Authorities have approved a ban on single-use plastics in hotels and restaurants in Quezon City, Philippines.
Quezon city Mayor, Joy Belmonte said yesterday (Sunday) that single-use plastics and disposable materials will soon be banned under the City Ordinance No. 2876.
The ordinance forbids hotel and restaurant establishments from either using or distributing single-use plastics and disposable materials including cutlery.
“The use of throw-away plates, spoons, forks, cups and other plastic and paper disposables for dinning purposes will soon be banned in hotels and restaurants in Quezon City,” revealed Belmonte during a joint press conference with the Quezon City Government.
In the same press conference attended by EcoWaste Coalition-an environmental group, Belmonte said the intervention was long overdue, calling upon the relevant authorities to approve the ordinance.
“The local government of Quezon City is taking this action to prevent and reduce the generation on waste materials that are hardly recovered and recycled, and to promote sustainable practices in the hotel and restaurant industry,” she continued.
As the ban becomes imminent, Belmonte was optimistic that there would be a significant reduction in the amount of residual and plastic waste in the city once the rules and regulations of the ordinance are duly promulgated.
The mayor said: “This will be beneficial for the environment and people as these avoidable wastes are known to add to the city’s huge waste production and to littering and flooding problems.”
Councillor Dorothy Delarmente who also attended the press conference pointed out that “the enactment of this measure and its subsequent enforcement is essential amid the clamour against throw-away materials, both plastic and paper-based, which go straight to the bin after being used for just few minutes.”
Delarmente, who also chairs the City Council’s Committee on Parks and Environment is quoted by Chito Chavez stressing that: “In this ordinance, paper alternatives for plastic cups, plates and straws are not considered an option since these are not recyclable, but disposable.”
The national coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, Aileen Lucero, said the pollution prevention ordinance against plastic and paper disposables was a step in the right direction.
“This action from the ground should encourage the speedy approval of a robust national legislation phasing out single-use plastics and other disposables to advance the consumption and production agenda in the country.”
The chairman of the Mother Earth Foundation, Sonia Mendoza, asked other local governments to borrow a leaf from Quezon City and pass similar rules to address the proliferation of throw-away packaging like single-use plastics which constitute a major obstacle in community efforts to reach the Zero Waste Goal.
The single-use and disposable materials that are not allowed for dinning in the city hotels and restaurants include plastic forks, spoons, knives, cups, plates and paper. Others are straws and Styrofoam.
According to Delarmente, hotels are also prohibited from distributing shampoos and conditioners, bar and liquid soaps, shower gels and others used for hygienic purposes in sachets and single-use containers.
The ban on the distribution and use of the items in question will take effect by February, 2020. Non-complaint establishments will be fined.
Also, retailers will implement a total ban on the distribution of plastic bags by January 1, 2020. One year later, after effecting the ordinance, the distribution of brown bags will also be prohibited.
A survey conducted by the Quezon City’s Waste Analysis and Characterisation Study in 2013 showed that 0.81 per cent of the recyclable plastic waste generated by the city comprised of single use cutlery.
These included plastic spoons, forks and cups; making an equivalent of 2.6 tonnes per day or approximately one truck load of a mini-dumper truck.
Quezon City is the most densely populated city in the Philippines with a population of 2.9 million people.