The City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) here vowed to implement the ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags and polystyrene foam as food containers beginning Thursday, June 28.
Speaking at the Club 888 Forum Wednesday, CENRO chief Atty. Joseph Dominique Felizarta said they will enforce the ordinance with no excuses.
He said CENRO will deploy four teams starting 8:00 a.m. to inspect manufacturing industries, malls, markets and sidewalk vendors to ensure that the ban is followed. Each team will consist of about 10 enforcers including a member of the CENRO’s information education communication (IEC) unit.
“We will enforce the ban without excuses. We are ready. We have prepared for this long before,” Felizarta said.
In case of violations, CENRO will issue a citation ticket as the basis for the penalty. For the first offense, violators will be fined P300 which will be paid within seven days after they committed the violation.
Felizarta foresees resistance from the public particularly the street vendors.
He also foresees the dilemma of market vendors, wet markets in malls on how to sell wet food products, pending action of the Davao City Council on their appeal for exemption.
Felizarta, however, is confident the problem of resistance would not be that serious as a representative of the sidewalk vendors at the recent consultative meeting conducted with CENRO and the Solid Waste Management Board had expressed the readiness and willingness of the sidewalk vendors to abide with the law as long as there is sufficient supply of biodegradable plastic bags in the market.
Felizarta said there are about 10 big manufacturers of biodegradable plastics in Davao City.
Another problem which Felizarta foresees is the flooding of non-biodegradable plastic bags being disposed by thousands of business establishments as garbage, hence, would also fill up the city’s sanitary landfill.
He said business establishments were advised to dispose of their non-biodegradable plastics by selling them to nearby cities and provinces and avoid throwing them in the city’s sanitary landfill.
He said of the current 400 tons of garbage thrown at the sanitary landfill daily, 20 percent is made up of plastic bags and polystyrene foam.
Another problem which Felizarta fears is the warning which the manufacturers had earlier raised, that with the ban on non-biodegradable plastics, there will be a shortage of plastic chairs, tables, and wrappers of vitamins, tablets, and the like which are made out of non-biodegradable plastics.
These anticipated problems made Felizarta agree on the move for the city council to clear the definition of terms on the Davao City Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance of 2009 in order to address the consequential results of the banning of non-biodegradable plastic bags and polystyrene foam as food and beverage containers.
Felizarta clarified that the ban would not include the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags and polystyrene foams as containers for appliances, gadgets and the like. The banned materials will apply solely when it is used as food and beverage containers, he said.
He said the exemption of the ban on non-food items is also beneficial, to avoid the anticipated problem of lack of plastic chairs, tables, etc.
Felizarta also reiterated that the ban does not include primary packaging or those that are being packaged outside the city and being exported into the city.