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6, 2013

NR # 3187B

Regulated use of plastic products sought
A lawmaker is pushing for the passage of a bill regulating the production, importation, sale, provision, use, recovery, collection, recycling and disposal of plastic bags in the country. Under House Bill 106, authored by Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla (2 nd District, Cavite), commercial establishments found to have violated the proposed act face a fine not exceeding P100,000 for the first offense; P250,000 for the second offense; P500,000 for the third offense and P750,000 for the fourth offense plus automatic revocation of its business permit. Mercado-Revilla said the widespread use of plastic bags, plates, utensils and cups and Styrofoam containers has made everyday lives easier and more convenient. “However, these ostensibly harmless products have gradually become an ecological nightmare for these non-biodegradable objects are difficult to dispose. Further, these materials usually turn up in our esteros, riverbanks, sea coasts, and other bodies of water, blocking our sewage systems and clogging the drainage pipes which eventually cause the massive flooding we experience every time there is a heavy downpour,” Mercado-Revilla said. Mercado-Revilla said that for the past decade or so, the international community has been trying to cut down on the use of plastic products and styrofoam containers and stressed that it is about time that each contribute one’s share by minimizing, if not totally banning the use of plastic products in order to preserve the ecological balance and help prevent the destruction of the ecosystem. The bill to be known as the “Plastic Bag Regulation Act of 2013,” requires commercial establishments to provide biodegradable plastic bags to their consumers provided that they shall promote and make available for sale locally made bayong, buli and other reusable bags that are made of abaca, water lily and other organic or compostable materials. It compels operators of commercial establishments to provide biodegradable plastic bags to consumers and to establish an in-store recovery program that will give customers an opportunity to return used plastic bags to the commercial establishments where the plastic bags originated. Furthermore, the measure requires that a logo showing it is a biodegradable plastic or the words saying “Please return to any store for recycling” be printed or displayed on the plastic bag. The bill mandates commercial establishments to make local reusable bags available to consumers, which shall be purchased in lieu of surrendering an old plastic bag or purchasing a new plastic bag. Within three years from effectivity of the proposed act, non-biodegradable plastic bags shall be gradually phased out. Thereafter, production, importation, sale, distribution, provision or use of said bags shall be prohibited. The Local Government Units (LGUs) are given the primary responsibility to decrease the percentage of plastic bag wastes produced within their respective territorial jurisdictions. They shall be tasked to collect, transport, recycle and dispose of all plastic bags recovered by the stores. (30) lvc