Legarda Bats for Regulation of Single-Use Plastic

November 22, 2018

In observance of National Environmental Awareness Month, Senator Loren Legarda renewed her call to ban the use of single-use plastic products as an effective and immediate way to reduce waste.

Legarda, author of Republic Act No. 9512 or the Environmental Awareness and Education Act that designated November as Environmental Awareness Month, said that single-use plastics end up as litter, clogging drainages, polluting waterways and even endangering marine animals, human health, and ecosystem.

“Plastic bags are ubiquitous components of the world’s consumer culture. Single-use plastics symbolize the throwaway culture, which the Philippines and many other countries have developed,” said Legarda.

“Single-use plastics, such as cigarette butts, drinking bottles and caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, lids, straws, stirrers, and take-away containers, are immediately discarded and end up in landfills. They are harmful for the environment and human health because they pollute our water; cause blockages in sewerage and drainage systems, which lead to flooding; and release toxic emissions when burned,” she explained.

Legarda has filed Senate Bill 1948 or the “Single-Use Plastics Regulation and Management Act of 2018,” which seeks to regulate the manufacturing, importation, and use of single-use plastic products; and provide penalties, levies, and incentives for industries, businesses, and consumers.

The measure aims to phase out single-use plastics in the country by prohibiting importation and use in food establishments, stores, markets, and retailers. Consumers shall be encouraged to use reusable materials, while all single-use plastics already in circulation shall be collected, recycled, and properly disposed in accordance with the provisions of the Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

A minimum levy of five pesos shall be charged to consumers for each single-use plastic used in transactions, 20% percent of which shall be kept by the enterprise, while the 80% shall be remitted to the proposed Special Plastic Fund.

The bill also urges government agencies to undertake research and development on alternatives to single-use plastics; assess impact on affected industry workers and employees; and develop capacity building programs for alternative livelihood opportunities.

Moreover, businesses and individuals engaged in the manufacture of single-use plastics alternatives shall be given incentives provided under existing laws and from local government units, while violators shall be imposed penalties ranging from P5,000.00 to P500,000 and permanent suspension of business permit.

“This bill provides for an ambitious yet comprehensive approach to solving our problem on single-use plastics. I hope for the support from the government and all sectors on this urgent policy promoting a circular economy,” Legarda concluded.