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Baguio plastic ban starts sans IRR



The full ban on plastic packaging in Baguio City starts on May 1 and the new regulation initially focuses on sando bags which are usually for one-time use only, a city official said on Tuesday.

Cordelia Lacsamana, head of the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), said the city would allow sando bags only if these are certified as biodegradable by the Environment Viability Technology Institute under the Department of Science and Technology.

Lacsamana said a waste classification study done sometime in 2012 had shown that plastic bags accounted for about one-fourth of the city's garbage.

"That is actually the problem," she pointed out, saying it is the reason the city government is going ahead with its total ban on plastic packaging starting May 1.

The full ban on plastic bags starts on May 1 in Baguio City, even if the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for a city ordinance ordering such has not been released yet.

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan made this possible by signing on Friday an administrative order, stating some mechanisms on how to implement the ban, in lieu of the IRR, which still needs the city council's approval to be official.

"There is no going back. Even if there are questionable items, we will refine these in the future, which is going to be submitted to the city council as a component of the ordinance,” Lacsamana said.

The city ordinance on the plastic ban was passed back in May 2017. Since then, Lacsamana said, her office had started a massive information campaign on the matter.

“Actually it is already integrated into our advocacy programs, " she said.

Practicing leadership by example, Lacsamana said the city hall had to be the first public building in the city to be plastic-free.

Earlier, the city government said it would not renew the business permits of establishments selling plastic sando bags.

Lacsamana said households that had stocked up on plastic bags, especially for garbage receptacles, are given three-month phaseout period.

"They can either recycle or reuse these for other purposes,” she suggested. "We need to change our behavior. Convenience should have a price.”

Liza Agoot / PNA