Gov’t likely to ban single use of plastic items in Boracay

Published June 12, 2018, 7:18 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The government could soon ban the single use of plastic items in Boracay Island.

BORACAY DOWNTIME – Once teeming with foreign and local tourists, only local residents can be seen strolling on this stretch of White Beach in Boracay Island on Friday, a day after it was closed to visitors for a six-month rehabilitation and cleanup drive. (Tara Yap)
Boracay Island (Tara Yap)

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu is “seriously considering” this to address the growing garbage problem in the island.

According to DENR, Boracay generates an estimated 90 to 115 tons of garbage a day, but only 30 to 40 tons are hauled out to mainland Malay, Aklan.

It added that a large portion of Boracay’s trash is composed of single-use plastic products, such as grocery bags, toothbrush, bottled water, sachets of shampoo and condiments, and soap wrappers, among others.

Cimatu said prohibiting the use of single-use plastic products would not only help solve the island’s solid waste problem but also plastic pollution that threatens its marine environment.

“Plastic, particularly those for single-use packaging, has greatly contributed to the degradation of the environment,” Cimatu pointed out.

“Plastic pollution continues to poison our oceans and injure marine life. When not properly disposed, they clog waterways and cause flooding,” he added.

Cimatu said hotels will be encouraged to use dispensers for their liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner; while stores will be asked to sell condiments like soy sauce, vinegar and cooking oil through refilling stations.

“Let us go back to basics. We used to bring a glass bottle to the sari-sari store when we buy cooking oil and vinegar. Let’s do the same now,” he said.

National Solid Waste Management Commission executive director Eligio Ildefonso supports a ban on single-use plastic items not only in Boracay, but all over the country.

“Single-use plastic is what its name says, for single-use,” Ildefonso pointed out.

“It cannot be recycled and reused; people have no motivation to recover it. It has no further use so it should be discouraged,” he added.

Ildefonso encourages the use of eco-bags when buying wet and dry goods. “Eco-bags can be reused; you can wash them; they do not contribute to solid waste,” he explained.

Boracay was closed to tourists on April 26 to give way to a six-month rehabilitation from environmental degradation mainly due to garbage and wastewater problems.