The answer’s in the bag | SunStar

The answer’s in the bag

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The answer’s in the bag

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Recycled boxes, new paper bags and reusable cloth bags are familiar sights in Mandaue City’s supermarkets, where the ban on plastics is being enforced.

MOST persons who live in Mandaue City know, by now, that the use of plastic bags is prohibited in all establishments, following the City Government’s enforcement of an ordinance that already existed six before officials decided to implement it strictly.

Eight months later, many Mandauehanons have learned to use recyclable cloth or canvas (commonly known as eco-bags), mesh net bags, and paper bags, whenever they buy something from the public market and even the malls. In Mandaue, individuals are seldom seen carrying plastic bags.

Marilou Suan, 49, a resident of Lower Malibu B in Barangay Subangdaku, has two eco-bags whenever she goes out to buy goods in the market. One bag is intended for dry goods, while the other is for items from the wet market.

Shifting from plastic bags to eco-bags was hard for Suan, a government employee, but she later saw the benefits of the practice.

“Wala na lang ko mogamit og plastics totally kay mauwaw man ko. Nagtrabaho ko sa gobyerno dapat ako mao’y model.

Ako’y mag-una (I no longer use plastic bags because, as a government worker, I should be among the first to heed the rules),” she said.

Suan, a mother of nine, said she has also advised her children not to use plastic bags.

She talks about the City ordinance with individuals she sees bringing plastics and has advised market vendors to stop using disposable bags.

“Akong ingnon dako baya nag multa (I tell them that they’d have to pay large fines if they get caught),” she said.

Signs of change

In 2010, the Mandaue City Council approved City Ordinance 12-2010-562 or the Plastic Bag Prohibition Ordinance of 2010, and prohibited the use and distribution of disposable plastic bags and Styrofoam in all establishments in the city, including carenderias and sari-sari stores.

The ordinance requires the use of “paper bags, cloth, recyclable paper and/or reusable checkout bags.”

Anyone who will be caught by “eco-wardens” of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) will be issued a citation ticket.

Based on Cenro’s records, 405 persons were caught from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016 while using plastic bags, or 81 every month, on average.

Since 2017 started, they have recorded 64 violators.

According to the City Public Information Office, these apprehensions include establishments and stall vendors, but no business was closed for repeating the offense.

Violators must pay the P500 fine or spend five days in jail, or face both penalties in some cases.

Before, some individuals, especially market vendors, opposed the ban. But some of them are now glad about the City Government’s move because they have additional income from selling eco-bags.

Joshua Lima, a vendor of fruits and processed meat products, always has net bags in his stall. Each bag costs P10.

But Victoria Baron, 56, a vegetable vendor, still prefers plastic bags.

“Ang bulsita ineg kabasa mayabyab. Maayo’ng plastic (Paper bags fall apart after they get wet. It’s better to have plastic),” she said.

Baron said brown paper bags are also costly. She pays P38 for a pack of 50 pieces, compared with P16 for a roll with 100 plastic packs.

She emphasized that she still follows the law, despite the extra cost and her opinion that the use of plastics wasn’t really to blame for the floods.

“Di man na ingon mao’y nakabaha. Ang drainage angay tutokan (Plastics did not cause floods. They should focus on declogging the drainage instead),” she added.

Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on April 09, 2017.

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