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Manila eyes ban on plastic

‘Timely environmental policy’

After Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Makati, Manila may be the next city in the metropolis to ban the use and sale of plastic bags and Styrofoam.

Pending corrections in published copies of the measure, the city council is expected to soon pass on third and final reading City Ordinance No. 7393 which prohibits the use of plastic bags for dry goods and regulates its use for wet goods.

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It also bans containers made from polystyrene—more popularly known as Styrofoam—which are usually used for food and other produce.

The measure which was authored by Councilors Jocelyn Dawis-Asuncion,

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Cristina Isip, Honey Lacuna-Pangan and Numero Lim, zeroes in on business establishments in Manila.

“There is an urgent need to regulate the use of plastic bags and polystyrene packaging to prevent clogging the city’s canals and polluting its creeks, rivers, lakes and other waterways,” goes a provision in the proposed ordinance.

In particular, the council’s committee on environmental protection, ecological preservation and sanitation also noted that nonbiodegradable waste has become an “obstacle in the proper growth of plant life… contaminated water sources with the chemical components [needed] to manufacture them… polluted the atmosphere with deadly toxic fumes when burned…  and contributed to the accumulation of debris in the Pasig River and Manila Bay.”

Once the draft ordinance is passed and approved by Mayor Alfredo Lim, establishments in the city will be given a one-year moratorium to comply with its provisions.

Violators face a fine ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 aside from a maximum prison term of six months and a one-year cancellation of their license to operate.

The EcoWaste Coalition, meanwhile, expressed its gratitude to councilors who ignored political affiliations to ensure the passage of the measure.

“We laud the Manila councilors for crossing party lines

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 to ensure broad support for

this timely environmental policy,” said Sonia Mendoza, head of the group’s Task Force on Plastics.

Proponents of the measure said that the measure was timely because of the growing waste problem in the city that has contributed to flooding in some areas aside from posing health risks.

Plastics accounted for 76 percent of the waste found in Manila Bay, according to a 2010 discards survey conducted by EcoWaste in partnership with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and Greenpeace.

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TAGS: environment, Manila, Metro, News, Plastic Ban
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