DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 September) – A councilor proposed a measure Tuesday asking grocery and shopping stores in the city to forego plastic bags and instead promote reusable shopping bags to help address the garbage problem in the locality.
Second District Councilor Diosdado Mahipus Angelo R. Mahipus Jr. called on local establishments to adopt good industry practices consistent with the local policies on environmental protection.
He said the local council has been confronted with concerns on the increasing use of plastics in the city and its proper disposal.
Mahipus said among the solutions seen to address the plastic waste problem include proposals to regulate single-use plastics, including plastic grocery bags, and promote the recycling of plastic bottles.
Even with the passage of the “No to Single-Use Plastics Ordinance” in 2021, Mahipus said the battle is far from over as he acknowledged the need to continue the gains and study more environmental protection legislations, including the passage of an ordinance regulating the use of grocery bags in the city.
“It was a balancing act for us during its consideration taking into account (our) environmental protection policies and also the economic consequences of regulations to our business community. The work is, however, not yet done,” he said.
The existing city ordinance on the “sale, distribution and use of plastics” prohibits the use of several plastic products such as drinking cups, ice cream cups, condiment containers, stirrers, straws, egg containers or clamshells, balloon sticks, meal boxes, and cutlery, according to Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS).
It added that this measure aims to “reduce the environmental impact caused by single-use plastics and encourage the adoption of more sustainable alternatives.”
In 2012, the local council banned the use of environmentally-destructive plastic bags and styrofoams as the Solid Waste Management Ordinance took effect, but allowed the use of oxo-degradable plastic bags designed to disintegrate quickly.
IDID had expressed apprehension on the use of oxo-degradable plastic, claiming “it still poses threats to the environment.”
“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. While oxo-degradables are designed to degrade quickly, they are still present in the environment and continue to accumulate through time, affecting the health of organisms that could ingest their debris or by-products,” IDIS said.
Mahipus said local establishments can also reduce the use of plastic bags by adopting a “no plastic grocery bag day,” as proposed by Mindanao Development Authority chairperson Mabel Sunga Acosta, use plastic grocery bags made of recycled materials, or allow only the use of large grocery bags with thicker materials to make it reusable for other purposes.
“There are so many suggestions as to this that it requires a deeper study on the feasibility, practicability, and the concomitant economic consequences of these regulations in a big city like ours,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)