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Environmentalists back ban on plastic bags

Philippine Church groups have been in the thick of campaign

Environmentalists back ban on plastic bags
The sign reads: “Plastic is prohibited in Muntinlupa City, bring your own bag” (Photo courtesy of EcoWaste Coalition) staff, Manila

January 17, 2011

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Environmental activists today urged the public to support the first ever ban on plastic grocery bags and other plastic throwaway products imposed by the city of Muntinlupa,  south of Manila. The ban takes effect tomorrow despite a plea by plastic manufacturers to defer it, according to the environmentalist group EcoWaste Coalition. Church and ecological groups have been in the thick of campaign against the use of plastic bags. They have launched a campaign throughout Metro Manila for the use of "bayong" (native biodegradable bag) to replace the plastic grocery bag and called for “no plastic bag days” to wean the public away from them. “The Muntinlupa plastic ban offers a beacon of hope for our beleaguered environment,” said EcoWaste president Roy Alvarez, a veteran actor. The city’s Environmental Sanitation Center has put up posters, billboards and banners to inform the general public to comply with the ban. It has also complemented the ban with a “Bring Your Own Bag” campaign and supported the production of reusable bags made of cloth and indigenous materials as substitutes to plastic bags, which usually clog the metropolis’ waterways and cause flashfloods. City Ordinance 10-109 entitled “An Ordinance Prohibiting the Use of Plastic Bags on Dry Goods, Regulating its Utilization on Wet Goods and Prohibiting the Use of Styrofoam/Styrophor in the City of Muntinlupa” will take effect on Jan. 18 after a year-long moratorium to give stakeholders time to adjust and conform. Sonia Mendoza of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force on Plastics said “the first citywide plastic ban in Metro Manila has the potential of triggering a domino effect” among local government units who are similarly struggling to find sustainable solutions to persistent garbage and flooding woes. Under the said ordinance, business establishments are prohibited from using, offering or selling plastic bags, pouches and shopping bags even for fish, meat and poultry. Business establishments found violating the law face the risk of having their licenses cancelled for up to one year.   Related reports Bishop warns against waste at Christmas Say no to plastic bags, diocese says Religions discuss ways to fight plastic-bag hazard   PM12880.1637
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