IS IT feasible to enforce a total plastic ban in Cebu City? To see if it is, the City Council has asked business establishments to submit a position paper on the matter, and present their suggestions as well. This came after a community stakeholder stood pat that if prohibiting the use of plastic bags could be possible in Mandaue City, then it can also be done in Cebu City. In a public hearing during the City Council’s Oct. 10 regular session, Anthony Galon, who started the Five Pieces Daily Habit, said banning plastic usage for seven days would help resolve flooding problems caused by drainage clogging.
“If we already know what we want from a store, why don’t we use eco bags or reuse containers? It takes a thousand years for plastic bags to decay. As much as possible, we want the plastic ban to be implemented for seven days,” he said. Last June, Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia filed a draft ordinance, amending City Ordinance (CO) 2343, which regulates the use and sale of plastic shopping bags every Saturday. The City Council passed the measure in 2012. A year later, it was expanded to include Wednesdays. Garcia, though, wants the plastic ban schedule to include Fridays, Sundays and Mondays. He pointed out that the rampant use and “irresponsible” disposal of plastic bags have clogged the city’s drainage system.
This would mean that stores and establishments would be required to encourage customers to use sacks, cloth bags or baskets as alternative container for their purchased products. If it’s approved, violators will be fined P5,000 and/or face imprisonment of not more than six months. During the public hearing, Garcia said that the plastic ban should be done gradually to give both consumers and establishments enough time to adjust.
He added that the reason he decided to have the four-day ban at the end of the week because this is when most consumers do their shopping. “Maybe this is just a starting step, and we can eventually expand and have it for seven days,” Garcia said. The councilor said that aside from helping solve the flooding problem, the plastic ban is also aimed at instilling discipline among consumers. Galon shared the sentiment, saying that since enforcing the total plastic ban in Mandaue in July last year, the city has become less flooded during heavy downpour.
In a previous report, the Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) attributed this to the banning of plastic bags in the city. Felix Suico of CDRRMO said that the people in Mandaue already learned how to recycle plastic bags instead of throwing these into rivers and waterways. Last Sept. 21, major streets in Cebu City and neighboring areas experienced severe flooding because of the heavy downpour. But according to the Mandaue Public Information Office, though, they got no complaints of flooding from the public.
CDRRMO did not monitor any heavy flooding in Mandaue. Sought for comment on the proposed ordinance, Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he supports the measure. In an earlier interview, he said he wants to have it implemented as soon as possible. Garcia’s proposed amendments will still go through a final deliberation. (RTF)