Plastic-free ordinance gaining ground

BAGUIO CITY – The implementation of Ordinance No. 36 series of 2017 or the “Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio City Ordinance” has started to gain ground in the City despite some kinks encountered. Mayor Mauricio Domogan said that as in any other start-ups, the imposition of the new measure encountered some lapses but these are now being threshed out by the concerned offices. “Of course like in any other start-ups, there were lapses and these were expected but the beauty of it is that people are now aware and are becoming conscious of their use of plastic materials,” the mayor said. He expressed confidence that in the long run, these kinks will be ironed out and the enforcement will run more smoothly. Market superintendent Fernando Ragma said that based on their assessment, 90 percent of the market vendors are complying with the interim Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) which allowed the use of Oxo-biodegradable and “Bioplastics” or vegetable based plastics bags for as long as these are supported by laboratory findings and certification issued by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and properly marked by the Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) code. However, Ragma said they aim to totally comply with the provisions of the ordinance which disallows even the biodegradable kind for use as secondary packaging but allows the non-biodegradable type for primary packaging. “In the meantime, we are letting the vendors use the biodegradable plastic which they recently purchased based on the IRR but once they exhausted their stocks, they are no longer allowed to use even the biodegradable ones as secondary or carry-all bag as per the ordinance,” he added. This disparity between the provision of the ordinance and the interim IRR was among the technical problems being addressed now and was among the issues raised during the solutions forum and write shop conducted recently. The mayor who issued the temporary IRR expressed preference to allowing the use of new technology plastic products that are certified biodegradable and safe to the environment. “We should not foreclose the advancement of technology especially on this matter if it can give us convenience as long as it is certified as safe by the Department of Science and Technology, then we should allow it,” he said. General Services office under officer-in-charge Eugene Buyucan who leads the Task Force to enforce the interim Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) said the task force has completed the summary of the inputs gathered during the forum for submission to the monitoring and oversight committee headed by City Environment and Parks Management Officer Cordelia Lacsamana as action officer. Based on the inputs, the committee will finalize the IRR for submission to Mayor Domogan and the City Council for approval./Aileen P. Refuerzo


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