Solon seeks gradual phase-out of single-use plastics

Published November 19, 2019, 7:47 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Cebu Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa has filed a bill seeking to prohibit the production, importation, sale, provision, and use of single-use plastics.

Abellanosa filed House Bill No. 5489, the proposed Ban on Single Use Plastics Act provides the gradual phase out of single-use plastics within a period of three years from the effectivity of the proposed Act. Thereafter, production, importation, sale, provision, and use of single-use plastics shall be prohibited and shall be penalized.

He expressed concern that despite the passage of Republic Act No. 9003, the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000,” the Philippines ranked third among the countries that contributed to more than half of the world’s land-based plastic-waste leakage, trailing behind China and Indonesia.

Citing the National Solid Waste Management Status Report of Calendar Years 2008 to 2018 issued by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), he said 10.55 percent of the total weight of solid wastes in the country come from plastic waste.

“These statistics pose quite a cause for concern and are compounded by a fact that we are all aware that plastic materials take up to thousands of years to finally decompose,” Abellanosa said.

He said his bill seeks to “address the growing problem of plastic waste proliferation, pursuant to the policy of the State to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology.”

First-time violators shall pay a fine amounting to P100,000. For the second offense, a fine ranging from P100,000 to P250,000 shall be slapped.

While, a fine amounting from P250,000 to P500,000 shall be imposed against the third-time offenders.

For the fourth offense, the violators have to pay a fine ranging from P500,000 to P750,000 and face automatic revocation of business permits.

HB 5489 provides that during the three-year interim period wherein the gradual phase-out of single-use plastics shall take effect, covered establishments shall charge the customers the following amount: P20 for those who want to buy and use single-use plastic bags; P10 for the purchase and use of single-use plastic food and non-food packaging materials or containers, soda and water bottles; P5 for the purchase and use of single-use plastic utensils such as straws, coffee stirrers, spoon and fork.

The bill mandates the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to serve as the lead implementing arm of the proposed Act.

Abellanosa said in an effort to ensure the strict enforcement of the proposed Act, the local government units (LGUs) shall be responsible for its implementation within their respective territorial jurisdiction.

He said the fines that will be collected shall be allocated as follows: 80 percent to the barangay where the establishment is located in order to augment its waste management capability, and 20 percent to the national government.

Under the bill, the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created under RA 9003 shall monitor the implementation of the proposed Act.

The DENR shall promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act, the bill said.

“There is no better time for all of us to look after our environment than right now. Let us take that first step and ban single-use plastics,” Abellanosa said.

The House Committee on Natural Resources, chaired by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. expressed readiness to tackle measures seeking to impose a ban on single-use plastic products.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panel earlier said President Duterte is likely to certify as urgent such pro-environment measure.