THE LAW OF NATURE FOUNDATION∗
6-J Westgate Tower, Investment Drive, Madrigal Business Park Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Philippines 1780 http://thelawofnature.ph (+632) 403-7740
 

4 October 2011 Hon. Alfredo S. Lim Mayor City of Manila Republic of the Philippines RE: WASTE MANAGEMENT IN THE CITY OF MANILA Dear Hon. Lim: On behalf of international environmental advocates and concerned citizens of the Philippines, I am writing because of a picture taken by Mr. Carlos Celdran after the tropical storm Pedring (see right). The caption on the tour guideʼs Facebook page says that a “tide blew open a gate on Roxas Boulevard - rammed open by a [S]tyrofoam & plastic filled wave.” In this light, we are proposing an ordinance entitled, “AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE USE OF PLASTIC BAGS ON DRY GOODS, REGULATING ITS USE ON WET GOODS AND PROHIBITING THE USE OF POLYSTYRENE IN THE CITY OF MANILA AND PRESCRIBING THE PENALTIES THEREOF.”

Used with permission from Mr. Celdran

 

This picture strongly suggests that we have not learned from the destruction brought about by Milenyo (2006) and Ondoy (2009). Flooding in Manila is not just because of climate change, but also because of the lack of waste management. A 2005 study by the Asian Development Bank shows that Metro Manila collects 7,500 tons of garbage daily from its more than 12 million residents. Only about 70 percent of this 7,500 tons is taken to landfills; the rest are solid waste “that clogs the network of drainage canals, poses a considerable risk to health, and greatly increases the likelihood of flood.” The study also states that less than 10 percent of the metroʼs garbage is recycled while much of the waste is either dumped illegally on private land, in rivers, or straight into Manila Bay.1

                                                                                                                       
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The Law of Nature is the international name of The Batas Kalikasan Foundation, a duly registered non-profit organization to advance Environmental Law education, compliance and enforcement. (SEC Reg. No. A200209645, June 14, 2002).
1 Barlaan, Allan and Cardiente, Karl Allan, “So we would all be informed: Dissecting flood problem in Metro Manila,” Manila Standard Today. 8 August 2011. URL Available: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideOpinion.htm?f=2011/august/8/feature1.isx&d=2011/august/8

 

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Moreover, a study done the following year by EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace shows that synthetic plastic materials constitute 76 percent of the floating trash items in Manila Bay, with plastic bags comprising 51 percent; sachets and junk food wrappers, 19 percent; Styrofoam containers, five percent; and hard plastics, one percent. Another study published in 2009 by the US-based Ocean Conservancy reveals that 679,957 of over 1.2 million pieces of marine litter of various types that were gathered in seaside areas during the 2008 International Coastal Clean Up Day in the country were plastic bags.2 Manilaʼs poor waste management has been given critical attention by international media. An article written published in Time magazine says, “As Ketsana (Ondoy) rained down upon Manila, sewers that were clogged up by plastic bags and other refuse led to roads becoming rivers and gardens lagoons.” 3 Another feature on The Guardian shows a photo of “a trash-covered creek in Manila, Philippines, where slums often adjoin rubbish dumps.”4 (see right) I believe we can agree that this is not how we Filipinos would want our Manila to be known and recognized for.

Photo by Francis R. Malasig/EPA

If and when the city of Manila takes heed of this grave environmental concern and adapts an ordinance banning plastic and polystyrene, it would send an incredibly powerful message to the entire nation and the rest of the world—that Manila, our beloved Manila, will no longer be a city that manages disasters and instead be one that prevents it. Other local government units show that with strong political will and a massive information campaign, a ban on plastic bags and polystyrene packaging can be done. The city of Los Baños was the trailblazer in 2008 when Municipal Ordinance 2008-752 entitled “An Ordinance Prohibiting the Use of Plastic Bags on Dry Goods and Regulating Its Utilization on Wet Goods and Prohibiting the Use of Styrofoam in the Municipality of Los Baños and Prescribing Penalties Thereof” was passed. Muntinlupa, under the visionary leadership of Mayor Aldrin San Pedro, also passed City Ordinance 2010-109 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.” However, Sir, this proposed ban should just be part of the grander scheme of things we call ecological solid waste management. The City of Manila does not appear to be in compliance with the intent and objectives of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act 9003). It mandates, among others, that there must be mandatory segregation of wastes at source5 and that waste that is not properly separated must not be collected.6 While there has                                                                                                                        
2 De Vera, Ellalyn B., “Stop dumping plastics in canals- EcoWaste,” Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation. 30 May 2010. URL Available: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/259744/stop-disposal-plastic-bags-along-waterways-environmentalists-urge 3 Tharoor, Ishaan, “The Manila Floods: Why Wasnʼt the City Prepared?”, Time Magazine. 29 September 2011. URL Available: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1926646,00.html#ixzz1ZFTLVh5F

