BY: MARIA TERESA B. BENAS
By Ginalyn Brioso
BANGUED, Abra, Sept. 17 (PIA) — The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Abra recently passed a proposed ordinance regulating the use of plastic bags and styrofoams as the province’s contribution to the global action to promote a plastic-free environment.
The proposed ordinance authored by SP Member Kathleen Maria A. Balbin prohibits the use of plastic bags on dry goods and regulates its utilization on wet goods. It further prohibits the use of styrofoam in the province to minimize and eventually eradicate the use of environmental hazard materials.
Said measure was presented in a public hearing held on September 12, 2013 at the Provincial Capitol.
For so long, the use of plastic materials has become a daily practice in society because it is highly convenient, available and practical for packaging commodities and other purposes. Globally, the production of plastic materials dramatically reached 200 billion pounds per year alarming the environment-friendly non-government organizations.
In Abra, the use of plastic bags and styrofoam is rampant as well as cases of improper waste disposal have been observed. During rainy seasons, these solid and non-biodegradable materials which are not properly disposed cause clogging of canals, creeks and other waterways. This is one of the main causes of flash flood in the province especially in some areas of Bangued, the provincial capital.
These adverse effects of using plastic bags and styrofoams moved Balbin to author and sponsor said ordinance prohibiting the use of plastic bags in the province.
During the public hearing Balbin explained that there is a transition period for this ordinance from six months to one year for the conduct of information education campaigns to prepare the people to adjust. She added that they will also conduct info drives to the different municipalities on the use of woven bags (bayong), cloth bags (katsa), paper bags, and other similar materials instead of plastic bags and styrofoam. This way, they will not only help save the environment but also support and promote the local industry.
Willie Princer, sanitary inspector of the local government unit of Licuan-Baay suggested the establishment of sanitary landfills per municipality as well as a centralized landfill for the province for the proper solid waste management and disposal.
Balbin also said that after the final drafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), the council will ask foodchains like Jollibee and Chowking in Bangued to provide alternative materials for packaging rather than styrofoam and plastic materials. (JdP/Ginalyn Brioso/MTBB-PIA CAR,Abra)