LEGAZPI CITY, May 31 (PNA) -- The ordinance banning the use of plastic bags, polystyrene and other synthetic packaging materials takes effect on Friday, June 1, in the entire province of Albay.
The anti-plastic ordinance would be strictly enforced starting this June, said Board Member Arnold Embestro, the Committee on Environment chairperson.
He said the ban on plastic would be strictly enforced after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) gave a one-year moratorium to commercial establishments in the 15 towns and three cities of the province.
The anti-plastic ordinance (SP ordinance 2011-3) was passed and signed by Albay Governor Joey Salceda last February 21, 2011, prohibiting the use of plastic bags, polystyrene and other synthetic fabrics as packaging materials for goods sold by supermarkets, groceries, stores and other commercial establishments in Albay.
Albay is the first province in Bicol to pass an ordinance banning the use of plastic bags and other synthetic packaging materials that is harmful to the environment.
The ordinance directs owners of groceries, department stores, supermarkets, chain retailers including sari-sari stores not to use plastic, Styrofoam and synthetic materials as packaging bags for goods sold to customers.
Embestro said they also appealed to the public to use or bring along during their shopping alternative bags made of paper, cloth, abaca, buri and other recyclable and environment friendly materials.
The ordinance carries a fine ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 including the cancellation of the business permit.
Embestro expects that the ordinance would be carried out smoothly after holding a series information drives, dialogues, consultation with the public, stakeholders and law enforcement agencies.
Environmentalists claim that the use of plastic bags and other synthetic materials, although convenient, are responsible for causing pollution and harmful effects to the environment.
Plastic bags end up as litters, they find their ways into waterways, river channels, parks, beaches and streets.
Once burned, they infuse the air with toxic fumes.
One of the worst environmental effects of plastic bags is that they are non-biodegradable, decomposition of plastic bags takes about 400 years.
Plastic bags kills animals, many animals ingest plastic bags, mistaking them for food, the toxic materials remains intact that it kills them.
As this developed, another milestone environment ordinance signed by Salceda this month was the Albay Smoke Free Ordinance, authored by Provincial Board Members Herbert Borja and Niel Montallana.
Salceda signed Provincial Ordinance 10-2012, otherwise know as "An ordinance regulating the use, sale, distribution and advertisement of cigarettes and other tabacco products, imposing penalties therefore in the province of Albay."
The ordinance would take effect on the last quarter of this year, Borja chairman of the SP committee on health.
Borja said the legislative measure aims to protect and promote the right to health of the people in doing so the ordinance prohibits smoking in public, private places whether enclosed or outdoor.
It also prohibits the purchase and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors, likewise it imposes restrictions on advertising, promotion and sponsorship activities of tobacco companies.
Borja in an interview said the Albay Smoke Free Ordinance is a "model ordinance" the first anti-smoking ordinance to be passed in the Bicol region and the third province in the country to implement a total ban on cigarette smoking.
He said before the provincial ordinance was crafted and passed, similar Smoke Free Ordinances were passed and enforced in the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao, and the towns of Daraga and Guinobatan. (PNA) DCT/LAM/LQ/MSA/cbd/ebp