MANILA—Sen. Cynthia Villar has filed a bill that will ban single-use plastics to minimize pollution in the country.
Under Senate Bill No. 333 or the Single-Use Plastic Product Regulation Act of 2019, the manufacturing, importation, and use of single-use plastic products will be regulated.
Issuance of the single-use plastics by food establishments, stores, markets, and retailers will be prohibited while consumers will also be diverted to use reusable materials. Manufacturers will be mandated to collect, recycle and dispose of single-use plastics that are in circulation in the market.
Importation of single-use plastics will no longer be allowed, too.
Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said the enactment of the bill is urgent in the face of a study showing the country as the world's 3rd largest producer of plastic wastes that end up in the oceans.
A 2015 report on plastic pollution conducted by international groups Ocean Conservancy, and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment ranked the Philippines as the 3rd biggest source of plastic leaking into the oceans, following China and Indonesia.
"With our dependence in agriculture, plastic pollution also poses a grave threat in our food security. Disaster risks and hazards arising from plastic pollution may put farms at risk of flooding resulting in wastage of agricultural products along with its threats to a balanced ecology," Villar said in a statement Friday.
"Microplastics leaked in our bodies of water may also put public health at risk as it gets into our food chain," she said.
Villar noted the practice of buying products in plastic sachets made the plastic waste problem in the country worse and should be addressed by plastic manufacturers.
"Hindi naman natin masisi ang mga tao kung ang kaya lang bilhin ay ’yung sapat para sa ilang araw lang na gamitan. But we must put pressure on the corporations that produce these products to come up with a program to recycle these wastes and minimize impact on the environment," Villar said.
Business enterprises, on the micro, small, or medium levels, that are found guilty of violating the law if passed, will be fined P10,000 to 100,000. They could also be suspended or have their business permits revoked.
Value-added tax-registered enterprises, establishments, stores, and plastic manufacturers found guilty of violating the law if passed, will be fined P100,000 to P1 million. They could also face suspension or cancellation of business permits.