‘Unnecessary’ single-use plastic products banned in gov’t offices
MANILA, Philippines — The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), chaired by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), has approved a resolution imposing a ban of eight “unnecessary” single-use plastic products in all government offices nationwide.
NSWMC Resolution No. 1363, recently signed by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, directs the DENR to “prepare and implement” the ban on the use of single-use plastic products in national government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and all government offices.
Specifically, those covered by the ban are plastic cups less than 0.2 millimeter in thickness, drinking straws, coffee stirrers, spoons, forks, knives, “plastic labo” or thin, translucent plastic bags, and thin-filmed sand bags lower than 15 microns.
“The NSWMC resolution is a major step to curb the use of single-use plastic items that pollute our waterways, kill marine life and contribute to our country’s increasing solid waste,” Cimatu said in a statement on Monday.
He said the DENR will devise specific guidelines for the implementation of the plastic ban.
Citing information from the United Nations, the DENR said that land-based sources, such as agricultural run-off, discharge of nutrients and pesticides, and untreated sewage including plastics that end up in rivers and creeks are responsible for 80 percent of the world’s marine debris.
Meanwhile, Benny Antiporda, Environment Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU’s Concerns, defended the commission for including only eight single-use plastic items in the ban.
“It was the decision of the NSWMC to come up with a balanced judgment on the use of single-use plastics by taking into consideration that we can only ban those that have available alternatives,” said Antiporda.
He cited cited Section 29 of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which provides that “non-environmentally acceptable products shall not be prohibited unless the [NSWMC] first finds that there are alternatives which are available to consumers at no more than 10 percent greater cost than the disposable product.”
NSWMC is an inter-agency body under the Office of the President and is mandated to oversee the implementation of solid waste management plans and prescribe policies to achieve the objectives of RA 9003.
Aside from the DENR, the commission is also composed of the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Trade and Industry.
Other members include the League of Cities of the Philippines, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Philippine Information Agency, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and representatives from the recycling and manufacturing or packaging sectors.
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