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Bacolod oks ordinance regulating plastic bags

- Danny B. Dangcalan () - November 6, 2011 - 12:00am

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines  — Mayor Evelio Leonardia has approved an ordinance regulating the sale, provision, and use of plastic bags as packing materials of all business establishments in this city.

Councilor Em Legaspi-Ang, main author of the Bacolod City Plastic Bag Regulation Ordinance, said that when this law takes effect, Bacolod will be the first highly urbanized city outside Metro Manila to implement such law.

Leonardia approved the ordinance last October 26 in the presence of Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson, Ang, and co-authors Councilors Al Victor Espino, Caesar Distrito, Roberto Rojas, Homer Bais, Carl Lopez and Mona Dia Jardin.

Ang said the ordinance aims to address the mindless consumption of single-use plastic bags; minimize the use of plastic bags; mainstream the use of reusable bags; and invite the active participation of the citizenry in practices that promote a clean and sustainable environment.

It mandates that no business establishment, fastfood outlets, market vendors, food kiosks, sari-sari stores, ambulant vendors, and the like shall utilize, sell or provide plastic bags and/or sando bags as packaging material to customers.

In lieu of single-use plastic sando bags, stores and other retail establishments shall provide, for free, any alternative legally-compliant packaging material to customers, such as but not limited to recyclable, reusable and/or biodegradable bags, woven bags (bayong), cloth bags, rattan baskets, shopping bags made from recycled waste paper and other bags made out of biodegradable materials (e.g. banana leaves, taro leaves, water lily, corn stalk, etc.).

Plastic bags with no handles, holes or strings commonly used as primary packaging for wrapping unpacked fresh foods at supermarkets, wet and dry markets, restaurants, canteen and the like shall not be included under the scheme as the usage of such plastic bag is justified on the grounds of public hygiene.

Ang said that despite serious efforts of the city to segregate compostable, recyclable and reusable waste materials, plastics and other similar materials remain in the waste stream and eventually become residuals.

She added that there is a need to regulate the use of plastic bags and to encourage the use of reusable bags in order to change people's attitudes to litter and pollute in Bacolod City and prevent potential serious ecological imbalance like the garbage and flooding problems particularly in the city's creeks, rivers and other waterways and endangering public health.

There will be a one-year moratorium from the date of formal approval of the ordinance to allow business establishments to dispose of their existing plastic bags, she said.

The ordinance also provides that during the moratorium, the city shall conduct massive information, education and communication campaigns using print, radio, television and internet media and shall also include the promotion of alternative biodegradable packaging materials, Ang added. (FREEMAN)

BACOLOD CITY BACOLOD CITY PLASTIC BAG REGULATION ORDINANCE BAGS CAESAR DISTRITO CARL LOPEZ AND MONA DIA JARDIN CITY COUNCILOR EM LEGASPI-ANG COUNCILORS AL VICTOR ESPINO HOMER BAIS PLASTIC
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