A deputy minority leader in the House of Representatives has launched a serious push toward a legislated, nationwide ban on single-use plastics.
Bagong Henerasyon (BH) Rep. Bernadette Herrera filed in the 19th Congress House Bill (HB) No.1038, which calls for an all-encompassing nationwide policy against the use of various single-use plastic products that harm the environment.
“By implementing a national policy against the use of single-use plastics, the state shall ensure the protection of the environment, prioritize the safety of its citizens, and promote sustainable development across all sectors,” underscored Herrera.
According to the 2015 report on plastic pollution by the Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, the Philippines was the third highest source of ocean plastic pollution with an estimated 2.7 million metric tons of plastic waste produced.
The lady lawmaker noted several initiatives for waste management in schools, workplaces, and even in the hospitality and tourism industry.
She added that local government units (LGUs) have also taken action and have pushed for ordinances on waste management and the ban of single-use plastic products such as plastic bags and straws.
Although there are many policies that ban plastics in different cities in the Philippines and initiatives from industries to limit the use of plastics, Herrera reckoned that “these are not enough”.
She said that the lack of uniformity in policies also creates a lot of confusion for citizens, who may find themselves penalized for a lack of awareness about what is allowed in one city and what is not allowed in another.
“It is of utmost importance to align policies across the country and to work together with industries in eliminating plastic pollution,” she stressed.
“Single-use plastics in the country serve to be detrimental and have far-reaching consequences. It is the state’s responsibility to propose and to implement possible solutions to solve this problem,” Herrera further said.