Environmentalists urge QC residents, transients to shun plastic bags

ENVIRONMENTAL advocates living in Quezon City have one common appeal to all city residents and transients: shun plastic bags and make it a practice to bring your own reusable carry bags.

The environmentalists issued their respective pleas as SP-2140 or the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance, which regulates the use of plastic bags and sets an environmental fee for its use, takes effect today, September 1.

“We urge everyone who lives, works or simply visits QC to take to heart the local government’s environmental policy to cut back the uncontrolled use and disposal of plastic bags. Let us break the plastic bag habit and get into the routine of taking a bayong or any reusable bag or container whenever we shop. Matututo rin tayo. Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?,” said Von Hernandez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We congratulate the QC government for its effort to reduce plastic waste and pollution through the ordinance. We call on our fellow residents to bring reusable bags made of indigenous materials, support the regulation and give Mother Earth a much needed breather from the ever-present plastic bags,” said Sonia Mendoza, Chairperson, Mother Earth Foundation.

“This ordinance is long overdue. We look forward to seeing the positive results of its implementation. We can proudly say that this generation did something to stem the tide of plastics. There is still plenty of work to be done. But for now, we pat ourselves in the back and say, thank you,” said Beau Baconguis, Philippine Program Manager, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

“Dear fellow citizens in QC of our affections, rejoice that we can now contribute to keep our city clean and plastic-free. Let us heed the ordinance for healthier and more toxic-free space for our families. Mabuhay ka QC!” said Esther Pacheco, Citizens Organization Concerned with Advocating Philippine Environmental Sustainability.

“Please give the ordinance the chance to succeed. We need not spend for eco-replacements to plastic bags as we can creatively make our own reusable bags from used materials that we can find in our homes,” said Ofelia Panganiban, Trustee, Zero Waste Philippines.

Plastic bag waste is a huge and costly problem in highly urbanized cities like Quezon City, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Citing data from the Quezon City Government, the group noted that some 719 cubic meter or 45 10-wheeler truckload of plastic bags are disposed of daily in the city.

According to the Quezon City Government, the single-use plastic bags and their improper disposal create significant litter problems, clogging up canals and sewerage systems and causing floods.

The free distribution of plastic bags, the authorities said, also brings about a throw-away attitude among consumers.

Through SP-2140, the Quezon City Government will enforce a Plastic Recovery System Fee that will charge and collect a fix amount of two pesos (P2.00) per plastic bag used regardless of its size.

Proceeds will go to the city’s Green Fund that will be used to finance relevant environmental initiatives.

A related ordinance SP-2130 requires all business establishments that uses plastic bags to conspicuously display a notice encouraging their customers to protect the environment by bringing their own recyclable/reusable bags.

Meanwhile, environmentalists also welcomed SP-2127 banning the use of plastic and other polystyrene materials with the Quezon City Hall, which has tremendously reduced the volume of residual garbage generated by employees and visitors.

A vendor selling snacks and drinks at the City Hall told the EcoWaste Coalition that he cut his waste volume from 3 sacks to just 1 as soon as the ban on plastic and Styro took effect.

“We urge the City Council to build upon the success of SP-2127 and consider a similar ordinance with citywide application,” they said.


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