Total plastic ban in Cebu City still awaits council approval, public hearing on April 30

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio April 09,2019 - 03:11 PM

CDN FILE PHOTO | Contributed Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The total ban of single-use plastics may have to wait until the next Cebu City Council convenes.

This was the pronouncement of Cebu City Councilor Raymond Garcia, the co-author of the proposed ordinance, that seeks to ban all forms of single-use plastics in the city.

The ordinance was primarily authored by Councilor Eduardo Rama, Jr.

“Dili na. Wala nay time. We can only hope nga mapasa pa siya but if not, we will still push for it in the next council,” said Garcia, who is seeking reelection as Councilor of Cebu City North District under Partido Barug-PDP Laban.

(There is no more time. We can only hope that it will be passed in this council but if not, we will still push for it in the next council.)

The ordinance, which seeks to ban single-use plastics, encountered a lag in the Committee on Laws as it sought to reconcile the proposed ordinance with Councilor Eugenio Gabuya’s proposal to ban plastic, styrofoam and similar materials when sports activities as fun runs and marathons are held in Cebu City.

During the regular session last April 2, 2019, the Council decided to conduct a public hearing on the ban of single-use plastics on April 30, 2019.

The Council has requested the presence of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), market association, the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) and other stakeholders who may be affected by the ban.

Garcia said he expects some of the industries to disagree with the ordinance as many businesses use single-use plastics for packaging.

“That’s why it is a gradual face-out in a span of three years,” said Garcia.

In the first year, Garcia said the target is to ban plastic shopping bags and straws, which, he said, are not necessities since consumers now have easy access to alternative materials such as eco bags and reusable straws.

Garcia said he understands that reverting back to paper may be a “little” expensive but it is the price to pay to protect and conserve the environment.

Rama, for his part, said he is willing to hear out the public’s suggestions on the ordinance as he understands that certain businesses will be affected by phasing out plastics.

“It can still be amended depende sa resulta sa public hearing. Paminawon man gyod nato ang tawo. (It can still be amended depending on the results of the public hearing. We need to listen to the people),” said Rama who is also running again as Councilor of Cebu City South District under Partido Barug-PDP Laban.

While there are criticisms about the ordinance being “ambitious,” Rama said proposing a long-term solution for the city’s perennial garbage problem has to be done especially that the issue has been a constant source of argument between the camps of the current administration and the opposition.

“Someone needed to do something about it,” he said.

In previous statements, Cenro Head Nida Cabrera said the ordinance, once implemented, may reduce the plastic wastes by 10 percent.

Plastic wastes — which include shopping bags, straws, utensils, plastic cups, and bottles — comprise 26 percent of the total garbage collection in the city.

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

Rama said he is still optimistic that the ordinance will be passed within this Council’s term if the ordinance will be supported by the public. / celr

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TAGS: Cebu City garbage

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