Sonny Angara files plastic straw bill
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - September 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — To help wean people from the use of plastic straws, Sen. Sonny Angara proposed that establishments charge customers for the use of these straws blamed for polluting waters and killing whales. 

Angara has filed Senate Bill 954 or the proposed straw regulation act, which aims to change the habits of consumers, as well as the practices of manufacturers and commercial establishments toward protecting the environment, one small step at a time. 

He said such a move would be better than an outright ban on plastic straws. 

Establishments, however, have cited the difficulty of thoroughly cleaning metal straws. Concerns over unsanitary metal straws also make people prefer disposable straws.

Under the bill, all commercial establishments that sell beverages, including sari-sari stores and supermarkets would be required to charge a “Plastic Straw Fee” amounting to P2 per straw. 

Exempted from this fee are plastic straws or tubes used for medical purposes, those used by senior citizens and persons with disabilities, and individuals who have limited mobility caused by stroke, arthritis and other medical conditions. 

“Plastic straws will only be provided upon request by the customers. We should consciously put a stop to the practice of automatically providing straws to customers upon buying their beverages,” Angara said. 

For pre-packed beverages, the most common of which are juice boxes, the bill states that plastic straws should not be attached to the product and should instead be provided at the point-of-sale for the same P2 per straw fee. 

“We also want the manufacturers of these pre-packed beverages to start coming out with new designs for their products so that consumers would be able to drink these without the use of straws,” Angara said. 

The bill also calls for the establishment of straw disposal and collection facilities in all commercial establishments in order to ensure these would be recycled properly. 

Establishments found violating the provisions of the bill would face a fine of up to P10,000 for the first offense, P20,000 for the second offense and P50,000 plus cancellation of their business permits for succeeding offenses. 

Proceeds from the straw fee and fines paid would all go to environmental programs focused on the protection and clean-up of Philippine waters, rivers, seas and oceans, including an information and awareness campaign on the effect of plastic drinking straws to aquatic animals and marine ecosystems. 

A 2015 report on ocean pollution by the Ocean Conservancy charity and the McKinsey Centre for Business and Environment saw the Philippines ranked number three in the world among sources of discarded plastic the ends up in the ocean.

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