Dad to push regulation of single-use plastics in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 2 March) – Second District Councilor Diosdado Mahipus, Jr. has vowed to sponsor an ordinance regulating the sale and use of single-use plastic (SUP) products here.

The chair of the city council’s environment committee said he is just finishing the consultations with the different stakeholders for his proposed measure.

Mahipus, a son of former Councilor Diosdado Mahipus, Sr. said he wants to encourage the use of re-usable items to reduce the volume of waste in the city.

In discouraging the use of SUPs, the rookie councilor noted that plastic wastes have been polluting the city’s environment.

In the draft proposal, Mahipus described SUPs as either recyclable or non-recyclable plastics, which are “designed or placed in the market to be used only once over a short time span before being disposed or discarded.”

It specifically identified SUPs as plastic drinking cups; plastic condiment, sauce or gravy containers, 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.

Environmental group Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) maintained that it would continue to push for a total ban on SUP use in the city.

In its position paper, the group 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 since plastics are non-biodegradable, could stay in the environment for thousands of years, and could produce toxic chemicals that are harmful to human health when incinerated, causing cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmune conditions.

“Although they may slowly break down into microplastics, they will not decompose and instead find their way to water bodies and can be eaten by marine animals,” the IDIS paper said.

It added that while some plastics are less noticeable such as the oxo-degradable that was designed to degrade quickly, they are still present in the environment and continue to accumulate through time affecting the health of organisms ingesting their debris or by-products.

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

The environmental group said there are several alternatives to SUPs such as reusable drinking bottles, bamboo or metal straws and food utensils, bayong (a bag made of woven dried leaves) and ecobags for groceries, and biodegradable packaging such as banana leaves, among others.