Biazon: Phase out plastics

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Rep. Ruffy Biazon, vice chair of the House Committee on Defense and Security.

A BILL proposing the phase out and eventual ban on single-use plastics was filed on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 by Muntinlupa Representative Ruffy Biazon.

House Bill 7903, entitled “An Act Providing for the Phase-out of Single-Use Plastic Products in the Country”, seeks to institute mechanisms to prevent and reduce the impact of plastic products on the environment and on human health.

A 2015 study conducted by scientists and published in the journal Science revealed that the Philippines ranked third among the top 20 countries based on the mass of mismanaged plastic waste in 2010.

Despite the passage of the Solid Waste Management Act in 2000 and the adoption of ordinances banning plastic bags by local government units, the volume of plastic waste continues to grow and causes pollution in the country’s waters, choking not just the marine life but the ocean itself.

Biazon, an avid scuba diver and marine conservation advocate, has seen first-hand the effect of plastic in the ocean, which has caused death to marine life and destruction of coral reefs. On the shore, waterways and rivers are clogged causing flooding and damage in certain areas.

The senior legislator believes that existing laws are not enough to reduce the plastic waste introduced into the environment. He said that while the ban on plastic shopping bags was a landmark law, there is a need to go further and specifically target the single use plastic products which go directly into the environment.

As defined in the bill, single use plastic products are those that are “made wholly or partly from plastic and that is not conceived, designed or placed on the market to accomplish, within its life span, multiple trips or rotation by being returned to the producer for refill or reused for the same purpose for which it was conceived such as, but not limited to, plastic straws, plastic cups and lids, shrink wrap and other packaging for products.”

The bill provides for the adoption of a phase-out plan within six months after its passage with a total ban to be implemented three years after the effectivity of the law. The phase-out plan shall have the following components, at the minimum:

1. Consumption Reduction Program
2. Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes
3. Biodegradable Alternatives for Single-Use Plastic Products
4. Fiscal and Non-Fiscal Rewards and Incentives
5. Separate Collection Plan
6. Awareness-Raising Measures and Information Campaign

The proposed law is directed towards the supply of the single-use plastics, specifically those who sell and distribute to other businesses and retail customers. Violators of the law will be penalized with fines and even suspension of permits to conduct business.

Biazon believes that the passage of a law against single use plastic (SUP) is not only timely but urgent, given the damage that SUP is causing to the environment.

“The oceans are drowning in plastic. We must act now. Otherwise, we will be contributing to the faster demise of the oceans, end eventually, the planet,” Biazon said.

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