Law banning single-use plastics pressed

February 29, 2020

“TIME to pass a law banning single-use plastics.”

House Minority Leader and Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. made the call as he lauded the national government for leading in banning plastics use.    

The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) issued a resolution banning the use of single-use plastics in all government offices.

Abante said this only means the need to pass a law to permanently prohibit the manufacture, importation, sale, and use of single-use plastic products in the country.

The veteran solon filed House Bill 3773  or  the   Single-use Plastic Product Ban of 2019.

NSWMC Chair Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu signed NSWMC Resolution No. 1363, Series of 2020 on February 12.

The issuance directs the DENR to prepare and implement the ban on the use of unnecessary single-use plastic products by national government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and all other government-controlled offices.

The plastic products covered by the prohibition are cups less than 0.2 millimeter in thickness, drinking straws, coffee stirrers, spoons, forks, knives, “labo” or thin and translucent plastic bags, and thin-filmed sando bags lower than 15 microns.

“This is a step in the right direction and, I believe, a signal to those of us in Congress to pass a law to prohibit the use of single-use plastics in our country,” Abante, the author of House Bill No. 3773 or the “Single-use Plastic Product Ban of 2019.”

Under the proposal, which is pending in the House, the manufacture, importation, sale, and use of all single-use products is prohibited.

The measure defines single-use plastic as “disposable plastic products which are commonly used for packaging and include items to be used only once that are thrown away or recycled.”

Examples of these products are grocery bags, food packaging containers and bags, water bottles, straws, stirrers, styrofoam, cups, sachets, and plastic cutlery.

The  Philippines produces 2.7 million metric tons of plastic each year and is estimated to have the 3rd highest rate of mismanaged plastic waste in the world.

“This can be attributed to the fact that ours is what is called a ‘sachet economy,’ meaning we buy many products in small quantities,” the solon said.