Thursday, August 05, 2021

Plastic free City Hall eyed

IN CELEBRATION of World Environment Day, Baguio City Hall will be launched as a plastic free building.

City Environment and Parks Management Office (Cepmo) Chief Cordelia Lacsamana said the city’s seat of power will lead the path to a plastic free environment in accordance to the newly implemented Anti-Plastic Ordinance.

Lacsamana said the launch will be done this month as a response to the advocacy to ban plastic in the city, touting City Hall to lead the path to a plastic free environment.

The city official said the full implementation of the Anti-Plastic Ordinance of the city will be in effect by August.

After the launch, City Hall will be viewed as the example in the city championing new law with its operations and employees seen to carry best practices in the implementation of the ordinance.

Ordinance No. 35 series of 2017 or the “Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio Ordinance” covers all business activities and establishments in the city including city government schools and offices.

It prohibits business establishments from providing any customer any plastic bag or polystyrene foam container for goods or items purchased or serving food or drink, take out or dine in to customers in polystyrene containers or in plastic bags.

The penalties are reprimand or immediate closure for establishments without business permit for first offense; P1,000 fine for second offense; P3,000 fine and eight hours community service for third offense and P5,000 fine and suspension of business permit for six months for fourth offense.

Meanwhile, the oversight committee monitoring the implementation of Ordinance No. 36 series of 2017 or the “Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio City Ordinance” recommended amending the measure to make it more implementable.

But pending the amendment, the provisions of the ordinance will prevail which meant a total ban on styrofoam and plastic materials in the city including both the biodegradable and non-biodegradable types starting September.

In a letter to Mayor Mauricio Domogan dated May 24, Lacsamana who serves as action officer of the committee said amending or recasting of the ordinance by the City Council would be a better option than adopting Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) as earlier planned to avoid inconsistencies.

Lacsamana said the proposed amendments came from the inputs and feedbacks from the stakeholders during public consultations and the solutions forum and write shop held recently.

Among the proposed amendments is the inclusion of residences in the coverage of the ordinance as they also generate plastic materials sourced out from outside Baguio which adds to the City’s waste stream.

The committee also sought to define primary packaging materials as “those types of food grade plastic packaging for wet products like frozen foods, processed poultry, livestock products, cold cuts, ice candy, snack food, munchies, TV party foods, fat snack, chiblets, finger foods and other junk food, products, popsicles, RTWs and other similar items” while secondary packaging materials are those “for dry goods and used to provide support to any primary packaging intended for convenience of the handler.”

Wet products refer to items that require refrigeration or freezing to maintain its shelf life, not to get soiled, incur mechanical damage or be contaminated with microorganisms such as fish, livestock, poultry, processed, fruits, vegetables, cold cuts and the like. (PR)


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