City considers amendments to 'no plastic use'

BAGUIO CITY – the city government is taking a cautious leap towards attaining its goal of implementing the paper bag ordinance here.

City Mayor Mauricio Domogan during the Executive Legislative Meeting said, 'the strict implementation of the Paper Bag Ordinance is a good step towards minimizing the use of plastic and sando bags in the city, which when used improperly ends up in canals and garbage piles'.

However, Domogan said, 'amendments to the said ordinance is needed considering that there are still concerns that need to be resolved.'

As per reports during Legislative Tracking conducted by the city's Sangunian Panlungsod

Research division, reactions on the implementation of the ordinance showed mixed reactions.

'The city should have listed in the ordinance all other biodegradable bagging products which may be used and available in the local market', the report read.

Others said the source of biodegradable bagging containers should have been determined and provided and additional exemptions to the ordinance for establishments serving hot and liquid products which could not be placed in paper bags.

Others even questioned the use of 'paper bags' as these are made from wood pulp derived from trees.

The ordinance is clear however that establishments are required to use paper bags, buri bags and 'other biodegradable materials' including paper boxes and cartons for all dry goods and groceries instead of plastic bags.

Except for goods sold in the public market wet section such as fresh meat, fish, vegetables and fruits which may be packed in plastic containers and sando bags provided they are placed in shopping bags allowed in the ordinance.

The said ordinance was passed in June 25, 2007 and took effect only in January this year, penalties for non-complying establishments includes fines for the first offense pegged at P1,000.00, 2nd offense at P2,500.00 and 3rd offense at P5,000.00 and suspension of business permit for three months.

Business Permits of Habitual offenders will not be renewed.

The city is also looking into other options to replace plastic sando bags made from other raw materials other than wood pulp and is considering the use of oxo-biodegradable plastics and the reduction, regulation or possible prohibition on the use of Polystyrene products.

Domogan said, 'controlling the source of wastes is one of the objectives of the ordinance' but the most effective solution to the solid waste problem is still the enforcement of 'waste segregation at source' and the effective implementation of waste reduction through re-use, recycle and recovery.

'We have to help each other here, we have to be responsible enough to dispose of our wastes properly', he added. ***paul rillorta

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