“Worldʼs poor overwhelmed by rubbish,” The Guardian. 5 June 2009. URL Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/jun/05/waste-world-environment-day?picture=348339010
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RA 9003, Art. II, Sec. 2

 

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been some effort to implement the provisions of the law, these still fall short of what is mandated. And this proposed ban, if passed, should only be a step towards that. The city of Manila, as the countryʼs capital, should take the lead in environmental compliance. We also would like to remind you that “Linisin at Ikarangal ang Maynila” is the name of your campaign to restore the rule of law in the City of Manila, and that “Environmental Protection and Conservation” is included in your 11-Point Agenda.7 We hope that this letter will merit your kind consideration. After all, Sir, the most basic element of community building and of nation building is discipline, and the most basic form of discipline is cleanliness of self and of surrounding. Thank you in anticipation of your kind and expeditious action on the matter.8 We earnestly look forward to your reply as we trust that this letter finds you in good health and spirits.

Yours truly,

Anna R. Oposa Officer-in-Charge Environmental Policy and Law Compliance annaoposa@thelawofnature.ph Copy furnished:

Hon. Nereus Acosta Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection Office of the President Hon. Ramon Paje Secretary Department of Environment and Natural Resources Ms. Li-Ann de Leon Executive Director League of Municipalities of the Philippines Hon. Fernando Tolentino Chair Metro Manila Development Authority Hon. Emy Aguinaldo Executive Director National Solid Waste Management Commission

Hon. Mary Ann Lucille Sering Vice-Chair Climate Change Commission Mr. Bert Guevara President Earth Day Network Philippines Mr. Roy Alvarez President EcoWaste Coalition

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
RA 9003, Chapt. VI, Sec. 48 “The 11-Point Agenda.” The City of Manila. URL Available: http://www.manila.gov.ph/11pointagenda.htm 8 Under the recently-enacted Republic Act 9485, also known as the Anti-Red Tape Law, public officials are given 10 days within which to reply and report on the actions taken. Please see also Republic Act 6713, Republic Act 3019, and other pertinent laws on Public Accountability.
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REPUBLIKA NG PILIPINAS PAMAHALAANG LUNGSOD NG MAYNILA ORDINANCE NO. 11-__ AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE USE OF PLASTIC BAGS ON DRY GOODS, REGULATING ITS USE ON WET GOODS AND PROHIBITING THE USE OF POLYSTYRENE IN THE CITY OF MANILA AND PRESCRIBING THE PENALTIES THEREOF. Sponsored by: Co-Sponsored by: WHEREAS, Article II, Section 6 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution mandates that “[t]he state shall protect and advance the right of people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature”; WHEREAS, Section 3 (i) of R.A. 7160 mandates that, “the Local Government Units shall share with the national government the responsibility in the management and maintenance of ecological balance within their territorial jurisdiction”; WHEREAS, Section 458 (vi) of R.A. 7160, also empowers, “the Sangguniang Panlungsod to protect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment, including such activities which result in pollution, acceleration or eutrophication of rivers and lakes or ecological imbalance”; WHEREAS, Sec. 30 of R.A. 9003 provides that, “[n]o person owning, operating or conducting a commercial establishment in the country shall sell or convey at retail or possess with the intent to sell or convey at retail any products that are placed, wrapped or packaged in on packaging which is not environmentally acceptable packaging”; WHEREAS, majority of plastic bags and polystyrene packaging, being nonbiodegradable materials, ends up in Manila Bay, causing harm to the bay, the species living in the bay and the surrounding communities; WHEREAS, the City of Manila, in its desire to reduce if not totally eliminate the use of plastic film bags as packaging materials, encourages the use of materials such as woven bags (bayong), cloth bags (katsa) and other similar materials (e.g., banana leaves, taro leaves, etc.) instead of paper bags because

