After smoking ban, Koronadal city hall now plastic-free

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 February) — After banning smoking within its city hall premises last month, the local government of nearby Koronadal City has prohibited starting this month the use of plastic bags and styrofoam containers among its employees and in its offices.

Koronadal City Mayor Peter Miguel said Tuesday they imposed the “no plastic, no styro” policy to promote a “plastic-free lifestyle” among its workforce and eventually reduce the non-biodegradable wastes accumulated by the local government’s offices and operations.

He said they intend to later expand the coverage of such policy to the city’s main and satellite public markets, local government-owned facilities, transport terminals, various public areas, local communities and households.

“This is a city-wide campaign but we’re implementing it first at the city hall to promote it as model among our residents,” the mayor said at the city government’s regular radio program “Kanami Koronadal.”

Miguel said they adopted such policy as part of the local government’s efforts to promote proper waste management practices among residents within the city’s 27 barangays.

He pointed out that the city may face serious problems in the coming years if the rampant use and accumulation of plastic wastes in the area will continue unabated.

The mayor cited the case of Legazpi City, which has been reportedly facing difficulty in controlling the accumulation of plastic wastes in its P100-million sanitary landfill.

Miguel and local environment personnel visited Legazpi City last year for a study on its state-of-the-art landfill, which was modeled after a technology developed in Germany.

Instead of using plastic bags and styrofoam containers, Miguel said they were encouraging their employees to utilize reusable canisters or containers, paper bags and other recyclable materials for their
personal and office-related activities.

He said they were also promoting the use of reusable baskets like “bayong” when going to the public market and even in the supermarkets.

“It’s a matter of changing our lifestyles and getting used to these materials,” Miguel said.

The mayor acknowledged that the city government is “quite far behind” in terms of the adoption of such practice as a number of local government units in the country have already been implementing the
policy for several years now.

“Even grade schoolers in some areas have been practicing it so I think it’s about time that we also adopt and seriously implement it here,” Miguel added.

Government waste management experts had noted that plastics usually “clog waterways, spoil the landscape, and end up in landfills, where they may take 1,000 years or more to break down into ever smaller particles that continue to pollute the soil and water.”

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources earlier launched a nationwide campaign against the use of plastic bags, styrofoam containers and related products as part of its continuing initiative against the accumulation of non-biodegradable wastes. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)