By Jerome Carlo R. Paunan, PIA, NCR
MAKATI CITY, Jan. 4 (PIA) — Starting this January, the local government will strictly monitor compliance of establishments to the required gradual reduction of their plastic and Styrofoam stocks inventory in preparation for the full implementation of the city ordinance banning said materials this June.
In a statement, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay said he has ordered the Department of Environmental Services (DES) to deploy monitoring teams to establishments in the city to check on their current plastic inventories, which should be totally depleted before June 20, 2013, when the total ban takes effect.
Binay said under Chapter 9 of the Solid Waste Management Code of Makati, also known as City Ordinance 2003-095, food and retail establishments are given nine years to dispose of all their stocks of plastics, Styrofoam and the like, replacing these with environment-friendly materials.
The nine-year grace period was supposed to end last December 31, 2012, but the mayor issued an Executive Order 007 S.2012 in May last year extending the deadline for the total phaseout to June 20, 2013.
For his part, DES chief Danilo Villas said the Plastic Monitoring Task Force (PMTF) had started deploying teams to check on the inventories of establishments immediately after the EO was issued. He said the initial data gathered will serve as the basis for subsequent evaluations of their compliance to the disposal order.
Villas said his office has prioritized the deployment of monitoring teams this January, with each team composed of at least five members representing the Makati Health Department Sanitation Division, Business Permits Office, Makati Action Center, Liga ng mga Barangay, and DES.
Data obtained from the city Business Permits Office show a total of 1,674 food establishments and 5,694 retail outlets in Makati.
The PMTF has been designated to monitor the compliance of all supermarkets, public markets, shopping malls/department stores, restaurants, fast food chains, convenience stores, canteens, eateries and similar establishments to the ordinance. Under the implementing rules and regulations of the “Use of Environment-Friendly Materials,” these establishments are prohibited from selling, using or distributing plastic bags for use as primary or secondary packaging on dry goods, or as secondary packaging for wet goods. The sale, use or distribution of Styrofoam (Polystyrene) and other materials with non-biodegradable components that are being used as containers for food, drinks, dining utensils and beverages is also strictly prohibited.
Once the ban finally takes effect in June this year, the management will be required to provide, for free or for a fee, paper bags, cloth bags, basket/woven bags made from biodegradable packaging materials, woven native bags and other similar materials in lieu of plastic shopping bags.
Moreover, the EO issued last June makes specific distinction between “primary” and “secondary” packaging materials and exempts certain products from the plastic ban.
Primary packaging materials are defined as “first level product packaging that contains the item sold,” which are used for wet produce, snack foods, frozen foods, and hardware, among others. On the other hand, secondary packaging materials are “those used to provide support for wet goods with primary packaging,” usually for the convenience of the handler or customer.
Among the products exempted from the order are plastic bottled products like bottled water, ice tea, cooking oil, alcohol, mayonnaise, jelly, peanut butter, coco jam, and the like. Also included in the exemption are plastic sachet products like shampoo and conditioner, soap/detergent, noodles; cosmetics; cigarette case; plastic bags used as primary packaging on wet goods with thickness of 15 microns above, and other similar products.
Meanwhile, all covered establishments are also required to place a clearly marked “Plastic Bag Recovery Bin” at entrances and exits that are visible and accessible, for the purpose of collecting, recycling and disposal of plastic bags.
Barangay Halls are likewise required to have the same clearly marked recovery bins that will serve as drop-off points to collect plastic bags from barangay residents. DES will coordinate with reputable recyclers/organized junkshop operators for the proper collection, transportation, recycling and disposal of plastic bags dropped in the said bins.#