Legarda lauds DENR Ban on Single Use Plastics

February 27, 2020

Nineteen years after the passage of RA 9003, the National Solid Waste Management Commission issued a resolution directing DENR to prepare and implement specific guidelines that would ban single use plastics in all offices of government.

The Philippines holds the dubious distinction of being the third biggest contributor of plastic pollution in the ocean, a conclusion of a study of 192 countries and unless the quality of waste management and implementation of RA 9003 increases in a meaningful way, we would be responsible for much more in the coming years.

The ban to be issued would cover cups less than .2 millimetre thick, drinking straws, stirrers, plastic utensils, thin and translucent plastic bags and thin-filmed sand bags under 15 microns.

Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda announced the signing of the Resolution to a meeting of the Representatives of Calabarzon as they were discussing responses and government support for those affected by the Taal Volcano eruption in January.

Legarda lauded Secretary Cimatu who chaired the Commission for the passage of the Resolution. Asked if such a measure would work, she said, “This would be an important first step to a sea change in the supply chain and the economic arrangements that have made single use plastic freely available. When government desists from the purchase of something underesirable, changes immediately happen in the market’”

“Audits should henceforth also be not just financial but on sustainability of practices and spending because if waste is not reduced, it would be government that will bear the rising cost and burden of disposal”, Legarda added.

RA 9003 also requires that the Commission prepare a list of non-environmentally acceptable products to be prohibited and schedule their prohibition. While there are exemptions and requirements for the listing, it was due one year after the effectivity of the Act which was in 2001. It has therefore been 18 years and not one product has been listed. The Commission should list the items in their Resolution and substantially add more to reduce the pollution to a significant degree.

“Sooner rather than later, we will have to innovate towards a truly circular economy where materials are never wasted.” Legarda filed House Bill 635 immediately upon assumption as Representative of the lone district of Antique that would regulate single use plastics from production to use.