Following government’s decision to lift the mandatory wearing of face shields, Rizal 2nd District Rep. Fidel Nograles urged local government units to initiate their respective campaigns to ensure the proper disposal of the COVID-19 protection.
“We have a mounting waste problem that needs intervention both the local and national level. Kailangang maging organisado ang disposal ng mga face shield upang hindi na dumagdag pa sa problema (There is a need to ensure organized disposal gn face shields to ensure that these do not added to our problems). ” Nograles said.
The government scrapped the face shield policy on Nov. 15 in areas under Alert Levels 1, 2, and 3. Local governments under Alert Level 4 have the discretion to continue or stop the use of face shields.
Meanwhile, the policy remains in place in hospitals, areas on granular lockdown, and those under the highest Alert Level 5.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources estimates that about 65 million face shields are being used daily in 21.8 million households nationwide.
Nograles urged the agency to take a more aggressive approach to the disposal of face shields.
“We have to provide avenues that the public can access—the onus of disposal, reusing, and recycling should not be placed solely on households,” the lawmaker said.
Nograles suggested to LGUs to explore partnerships with firms that specialize in plastic recycling.
“We have local social enterprises like The Plastic Flamingo (Plaf), for example, which transform plastic waste into sustainable construction materials. This is a good point of convergence for the public and private sector,” said the Harvard-trained lawyer.
The Plaf, a recycling service founded in 2019, aims to collect 500 metric tons of plastic waste by the end of 2021, and 2,000 tons by 2023, through its network of partnerships within and beyond Metro Manila.
At the barangay level, Nograles added, LGUs could also organize not only collection drives, but lectures on plastics recycling and reuse.