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Regulating single-use plastics not oppressive, Councilor says

Even if the country is in a sachet economy, driven by convenience and affordability, the proposed ban on single-use plastic (SUP) products is not oppressive, a councilor claimed.

“An ordinance, in order to be valid, must pass the test of constitutionality. Meaning to say, it must not be oppressive, and it must not be contrary to law and—in cases of ordinances—we can’t really prohibit (but) we can regulate trade,” said Councilor Diosdado Mahipus Jr., the author of the ordinance.

Mahipus, a lawyer, said “not all of single-use plastics ang i-regulate nato (that we will regulate), only those that we have enumerated, that we consider as unnecessary and has an alternative.”

According to the proposed ordinance, only plastic drinking cups, plastic cup lids or covers, plastic stirrers, plastic cutlery (spoon, knife, or fork), plastic straws, plastic meal packaging, plastic condiments containers, plastic hand gloves, plastic materials used as buntings, and plastic materials used as balloon sticks will be regulated.

Plastic sachet is not included in the proposed ordinance.

According to Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, a cooperative of environmental groups all over the world, sachets are the top contributor of trash in the country with an average of 591 pieces of plastic sachets per Filipino yearly.

Accountability

Mahipus said he has coordinated with companies, especially those that produce plastics, and he was glad that they were on the same foot.

The companies want to make sure that this will have minimal impact on their business but they understand that this ordinance is for the good of everyone.

He added that both people and companies are responsible in saving the environment. People are encouraged not to use SUPs while companies are encouraged not to use SUPs on their items.

In case when there is no commercially available alternative for producers and companies, they will be asked to pay for a “regulatory fee” that will be used in support of environmental protection programs so that their business will not be disrupted.

“If there is no commercially available items to replace the regulated items, then they can use the regulated items as long as they comply with the requirements. Seeing to it that the items would be disposed of properly. Because we do not want these items to just be left all around us,” he said.

The same thing also applies to people who end up buying plastics. Mahipus said if they pay for the regulatory fee and dispose the trash properly, then it is okay.

“The same with all types of garbage and all things that we use, it must be disposed properly,” he said.

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