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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesSaturday, August 4, 2012
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Anti-plastic bags ordinance
to take effect August 28

A forum on the regulated use of plastic shopping bags on both dry and wet goods in Dumaguete City that will start August 28, was held yesterday at the Dr. Jovito Salonga Center for Law and Development in Silliman University.

Center director Myrish Cadapan Antonio said it will gather those to be affected directly by Ordinance No. 231 regulating the use of plastic shopping bags in Dumaguete, that was approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod on August 10, 2011.

The ordinance bans vendors from offering or selling plastic bags to be used as secondary packaging material for wet goods or primary packaging for dry goods, a government press release had earlier said.

Polystyrene or styrofoam, and other similar materials, are also prohibited as packaging containers, either as primary or secondary. Persons of any store or business establishment found violating the law will be penalized P500 for the first violation, P1,000 for the second violation and P5,000 for the third violation, the press release added.

Antonio said it is time to minimize the use of plastic bags to help save the environment. Plastic bags and other non-biodegradable materials have been blamed for clogging drainage canals in the city and worsening the floods that hit Dumaguete in 2009 and 2011.

Shoppers have been encouraged to bring alternative bags for the goods they will purchase.

Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria said that in City Hall, caterers and wholesalers are not allowed to use plastic containers or styrofoam in serving snacks or packed meals during occasions.

In yesterday's forum, Leo Mapicpic, an environment advocate cautioned business establishments against the purchase of so-called “biodegradable” plastic bags.

He said there is no such thing as biodegradable plastics because they are still made from petroleum products. Manufacturers merely use a technology that will add or insert biodegradable linkages like cellulose or starch, but the plastic will still be plastic, he added.

He said the term “biodegradable” is overused and being abused. The only biodegradable plastics are those made from starch, corn or cellulose coming from plants. But the process is so expensive, and will affect the food security of the country, as these materials will be used for plastics, and no longer for food.*JG


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