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Duterte mulls ban on plastic use in PH to save environment


By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is amenable to the ban on the use of plastics in the country to curb pollution and protect the environment, Malacañang announced Thursday.

A man searches for plastic to sell for recycling at Bantar Gebang landfill in Bekasi, West Java province, Indonesia. (REUTERS/Darren Whiteside/File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

(REUTERS/Darren Whiteside/File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President recognized that Congress must pass a law implementing a ban on plastic products during a Cabinet meeting in Malacanang on Wednesday.

“The President floated the idea to ban the use of plastics, which according to him, would require legislative action,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

The issue on plastic pollution was raised after Vernice Victorio, President and CEO of the Natural Resources Development Corp., shared with the Cabinet the priority programs for environment and climate change resiliency, Panelo said. The state corporation is attached with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Several bills seeking to ban the use of single-use plastic products are pending in Congress amid concerns such products end up polluting the oceans and killing marine life.

President Duterte recently called on Southeast Asian countries not to sacrifice the environment for economic development in the region. He instead called for intensified regional cooperation in protecting the environment and fighting pollution in the ocean during the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit plenary.

Duterte also urged the regional bloc to enhance collaboration to prevent and reduce marine debris.

“We must work together to address the problem of marine debris. And we must build resilient and stronger communities to adapt to the effects of climate change,” he said.

Leaders of the East Asia Summit also committed to craft a regional action plan to step up efforts to combat plastic waste pollution in the oceans and prevent the illegal transport of hazardous wastes.

They recognized that marine plastic debris has become a global concern and agreed to develop a system-based plan to minimize ocean pollution.

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