Aug. 22 where a mall manager and sidewalk vendors expressed support for the reform.
Chiu said the dialogue should be done at the grassroots level with technical studies behind the ordinance explained to stakeholders, he said.
Cabrera refiled the ordinance and integrated it with Labella’s proposal after consultations with mall managers and plastic suppliers.
At present SM City and Ayala Center are encouraging shoppers to forego plastic bags one day a week and use alternatives like a woven native “bayong” or a reusable “green bag.”
“There’s no impact if only malls ban plastic bags. It is everybody’s concern. The ordinance is good. We should start getting the right thing done since excessive plastic consumption is a social problem,” Chiu said.
Caridad Balisacan, a member of the Movement of Imaginals for a Sustainable Society through Initiatives, Organizing, and Networking (MISSION) Cebu, said malls and other business establishments should fully comply with the ordinance.
Under the draft ordinance, stores have to provide a minimum of P1 or its equivalent in points and freebies to a customer who brings his own empty container or sack or cloth bag or woven bag, or who returns a used plastic shopping bag.
Balisacan said the incentive is good but it would be better to educate people so they would comply with the ordinance not because of the incentive but because they understand the benefits to the environment and their quality of life.
“It’s something that all of us should advocate. If Dumaguete City residents can comply with the ordinance then there’s no reason why we can’t do it,” said Balisacan.
July Añon, a 25-year-old customer service associate of National Cash Register Corp. in I.T Park, Cebu City, said she favors the ordinance because it would result in a cleaner environment.
“I always bring my knapsack so if I go to malls, I don’t use a plastic bag anymore to carry my purchases even if it’s not a Saturday. At least in that way I could help,” Añon said in Cebuano.
Laarne Avila, a second year mass communication student in Cebu Normal University (CNU), said the draft ordinance would help reduce pollution and flooding.
Emalyn Aliviano, spokesperson of the Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD-Cebu), said the proposed ordinance is a good start but won’t totally solve pollution.
“It takes more than just banning plastics to clean the environment,” she said.
Chiu agreed, saying a total ban on the use of plastics isn’t feasible at this time.
“We can study and mak-e alternatives. Recycling is only one alternative,” he said. /Tweeny M. Malinao, Correspondent