Plastic Bags Outlawed in Davao City

Davao City moves ahead to ban use of plastic bags starting June 28 of this year.

In a report from Sun Star, a privilege speech by city councilor Melchor Quitain justified that the ban is in line with Section 7, Article V of the Ordinance 0361 series of 2010 or the Davao City Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance of 2009.

“Starting June 28, 2012, the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags and polystyrene foam as food and beverage containers is completely, totally, and absolutely banned in our city,” Quitain said.

A creek in Metro Manila. You don't want to see this in Davao, do you?

The ordinance stipulates that only recyclable, biodegradable or reusable containers will be allowed as food and beverage containers. Could this mean softdrinks cannot be sold in a plastic container (with straw), cassava cake will be wrapped in banana leaves or you may need to bring your old reliable Tupperware when buying food from your neighborhood eatery? If we look at the brief description of the ordinance, it’s a yes.

But the bigger impact is pointed towards food and packaging industry, both of which are encouraged to develop a more eco-friendly containers. We wonder if following the ordinance would mean more appealing packages yet more expensive retail products. Another question in mind is that will business establishments have enough time to tackle this change?

Those who violate the implementation of the ordinance will face criminal liabilities and penal sanctions, according to Quitain.

While other cities can only lament on rubbish composed mostly of plastic clogging their esteros, Davao City is proactive enough to prevent a repeat of this sorry state. But the move is even further than other cities, such as Hong Kong which imposes a levy for use of grocery plastic bags and encourage customers to use reusable bags but has made multiple exemptions on food packaging.

Overall, this is a good move by the city of Davao, and hopefully, just like the well-praised “no smoking” ordinance and waste segregation which yielded less garbage collection, it becomes an inspiration for others who preach about environment-friendly living but lacks will to practice it.

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