By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Cynthia Villar is seeking the passage of a law that would prohibit the use of single-use plastics in the country.
Villar on Friday disclosed that she filed Senate Bill No. 333 or the proposed Single-Use Plastic Product Regulation Act, which would control the manufacturing, importation and use of single-use plastic products.
In calling for her bill’s “urgent” approval, the reelected senator, who is expected to stay on as chairperson of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in the 18th Congress, cited a 2015 study showing the Philippines as the third largest contributor of plastic wastes in the world’s oceans.
She also mentioned the United Nations warning that if plastic pollution continues, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
“With our dependence in agriculture, plastic pollution also poses a grave threat in our food security. Disaster risks and hazards arising from plastic pollution may put farms at risk of flooding resulting in wastage of agricultural products along with its threats to a balanced ecology. Micro plastics leaked in our bodies of water may also put public health at risk as it gets into our food chain,” Villar warned.
Saying she cannot blame consumers for buying products in plastic sachets, Villar said pressure must be put on corporations to “come up with a program to recycle these wastes and minimize impact on the environment.”
SB No. 333 proposed to prohibit the issuance of the single-use plastics by food establishments, stores, markets, and retailers.
Consumers shall also be diverted to use reusable materials, while manufacturers shall be mandated to collect, recycle and dispose of single-use plastics manufactured and/or in circulation in the general market.
The bill also disallows the importation of single-use plastics.
In her bill, Villar also sought the creation of a “Special Fund for Single-use Plastic Regulation” which would be composed of collected tariffs, levies and fees.
Among others, the fund shall be used for the establishment of recycling centers; assistance and incentives for manufacturers; community-based initiatives for the reduction of single-use plastics; as well as for non-government and civil society organizations promoting proper solid waste management.