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Ilocos Norte LGU declares ‘plastic-free holiday’
WASTE EXCHANGE PROGRAM. A resident of Poblacion in Burgos, Ilocos Norte exchanges plastic waste for grocery items in this undated photo. Recently, the entire municipality has banned the use of single-use plastic at least thrice a week to reduce plastic waste. (Contributed photo)
LAOAG CITY – The local government unit of Burgos town in the province of Ilocos Norte has declared every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as a “plastic-free holiday” in all residential, commercial, agricultural, and institutional establishments within the municipality.
This means that the use of single-use plastics is prohibited in Burgos at least three times a week to control and minimize the production of plastic waste.
Ahead of World Environment Day on June 5, the municipal government approved on Wednesday Municipal Ordinance 2021-002, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Code of Burgos to ban the use of single-use plastic in the municipality.
Anyone found violating the ordinance will be imposed a fine of PHP500 for the first offense, PHP1,000 for the second offense, PHP2,000 for the third offense, and imprisonment of one to six months for the fourth offense.
“In case the violator is a business or commercial establishment, this shall result in suspension or cancellation of business permit,” the municipality said in a public advisory posted on its official Facebook page, enjoining everyone to cooperate for the reduction and proper management of solid wastes in the community.
Municipal environment and natural resources officer Jay-Arr Tiguiamo said Friday the plastic-free holiday ordinance is considered their “baby step” toward a plastic-free environment.
“For now, we have intensified our information and education campaign (on the ban on single-use plastic), particularly among business establishments and the locals,” he said.
Tiguiamo said while citation tickets have yet to be issued to violators, the municipality has begun releasing solid waste management clearance to all business establishments in the area to send a signal that the municipality is serious in its campaign to eradicate single-use plastics.
“It’s hard (to implement) but we need to balance the predicaments of both sectors,” he said, noting that the establishments they have so far asked to stop using plastic have appealed to “use our last stock of plastic supply.”
The local government unit is pushing for the use of alternatives instead of single-use plastics, such as “bayong” or eco-bags, reusable drinking containers, and metal drinking straws and utensils.
In the Philippines, records show that 2.7 million tons of plastic waste are generated each year, and about 20 percent of this end up in the ocean.
Two million plastic bags are also used every minute worldwide. By Leilanie Adriano with Philippine News Agency