MANILA - Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed a bill seeking a ban on single-use plastic straws and stirrers in the food service in a bid to reduce waste that end up in landfills and bodies of water.
The Philippines is the third biggest contributor of plastic wastes to the world's oceans, next only to China and Indonesia, Hontiveros said, citing a recent waste audit.
The audit, she noted, found 6 garbage patches in oceans, the largest of which is Great Pacific Garbage Patch, containing 79,000 tons of plastic debris and spanning 1.6 million square kilometers, twice the size of France.
Hontiveros, in a statement, said her Senate Bill No. 1866 bans establishments from offering consumers single-use plastic straws and stirrers, the most common plastic products found in oceans.
The proposed law also mandates food establishments and other service providers occupying fixed spaces, such as sari-sari stores, to prominently display signs informing their customers of their “no plastic straw and stirrer” policy.
"The measure seeks to effect positive behavioral change among our people. We hope straws and stirrers will become 'gateway plastics' to convince people to shift from using plastic to reusable products," the senator said.
"If we can persuade the people of the positive effects of not using plastic straws and stirrers, we can also encourage them not to use other single-use plastics such as bags and bottles," she added.
Under the bill, food service establishments may only provide beverage straws if required by customers with a disability or medical condition.
Establishments that will violate the ban shall be fined P50,000 for the first offense, P80,000 for the second offense, and P150,000 on top of a 1-year suspension of business permits for the third offense, the bill suggests.