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Certify bill banning single-use plastics as priority, Greenpeace tells Duterte
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - November 8, 2019 - 4:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte should certify as urgent a proposed legislation that will ban single-use plastic products, environmental group Greenpeace said Friday.

This, after the Malacañang announced that the chief executive has floated the idea of banning the use of plastics during Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.

“This is a long delayed pronouncement which we trust will be put into action and will not remain a mere statement,” Abigail Aguilar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia regional campaign coordinator, said.

Plastic pollution is a problem in the Philippines. The country—along with China, Vietnam and Indonesia—is frequently listed among the top contributors to marine plastic pollution.

Avoiding the manufacture of single-use plastics, according to Greenpeace, is the solution to the country’s plastic pollution problem.

“As a first step, the president needs to certify as priority a strong national single-use plastic ban bill, which should aim for drastic reduction of the manufacture of single-use plastic products and packaging, and their eventual elimination from the market,” Aguilar said.

The proposed measure must also include the phase out of sachet packaging, direct companies to redesign products and packaging, and give incentives to reuse, refill and other alternative delivery systems, she added.

“Finally, the ban should not include false solutions such as materials substitution to paper or bioplastics, lightweighting of packaging and chemical recycling, among others,” Aguilar said.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte noted that banning the use of plastics will require legislative action.

There are at least seven bills in the Senate and 20 bills in the House of Representatives seeking to regulate or ban single-use plastic products. All proposed measures remain pending at the committee level.

Every year, almost 59.8 billion pieces of plastic sachets are used in the Philippines, according to a study on the country’s pollution problem by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

The report also showed that more than 17 billion shopping bags are used across the country every year.

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