Congressman Rufino B. Biazon, representative of the Lone District of Muntinlupa City, has introduced a bill that would require companies to phase out single use plastic products, including such things as plastic straws, plastic cups and lids, shrink wrap and other plastic used to encase products.

These single-use plastic satchets can be upcycled to create products, such as a pallet.

If and when House Bill #546 becomes law, companies, grocery stores, restaurants, public markets, fast food chains, department stores and retail stores would have three years to phase out the sale and use of single-use plastics or face fines of up to Php200,000 pesos and suspension of license to operate as a business.

“The Philippines produces 2.7 million tons of plastic annually, of which 521 Thousand tons are leaked to the ocean,” Cong. Biazon wrote on his Facebook page when he introduced the bill on July 3, International Plastic Bag Free Day. “The surprising thing about this is that 74% of the leakage comes from plastic waste that was collected. It means that even though we collect the plastic waste, a huge percentage still leaks into the ocean, contributing to the choking of the marine environment.”

Biazon’s bill calls for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Finance and the Department of Science And Technology, to work together and devise a phase out plan. These government entities would commence working on such a plan within six months of the passage of the bill.

“Government should adopt more aggressive policies that will reverse the self-destruction that we are inflicting on ourselves through uncontrolled plastic production and use, absence of a genuine system of collection and management of plastic waste and recycling/upcycling mechanisms embodied in a comprehensive program of plastic waste reduction,” Biazon said.

Some of the provisions in the bill include the involvement of local government units, or LGUs. The LGUs would be tasked with employing a separate collection system of waste single-use plastic products. The role of ensuring that waste single-use plastics are collected separately would be the responsibility fo the barangays and barangay councils.

” As we continue to look for ways and approaches on how to deal with plastic pollution, we will file proposals as we go along, with the hope that we can undo what decades of plastic production and use have done to our environment,” Biazon said.