By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Tuesday asked the Congress to consider taxing plastic bags per piece to address plastic pollution in the country.
DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGU) Concerns Benny Antiporda sought the Congress’ reconsideration following the approval of the House Committee on Ways and Means to impose a P20 excise tax per kilo of single-use plastic bags starting 2020.
“We’d like to ask for the understanding of the House of Representatives that if indeed they really want to tax the use of sando bags, the tax should be not by kilo but by piece,” said Antiporda, who also chairs the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC).
He pointed out that the DENR is working to primarily address the use and proper disposal of plastic “labo” which is easily broken and could not be re-used.
“But the thick sando bag is not for single-use, it is reusable. Let us consider this. It should be studied well before crafting legislation,” he said.
“We got nothing against taxation of sando bags but taxing by the kilo, that’s very dangerous. It will promote literally the single-use of an even thinner plastic bags,” he added.
Solid waste remains a huge problem in the country owing to non-segregation, rampant use of single-use plastic products and improper waste disposal.
DENR data earlier showed that in the first quarter of 2019, Metro Manila has already produced 34,574.77 cubic meters of garbage. This is 59.45 percent of the total target 58,112.31 cubic meters for 2019.
By the second quarter, estimated waste generation reached 32,221.17 cubic meters, amounting to another 55.45 percent of total, which means the target waste generation baseline for 2019 has already been surpassed.
Antiporda said one of DENR’s efforts to address single-use plastic is to urge other government agencies and local government units to refrain from using single-use plastics, such as stirrer, cup, spoon and fork, and plastic “labo.”
“We will be asking them to cooperate so that the use of plastic will temporarily stop,” he said.