Cebu City Council to mull measure banning single-use plastic in the city

By Delta Dyrecka Letigio |March 02,2019 - 06:54 PM

The use of plastic bags to pack or repack food items is a common practice not just in supermarkets or sari-sari store but also in public markets, including at the Carbon Public Market, the biggest public market in Cebu City. |CDND File Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Single-use plastics may be no longer be seen in Cebu City in the next three years if the proposed measure to completely ban the use of these kinds of plastic materials in supermarkets and other business establishments n the city will be passed by the City Council.

The city government is currently implementing a measure that prohibits business establishments, particularly groceries and supermarkets, from packing grocery items in plastic bags every Wednesday and Saturdays, as provided under Ordinance 2343 implemented in 2012 and amended in July 2018.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña,  in a memorandum on July 3, 2018,  has also banned single-use plastic and use of styrofoams in all the offices of the city government effective August 1, 2018.

But if the proposed ordinance authored by Councilor Eduardo Rama, Jr. and Councilor Raymond Garcia will get the nod of the City Council, there will be a total ban of single-use plastic in Cebu City.

Garcia told Cebu Daily News Digital that the ban of plastic shopping bags in the city every Wednesdays and Saturdays is no longer enough to address the garbage problems of the city,  since discarded plastic bags have been clogging canals and rivers, which have also led to severe flooding in the city during the rainy period.

“Dili na enough ang two days ra. It’s time that stop using single-use plastic,” said Garcia.

Garcia said his proposed measure will be up for discussion in next week’s council session, where it will be decided when to schedule the public hearing for the measure.

Garcia, however, said a total ban on single-use plastic will need to be implemented in phases, or a period of about three years, to give  business establishments and manufacturers time to produce their own non-plastic packaging materials.

He said that in the first year, their target is to ban plastic shopping bags and straws, which he said are not necessities since consumers have easy access to alternatives such as eco bags and reusable straws.

Garcia also said that the implementation will need the cooperation of businesses as plastic materials are widely used in the manufacturing industry.

“Imong candy wrapper, plastic. Imong sudlanan sa sliced bread, plastic. Halos tanan gibutang sa plastic,” said Garcia.

Garcia hoped that the ordinance will be passed by the council after a public hearing.

City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) head Nida Cabrera welcomed the move, saying a total plastic ban in the city would likely reduce plastic wastes by 10 percent.

Plastic wastes — shopping bags, straws, utensils, plastic cups, and bottles, among others – comprise  26 percent of the total garbage collection in the city, according to Cabrera.

But since the proposed ordinance  would only prohibit single-use plastic, other plastic wastes may still be collected even after the ordinance has been fully implemented.

Garcia hoped that people would support the ordinance despite the inconvenience it may cause to people.

“People need to get their priorities straight. We need to think of our environment,” said Garcia. /elb

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