Albay to enforce law halting use of plastic
LEGAZPI CITY—Starting this June, commercial establishments across Albay would be prohibited from using plastic bags, Styrofoam and other synthetic fabrics as packaging materials after an ordinance banning the use of these materials was passed on Tuesday by Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP).
Signed by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda on Feb. 21, SP Ordinance No. 2011-3 would be strictly enforced and covered supermarkets, grocery outlets, markets, retailers and other stores across the province, a board official said yesterday.
Arnold Embestro, provincial board member and chair of the SP committee on environment, said the SP had lifted an exemption on the ban it gave to commercial establishments in the 15 towns and three cities of the province, paving the way for enforcement of the ordinance.
He said the ordinance directs owners of big and small retail chains, including sari-sari stores, to stop using plastic, Styrofoam and synthetic materials as packaging bags for goods sold to their customers. Violators face fines ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 and cancellation of their business permits.
Embestro said the provincial board is appealing to the public to use bags made of recyclable materials like paper, abaca or buri in shopping.
The SP and other enforcement agencies would meet on Feb. 24 with owners of commercial establishments to discuss salient features of the ordinance.
Environmentalists said the use of plastics, which usually end up as litter and find their way into waterways, river channels, parks, beaches and streets, causes pollution and results in environmental degradation.
They said once burned, plastic bags contaminate the air with toxic fumes and it would take at least 400 years for the material to decompose as it was nonbiodegradable. Plastic bags also kill animals that ingest them.
Other areas have also passed laws banning the use of plastics although in many cases these laws have hardly been enforced.
Scientists have developed alternatives to plastics made of biodegradable materials but these have not been commercially available in many parts of the country.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.