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Why Malabon continues to delay plastic ban

Measure idle till April ’15; mayor seeks balanced version

The mayor is now saying that, being near a fish port, his city cannot just do away with plastic wrappers.

The Malabon City government continues to delay the implementation of its plastic ban, as officials said they were still working on supposed “loopholes” in the measure, the likes of which have long been adopted by many cities in Metro Manila.

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The city council in October last year approved an 18-month moratorium on the implementation of the January 2013 ordinance imposing the ban on most plastic packaging. The move ensured that the measure would remain frozen until April 2015.

In an interview Thursday, Malabon Mayor Antolin Oreta III maintained that the deferment period would allow councilors to continue holding consultations on the matter and take into account the position of all stakeholders.

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“Hopefully they could fix it and come up with a new ordinance that would balance the interests of all sides,” Oreta told the Inquirer.

The mayor explained that while the city government was earlier bent on imposing a blanket ban, several groups came to him after he signed the measure —and that they proposed alternatives.

The groups included the Polystyrene Packaging Council of the Philippines, which found the language of the ordinance ambiguous on whether it was a total ban or just a regulation.

Oreta conceded: “It’s difficult to totally ban plastics here. Those against it argue that there are already biodegradable plastics.”

“And we also have to take into account that there are many plastics producers here. Malabon is also near a fish port, which relies heavily on waterproof packaging such as plastic,” he added.

He said he expected the council to enact a “better version” of the ordinance before April 2015.

The January 2013 ordinance prohibits business establishments from using plastic bags as packaging for dry goods, while also banning the use of Styrofoam containers for food.

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Plastics can still be used for wet goods but only as primary packaging. Secondary packaging, which could be used to provide support for the primary packaging, should not be made of plastic.

The ordinance also prohibits the improper disposal of plastic waste, and even requires that such materials are washed, rinsed and dried properly before being sent to recycling facilities to be set up in each barangay in the city.

Citing the plastic wastes that continue to clog local waterways and drainage systems, the council then pushed for the ordinance mainly because of its potential to mitigate Malabon’s perennial problem: flooding.

The following cities in the National Capital Region have regulated the use of plastics: Caloocan, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Pasig, Quezon, Pasay, Marikina, Mandaluyong, Manila and Makati. With a report from Inquirer Research

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TAGS: Fish Port, Malabon City, Malabon City Government, Malabon Mayor Antolin Oreta III, Plastic Ban, Polystyrene Packaging Council of the Philippines
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