By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The single use of plastics will now be banned in all government offices all over the country.
This was after the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), chaired by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu, signed last Feb. 12 the NSWMC Resolution No. 1363, Series of 2020, directing the DENR to “prepare and implement” the ban on the use of “unnecessary” single-use plastic products by national government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and all other government-controlled offices.
The plastic products covered by the ban are cups less than 0.2 millimeter in thickness, drinking straws, coffee stirrers, spoons, forks, knives, “labo” or thin and translucent plastic bags, and thin-filmed sando bags lower than 15 microns.
“The NSWMC resolution is a major step to curb the use of single-use plastic items that pollute our waterways, kill marine life and contribute to our country’s increasing solid waste,” Cimatu pointed out.
He said the DENR is expected to craft specific guidelines for the implementation of the plastics ban, which forms part of the government’s “solid waste avoidance and minimization strategy.”
Citing a United Nations (UN) report, Cimatu earlier said the Philippines is one of top five contributors of plastic waste in the world’s oceans, accounting for about half of the total plastic leakage.
“We produce 2.7 metric tons of plastic waste every year,” Cimatu said. “Following this trajectory of plastic production and mismanagement, UN reports predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish.”
Under the Republic Act 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, the DENR has the function to recommend policies to eliminate barriers to waste reduction programs.
Created by RA 9003, NSWMC is an inter-agency body under the Office of the President mandated to oversee the implementation of solid waste management plans and prescribe policies to achieve the law’s objectives.
Aside from the DENR, the NSWMC is also composed of the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Trade and Industry.
Other members include the League of Cities of the Philippines, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Philippine Information Agency, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and representatives from the recycling and manufacturing/packaging sectors.