Villar renews call for ban on single-use plastic
Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, pressed anew for the ban on single-use plastic in a gathering of the heads of agencies tasked to clean and rehabilitate Manila Bay.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File photo
Villar renews call for ban on single-use plastic
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Government agencies and local officials should work harder to ban single-use plastic, which is one of the main causes of the degradation of Manila Bay, Sen. Cynthia Villar said yesterday.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, pressed anew for the ban on single-use plastic in a gathering of the heads of agencies tasked to clean and rehabilitate Manila Bay.

“Plastics is one of the worst cause of destruction and pollution of our environment, and death of our marine resources. We know because in our cleanups, almost all the garbage we collect are plastic wastes,” the senator said during the Second Principals’ Meeting and Conference of the Manila Bay Task Force held at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

She said despite the move of some cities to ban plastics in their localities, the enormity of the problem calls for a nationwide ban, which is also favored by President Duterte.

She said her committee will soon start public hearings on Senate Bill 333 or the proposed Single-Use Plastic Product Regulation Act, which she filed to to regulate the manufacturing, importation and single use of plastic products.

Also under the bill, the issuance of single-use plastics by food establishments, stores, markets and retailers will be prohibited.

Consumers will also be diverted to use reusable materials and manufacturers will be mandated to collect, recycle and dispose of single-use plastics manufactured and/or in circulation in the general market. Importation of single-use plastics will no longer be allowed.

“We also seek to amend the 20-year-old Solid Waste Management Act to include the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility which will require the manufacturers using plastic materials in their packaging to be responsible in recovering the plastic wastes,” Villar said.

The meeting was held ahead of the celebration of the first anniversary of the Battle for Manila Bay on Jan. 26. The achievement of the task force was highlighted during the meeting, including the drop in fecal coliform levels in some areas of Manila Bay from billions to hundreds of thousands, and the successful relocation of informal settlers.

Environment Secretary and Manila Bay Task Force chairman Roy Cimatu thanked members of the task force and the people who conduct daily clean-ups in the bay.

“What we started here is the beginning of something transformative for the Philippines – a true revolution. Let the battle for Manila Bay rage on!” Cimatu said.

The Manila Bay Task Force was created by Administrative Order 16 signed by President Duterte on Feb. 19, 2019.

The basis of the AO is the writ of continuing mandamus issued by the Supreme Court in December 2008 directing 13 agencies and private entities to clean up, rehabilitate, preserve, restore and maintain the waters of Manila Bay to a level that is fit for swimming, skin diving and other forms of recreation.

CYNTHIA VILLAR
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