By Jel Santos
Of the 2,240 establishments inspected from January to June in Makati City, 114 establishments were found to be noncompliant to the city’s plastic ban and use of environment-friendly packaging and dining utensils.
This was disclosed recently by the city’s Department of Environmental Services (DES).
In 2003, City Ordinance No. 2003-095 was enacted, a code that requires the use of environment-friendly materials in food chains, restaurants, supermarkets, eateries and other similar establishments within the city.
According to DES chief Leopoldo Parumog, the Plastic Monitoring Task Force (PMTF) teams inspected 544 establishments in District 1, of which 85 were noncompliant. Meanwhile, in District 2, some 29 out of 1,696 establishments inspected were found in violation of the code.
The city ordinance states individual violators will face a fine of P1,000 or imprisonment ranging from five to 30 days, or both at the discretion of the court. Errant establishments will be fined P5,000, and their owners may also be jailed for a month up to a year. To date, total fines paid by some 70 errant establishments to the city amount to P350,000.
In 2012, Executive Order (EO) No. 007 was issued to amend the initial EO that prescribed the implementing rules and regulations of Sections 21, 22 and 23 of the code covering the “use of environment-friendly materials”. The said order extended the deadline for the nine-year grace period granted to establishments to deplete their plastic inventories, and the plastic ban took effect on June 20, 2013.
Based on the city ordinance, establishments have the option to provide, for free or for a fee, paper bags, cloth bags, basket/woven bags made from biodegradable packaging materials, woven native bags, and other similar materials in lieu of plastic shopping bags.
Meantime, among the products exempted from the order are plastic bottled products like bottled water, ice tea, cooking oil, alcohol, mayonnaise, jelly, peanut butter, coco jam, and the like. Also included in the exemption are plastic sachet products like shampoo and conditioner, soap/detergent, noodles; cosmetics; cigarette case; plastic bags used as primary packaging on wet goods with thickness of 15 microns above, and other similar products. Micron (micromillimeter) is the global measurement unit for thickness of plastic bags. Experts say that thinner plastic is more harmful to the environment.
Mayor Abigail Binay said “pollution has become a major environmental concern, especially for our country which has been identified as one of the world’s top sources of plastic waste dumped into the sea. We must all make a deliberate, concerted effort to reduce the volume of nonbiodegradable garbage we generate daily.”
She appealed to her constituents to follow the plastic ban and use environment-friendly packaging and dining utensils to save the environment.
The mayor reiterated that establishments make a “strong positive influence” in changing the lifestyles of consumers that will diminish their dependence on plastic products.
“If all food and retail establishments in Makati were fully compliant with the plastic ban, tens of thousands of consumers would soon adapt to the shift towards nonplastic or biodegradable materials, and even assimilate it into their day-to-day living,” Binay said