DUMAGUETE CITY—A total ban on the use of plastic shopping bags, bottles, drinking straw, and Styrofoam in government offices and hospitals is enforced in Negros Oriental province.
Governor Roel Degamo, in an executive order dated July 18 and released to media this week, has ordered the ban in support of the global drive to rid the seas and oceans of plastic pollutants.
His order was also in response to the launching of the Visayas leg of the “Clean Seas Pilipinas” campaign, an initiative of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) together with SmartSeas PH, a Philippine-based non-government organization.
Clean Seas Pilipinas, which was officially launched last July 6 at Silliman University, aims to address the “alarming accumulation” of plastic waste in the Earth’s oceans.
Next to China and Indonesia, the Philippines is the third biggest source of plastic waste that ends in the seas, the governor noted.
“The precarious state of the world’s oceans is a matter of global concern. The international scientific community has issued warnings and calls to action on the urgency of taking measures to protect this ecosystem vital for the survival of life,” he said.
Through this order, provincial employees are expected to set an example to other Negrenses in avoiding the use of plastics, which Degamo believes can only be achieved through a “change in behavior.”
Degamo’s order came two days after the Dumaguete City Government heightened its implementation on the “No Plastic Everyday” policy in the city’s public markets.
Effective last July 16, stricter fines were imposed on customers and stall owners using plastic bags as product packaging.
Also, more enforcers have since been deployed in public markets to ensure that the policy is enforced.
Anyone caught using plastics, except for wet goods such as fish, will be fined P500 for the first offense; P1,000 for the second offense; and P5,000 for the third offense, plus a jail term of not more than six months.
This is Degamo’s second executive order this year aimed at addressing environmental issues in the province.
Last March 28, he issued an EO banning coal-fired power plants in the entire province.
Through the said order, the governor also declared Negros Oriental as an “environment-friendly and clean-energy province.”
He hopes that the earlier EO would encourage the development of renewable energy sources and the use of clean energy. —LBG, GMA News
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