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Bawas kalat: Gloria Arroyo seeks ban of plastic bags in all stores nationwide

Nov 22, 2016 @ 16:30
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Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wants to ban the use of plastic bags in all stores nationwide.

This will possible once the lady politiko’s House Bill 3579 is successfully passed into law.

The Pampanga solon is pushing for the promotion and use of reusable plastic bags as a way of reducing water and air pollution and protecting marine life from the ill-effects of plastic products.

‘”(O)ftentimes immediately discarded, single-use plastic bags are found in landfills and have become a significant cause of water pollution. In addition, plastic bags that are burned adversely impact the environment and human health, given the level of toxic chemical content,” Arroyo said.

The Earth Policy Institute based in Washington, D.C. estimates that one trillion single-use plastic bags are used every year at a rate of 2 million per minute.

Many of these bags end up killing marine animals such as sea turtles, whales and other species.

“Fish with plastic wrapper around their body, sea turtles with plastic in their noses, and even birds with their stomachs full of plastic bottle caps broke hearts and opened minds to the harmful effects of our consumer-driven society,” she stated.

Due to its negative impact, Arroyo is proposing the prohibition of the use of plastic bags in point-of-sale stores.

Instead, stores are mandated to use recyclable paper carry-out bags to enable consumers to carry their items or purchased products. Consumers may also use reusable bags.

Also covered in the prohibition are all retail and food establishments, point-of-sale areas as well as canteens and cafeterias.

If a consumer wants to use plastic bag, he will have to pay P5 for each bag. Half will be kept by the establishment to cover for the cost of the bag while the other half will be remitted to the local government where the store is located.

The amount will be deposited in the Special Environment Fund which will be used to educate the public on plastic bag use as well as provide incentives for manufactures and community-based initiatives for the product of native reusable bags, and for non-government and civil society organizations promoting proper solid waste management.

Exempted from the prohibition are primary plastic packaging such as those used to pre-pack food items and primary packaging used in the manufacturing of finished products for sale in the general market.

In order to promote the use of reusable bags, the government through the Department of Trade and Industry will provide technical and financial assistance to manufacturers of such bags.

Arroyo said individuals, cooperatives, partnerships, and corporations that engage in the manufacture of reusable bags shall be given incentives provided for under the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008, The Barangay Micro-Business Enterprise Act of 2002, The Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, or the Omnibus Investment Code of 1987, where applicable.

On the other hand, those employees and workers of the plastic industry will be given alternative livelihood opportunities in coordination with Technology Education and Skills Department Authority (TESDA), plastic manufacturers, non-government and civil society organizations and institutions.

All plastic and biodegradable and plastic bags, reusable bags, and recyclable paper carry-out bags shall be appropriately labelled to be biodegradable, non-biodegradable, or recyclable as the case may be.

Those establishments not complying with the law will be meted with a fine ranging from 5,000 on the first offense to P500,000 and suspension of their permit for five years for the fourth offense.

Local government units found not complying with the law will also be liable for administrative sanctions.

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