In all public events in Cebu City: Ban on plastics
CEBU, Philippines — To prevent pollution and promote a healthier environment here, a Cebu City councilor is pushing for an ordinance prohibiting foam food containers and single-use plastics in all public events in the city.
Councilor Alvin Dizon said the city has to engage with the private sector in urban solid waste management and in finding sustainable alternatives to produce goods with both ethics and the environment in mind by using materials that are non-plastic and can be re-used or recycled.
“To implement the goal and policy of a sustainable and plastic-free public event that Cebu City wants to establish, the organizers and participants shall make use of alternative materials which are recyclable and environment-friendly such as those made of cardboard, paper, bamboo, wood, leaves and those that are non-plastic,” reads a portion of his proposed ordinance.
The proposal is now with the City Council’s committee on laws, ordinances, and styling, and the committee on environment.
Section 4 of the proposed ordinance cites the prohibited acts and exception. It says, “in all public events such as festivals, school events like intramurals, foundation days, community fiestas, religious processions and activities, sports and wellness events, entertainment like concerts, cause-related like medical missions, river clean-ups, trade and food fairs like weekend and night markets, exhibitions, expositions, rallies and public demonstrations, and other fund-raising and leisure events, it shall be unlawful for both event organizers and participants to use single-use plastic such as straws, grocery bags, disposable cutlery, stirrers, cups, cup lids, containers, plastic bottles, balloons, Styrofoam and packaging for all kinds of food and beverages to be consumed on the spot and plastic bunting and flaglets.
To encourage compliance, Dizon proposes that organizers who follow the ordinance will be exempt from paying amusement tax to the city.
However, those who will violate, organizers and participants alike, will be fined P1,000; P3,000; and P5,000 for the first, second, and third offenses, respectively.
But the proposed ordinance also allows violators to render community service and undergo seminars in lieu of paying the fine.
The proposed ordinance will require event organizers to undergo an orientation about the local law before holding the event.
Organizers will also be required to provide containers for recyclables; educate attendees, participants and exhibitors of the harm caused by the single-use plastics; require event participants to bring own bottles, cups, and cutlery; require suppliers of events to use reusable and environment-friendly packaging; and deputize enforcer to monitor the use of materials in the event.
The event’s participants, on the other hand, will be required to dispose of recyclables in designated containers; bring own bottles, cups, and cutlery to the event; and to abide by the ordinance strictly.
“Our plastic and waste problems are urgent and require policy-based, multi-sectoral and community action approaches. Plastic pollution is both an environmental and social justice issue since the ones that are most adversely affected, especially during heavy flooding, are our poor communities and settlements,” the proposal reads.
If passed by the Council and approved eventually by Mayor Edgardo Labella, the ordinance will be implemented by the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office in coordination with the Cebu City Parks and Playgrounds Commission and Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement (PROBE) Team. — JMO (FREEMAN)