Acting to curb plastic pollution in the country, Senator Cynthia Villar is prioritizing a law that will ban single-use plastics.

Senate Bill No. 333 or the Single-Use Plastic Product Regulation Act of 2019 seeks to regulate the manufacturing, importation, and use of single-use plastic products.

Villar, who is expected to stay on as chairperson of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in the 18th Congress, said the enactment of the bill is urgent in the face of a study showing the Philippines as the world’s third largest producer of plastic wastes that end up in the oceans.

“Plastic pollution poses a grave threat in our food security.”

“With our dependence in agriculture, plastic pollution also poses a grave threat in our food security. Disaster risks and hazards arising from plastic pollution may put farms at risk of flooding resulting in wastage of agricultural products along with its threats to a balanced ecology. Micro plastics leaked in our bodies of water may also put public health at risk as it gets into our food chain,” the veteran legislator said.

A 2015 report on plastic pollution conducted by the international group Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment ranked the Philippines as the third biggest source of plastic leaking into the oceans, following China and Indonesia.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has also warned that if plastic pollution continues, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans. Fish will eat all the plastic and die.

“The practice of buying products in sachets made the plastic waste problem worse.”

The seasoned lawmaker also noted the practice of buying products in sachets has worsened the plastic waste problem.

“Hindi naman natin masisi ang mga tao kung ang kaya lang bilhin ay yung sapat para sa ilang araw lang na gamitan. But we must put pressure on the corporations that produce these products to come up with a program to recycle these wastes and minimize impact on the environment,” the lady senator said.

Under the bill, the issuance of the single-use plastics by food establishments, stores, markets, and retailers will be prohibited. Consumers will also be diverted to use reusable materials and manufacturers will be mandated to collect, recycle and dispose of single-use plastics manufactured and/or in circulation in the general market. Importation of single-use plastics will no longer be allowed.

Violation for business enterprises, micro, small and medium enterprises will have penalties ranging from a fine of P10,000 to 100,000 and suspension or revocation of business permit.

For VAT registered enterprises, establishments, and store, and for all plastic manufacturers found violating this act will have penalties ranging from a fine of P100,000 to P1 million and suspension or revocation of business permit.

The bill also creates a Special Fund for Single-use Plastic Regulation composed of collected tariffs, levies and fees.

Among others, the fund will be used for the establishment of recycling centers, and assistance and incentives for manufacturers and community-based initiatives for the reduction of single-use plastics, as well as for non-government and civil society organizations promoting proper solid waste management.

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