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Bago regulates plastic, styro use

The ban on the use of plastic cellophane and sando bags as packaging materials and of styrofoam as food and beverages containers will be strictly enforced, starting June 24, in Bago City, Negros Occidental.

Business establishments, restaurants, fastfood outlets, food kiosks, catering services and the like shall not utilize, sell, or provide styrofoams or expanded polystyrene foam as containers for food and beverages, Bago City Ordinance No. 20-12, that aims to regulate the use of plastic cellophane, sando bags, and polystyrene or styrofoam in the city, states.

The use of plastic straws, stirrers, utensils, including those claimed to be biodegradable plastics, will also be regulated. Balloons, plastic banderitas, lighted lanterns and the like are discouraged during fiesta celebration and family gatherings, the ordinance added.

Business establishments, sari-sari stores, ambulant and market vendors, food kiosks or those engaged in the use and/or selling of plastic bags and styrofoam are given six months from June 24 to dispose of their remaining inventory and for consumers to adjust, it said.

The city said that despite its serious efforts to segregate biodegradable, recyclable, and reusable waste materials, plastics, polystyrene, and similar materials remain in the waste stream and eventually comprise the common residual garbage fraction.

MINIMIZE, THEN PROHIBIT

It is in the best interest of the health, safety, and welfare of Bago residents that efforts be centered on minimizing the use of plastic cellophane and sando bags and the eventual prohibition of the use, sale, and provision of polystyrene as packaging materials.

Violators will be fined P500 for the first offense, P1,000 – second offense, and P3,000 and cancellation of license to operate, in the case of business establishments, for the third offense.

Stores and other retail establishments are mandated to use any alternative and legally compliant packaging material for customers, like reusable woven bags or bayong, cloth bags, rattan baskets, shopping bags made from recycled waste paper, and others made out of biodegradable materials like banana leaves, taro leaves, water lily, corn stalk, etc.

To promote the use of reusable bags, stores are encouraged to implement the “Bring Your Own Bag” program and to formulate incentives to consumers, like special counters or express lanes for those who bring their own bags or use reusable ones, the ordinance said.

A technical working group, to be composed of the city mayor as chairman, vice mayor – co-chairman, the SP Committee chairman on Environment – vice chairman, and the City Environment Management Office, Public Information Office, City Treasurer’s, and the SP committees on Market and Slaughterhouse and Trade and Commerce as members, will be formed to identify the activities and programs to be conducted during the moratorium period, identify environmental advocacies, programs and projects to be funded by the city government, and recommend measures for the implementation of the ordinance.*CGC

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