Davao City to ban single-use plastics

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 Feb) – The City Government of Davao will soon ban the use of the single-use plastics (SUPs) here once the measure regulating the SUPs passed in the local council, Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) executive director Chinkie P. Golle said.

She said on Wednesday that the proposed measure, which had passed three hearings in the Committee on Environment chaired by 2nd District Councilor Diosdado Mahipus, would ban specific SUPs defined as “disposable plastics,” “designed or placed on the market to be used once over a short time span before being disposed or discarded.”

The proposed ordinance specifically identified SUPs as plastic drinking cups; plastic condiment, sauce or gravy container, both recyclable and non-recyclable; plastic cup lids or covers; plastic stirrers; plastic cutlery (spoon, knife, or fork); plastic straws; plastic meal packaging; plastic hand gloves; plastic materials used as “buntings”; and plastic materials used as balloon sticks.

No exemption between recyclable and non-recyclable materials was set.

Golle said the IDIS originally proposed total ban on SUPs but she was told it would not be possible since it would affect some sectors engaged in or related to plastic business.

Golle added her group would continue to lobby for the total ban on SUPs.

In its position paper, IDIS said that the rapid development in the city has led to “indiscriminate production and use of plastic products,” resulting in “staggering increase in plastic waste generation and environmental pollution.”

It also cited the impact the SUPs would cause to the environment because plastics are non-biodegradable, staying in the environment for thousands of years, and would produce toxic chemicals that are harmful to human health when incinerated, causing cardiovascular disease to cancer and autoimmune conditions.

“Although they may slowly breakdown into microplastics, they will not decompose and instead find their way to water bodies and be eaten by marine animals. While some plastics are less noticeable such as oxo-degradables designed to degrade quickly, they are still present in the environment and continue to accumulate through time affecting the health of every organism ingesting their debris or by products,” it said.

The environmental groups said there are several existing and available alternatives to plastics such as “reusable bottles for drinking, reusable bamboo/metal straws and food utensils, bayong and ecobags for groceries, biodegradable packaging such as brown paper or banana leaves for dry goods and with reusable containers for wet goods.”

The city produces an average of 570 to 600 metric tons of waste daily, according to IDIS.

The ban on SUPs would help lessen the production of wastes that end up on the seven-hectare sanitary landfill located in New Carmen, Tugbok, which has nearly reached its maximum capacity, Golle said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)