one ton of paper bag is equivalent to seventeen (17) trees. The City of Manila will also promote the Bring Your Own Bag/Bayong program (BYOB). WHEREAS, there is an urgent need to regulate the use of plastic bags and polystyrene packaging to prevent clogging the Cityʼs canals and polluting its creeks, rivers, lakes and other waterways; NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, AS IT IS HEREBY ORDAINED, by the __ Sangguniang Panglungsod of Maynila in session assembled that: SECTION 1. Title. This ordinance shall be known as “AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE USE OF PLASTIC BAGS ON DRY GOODS, REGULATING ITS USE ON WET GOODS AND PROHIBITING THE USE OF POLYSTYRENE IN THE CITY OF MANILA AND PRESCRIBING THE PENALTIES THEREOF.” SECTION 2. Definition of Terms. For the purpose of this ordinance, the following terms are defined as follows: a) Cloth bag – also known as katsa. This refers to reusable packaging material made of cloth used in the packaging of flour, wheat and other similar goods. b) Dry goods – refers to any product that does not require refrigeration or freezing to maintain freshness. c) Dry market – generally refers to a store with products that do not require refrigeration or freezing to maintain freshness. d) Plastic bags – also known as sando bags, pouch, plastic shopping bags, and plastic film bags. It is a type of packaging material made of thin, plastic film (polyethylene) used for storing and transporting food and other products, whether commercial or industrial. e) Polystyrene – also known as Styrofoam™ or Styropor®. This refers to a synthetic resin that is a polymer of styrene often used as food containers, disposable cups, plates, etc. f) Plastic waste – refers to any plastic packaging material thrown as waste. g) Primary packaging materials – refers to types of packaging for storing and transporting wet produce, snacks, frozen goods, hardware, etc. h) Secondary packaging materials – refers to types of packaging for wet goods to provide support to any primary packaging. i) Wet goods – refers to any product that requires refrigeration or freezing to maintain freshness (e.g., fish, meat, poultry products, fruits, vegetables, beverages and cooked food in cafeterias and karinderias). j) Wet market – generally refers to a store with products that require refrigeration or freezing to maintain freshness. These include the wet section in public markets, supermarkets, mini marts, restaurants, cafeterias and karinderias.

k) Woven bags – also known as bayong. This refers to biodegradable packaging materials made of buri, bamboo strips, rattan strips, water lily and other similar materials. SECTION 3. Prohibition on the use of plastic bags for dry goods. No business establishment shall use plastic bags as packaging materials for dry goods. SECTION 4. Regulating the use of plastic bags for wet goods. No business establishments dealing with wet goods shall use plastic bags as secondary packaging material. SECTION 5. Prohibition on the use of polystyrene. No business establishment shall use polystyrene and other similar materials as containers for good, produce and other products. SECTION 6. Prohibition on the selling of plastic bags. No business establishments shall offer or sell plastic bags to be used as secondary packaging material or as primary packaging material for dry goods. SECTION 7. Prohibition on the collection of soiled plastic wastes. Plastic bags discarded and/or other similar plastic wastes must be cleaned and dried prior to collection of barangays for proper disposal. SECTION 8. Assistance and Regular Reporting. The Refuse and Environment Sanitation Center (RESC) of the City of Manila shall monitor the effective implementation of this Ordinance. The RESC shall prepare a quarterly report on the progress of the implementation of this ordinance. SECTION 9. Information, Education and Communication Campaign. Upon the approval of this ordinance, the City shall conduct a massive information, education and communication campaign using quad media (i.e., print, radio, television and the Internet) and shall promote biodegradable and reusable packaging. SECTION 10. Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). Within thirty (30) days from the approval of this Ordinance, the City Mayor shall issue the necessary rules and regulations for its proper and effective implementation. SECTION 11. Moratorium. All business establishments and/or individuals are hereby given one (1) year to comply with this ordinance from the date of its passage. SECTION 12. Before the implementation of this ordinance, the RESC is mandated to conduct a study on the feasibility of providing alternative packaging

