OLONGAPO CITY - The use and sale of non-biodegradable plastic bags and styrofoam as packaging materials are now prohibited in Olongapo City as part of its efforts to protect the environment and mitigate flooding in the area.
“Plastic bags and styrofoam are among the top trash collected during our yearly citywide cleanup, and is also one of the main reasons why our drainage clogs up. That is why we opt to ban plastic in the city.” Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino said.
He added that it is also the city’s way to help protect and care for the environment.
“Kailangan namin ng tulong na mga residents. Kapag nakita sana nila na gumagamit pa rin ng plastic bags or styro yung tindahan, sabihan na nila, o mag report sa aking opisina," Paulino said.
"Hindi lang naman ang local na pamahalaan ang makikinabang dito, buong Olongapo lalong lalo na ang mga maliiliit na bata na maiiwan natin sa syudad. Lahat tayo dapat maging miyembro ng task force.” He added.
Mayor Paulino also formed a task force composed of selected personnel from the local government to monitor and implement the said ban.
The ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam started January 1, 2017 after a gradual implementation last year.
Under City Ordinance No. 11 Series of 2015, any establishment violating the ban will be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense and P5,000 plus cancellation of its business permit for the third offense.
The gradual prohibition of plastics started in the 3rd quarter of last year allocating every Wednesday as plastic-free day. It was followed by a two-day ban during the 4th quarter of 2016 with Wednesdays and Saturdays allocated as plastic-free days.
The ordinance encourages residents to use recyclable bags, bayongs, eco bags, biodegradable plastic, paper cups and paper food containers as replacement for the banned material.
Mayor Paulino explained that the gradual implementation of the ban last year was done upon the request of businesses as they have already stocked up on plastic bags for their use.
“But now the honeymoon is over, we need to adhere to the law and I am very positive that we can achieve this goal by helping each other.” Paulino said. (SNL)