OLONGAPO CITY — The local government of Olongapo has prohibited the sale and use of plastic bags and styrofoam packaging products in the city as part of local efforts to protect the environment and prevent floods.
Mayor Rolen Paulino said that plastic bags and styrofoam products are among the most numerous kind of garbage collected during the annual citywide shoreline and river cleanup here.
“They are also two of the main reasons why our drainage clogs up. That is why we opted to ban these products in the city,” he explained.
Paulino also urged city residents to support the ban to make the campaign successful.
“Kailangan namin ng tulong na mga residente. ‘Pag nakita sana nila na gumagamit pa rin ng plastic bags or styro ‘yung tindahan, pagsabihan na nila o i-report sa aking opisina. Hindi lang naman ang lokal na pamahalaan ang makikinabang dito, buong Olongapo lalong lalo na ang mga maliiliit na bata,” he said.
Paulino also formed a task force composed of personnel from the local government to monitor and implement the said ban.
The ban on plastic bags and styrofoam started January 1, after a gradual implementation last year.
Under City Ordinance No. 11, series of 2015, violators will be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and P5,000 plus cancelation of business permit for the third offense.
The ban started in the 3rd quarter of 2016, with the prohibition implemented only on Wednesdays, followed by a two-day ban each week in the 4th quarter on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The ordinance encouraged residents to use recyclable or eco bags, native bayong, and biodegradable plastic, paper cups and paper food containers as replacement for the banned materials.
Mayor Paulino further explained that the gradual implementation of the ban last year was the request of local business establishments since they have already stocked on plastic bags for their use.
“But now the honeymoon is over. We need to adhere to the law and I am very positive that we can achieve this goal by helping each other,” Paulino added.