for the disposition and marketing of products, so as not to affect the flow of trade and commerce in the City. SECTION 13. The RESC is hereby mandated to provide a program wherein livelihood projects shall be implemented for the manufacture and distribution of eco-friendly packaging made from pandan leaves, banana leaves, buri leaves, bamboos, water lilies and other similar materials in replacement of polystyrene containers and plastic bags. This livelihood project must be coordinated with concerned offices to help the residents of Manila earn additional income. SECTION 14. Prohibited acts. Business establishments and/or individuals are prohibited from: a) b) c) Selling and providing plastic bags to consumers as primary packaging materials for dry goods; Selling and providing plastic bags to consumers as secondary packaging materials for wet goods; Selling and providing polystyrene packaging as containers.

SECTION 15. Penalities. The following penalties shall be imposed upon any business establishment who shall violate any of the prohibited acts stated above:

First offense

A fine of five thousand pesos (PhP5000.00) and a signage outside the establishment stating the offense A fine of ten thousand pesos (PhP10,000.00) and a signage outside the establishment stating the offense A fine of twenty-five thousand pesos (PhP 25,000.00) and the cancellation of their license to operate for a period of one (1) year

Second Offense

Third offense

. SECTION 16. Separability clause. If any part of this Ordinance is declared as unconstitutional or unlawful, such declaration shall no affect the other parts of sections hereof that are not declared unlawful or constitutional. Section 17. Repealing Clause. All previous ordinances, orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any provisions of this ordinance are hereby deemed repealed or modified accordingly.

SECTION 18. Effectivity. This Ordinance shall be implemented one year after the date of approval and its publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

APPROVED, this _____ day of _____ 2011 at the City of Manila.

CONCURRED: DISTRICT I:

COUN. ERNESTO M. DIONISIO JR. Member

COUN. ERICK IAN O. NIEVA Member

COUN. MOISES T. LIM Member

COUN. DENNIS B. ALCORIZA Member

COUN. NIÑO M. DELA CRUZ Member

COUN. IRMA C. ALFONSO-JUSON Member

DISTRICT II:

COUN. MARLON M. LACSON Member

COUN. EDWARD M. TAN Member

COUN. RUBEN F. BUENAVENTURA Member

COUN. NUMERO G. LIM Member

COUN. RAMON M. ROBLES Member

COUN. RODOLFO N. LACSAMANA Member

DISTRICT III:

COUN. MA. ASUNCION G. FUGOSO Member

COUN. JOHN MARVIN C. NIETO Member

COUN. ERNESTO C. ISIP JR. Member

COUN. BERNARDITO C. ANG Member

COUN. JOEL R. CHUA Member

COUN. RAMON D. MORALES Member

DISTRICT IV:

COUN. DON JUAN A. BAGATSING Member

COUN. MA. SHEILAH H. LACUNA-PANGAN Member

COUN. EDWARD V.P. MACEDA Member

COUN. JOCELYN J. QUINTOS Member

COUN. LUISITO N. CHUA Member

COUN. EDUARDO V. QUINTOS XVI Member

DISTRICT V:

COUN. JOSEFINA M. SISCAR Member

COUN. RAYMUNDO R. YUPANGCO Member

COUN. CRISTINA A. ISIP Member

COUN. RICHARD C. IBAY Member

COUN. ROBERTO R. ORTEGA JR. Member

COUN. RAFAEL P. BORROMEO Member

DISTRICT VI:

COUN. LUCIANO M. VELOSO Member

COUN. DANILO VICTOR H. LACUNA JR. Member

COUN. ELIZABETH Z. RIVERA Member

COUN. CASIMIRO C. SISON Member

COUN. LUIS C. UY Member

COUN. JOCELYN B. DAWIS-ASUNCION Member

ATTESTED:

Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso City Vice-Mayor

APPROVED:

Alfredo S. Lim City Mayor Date: ______

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