Shoppers using plastic bags may soon pay fee

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BACOLOD City – Consumers who opt to use plastic bags when purchasing goods may soon pay an environmental fee.

City Ordinance (CO) No. 562 which regulates the use, sale and provision of plastic bags as packaging material may be amended to include the payment of an environmental fee, according to Councilor Em Ang.

The money collected may be used to fund environment-related projects, said Ang who chairs the Sangguniang Panlunsgod (SP) committee on environment and ecology.

CO No. 562 prohibits fast-food outlets, market vendors, food kiosks, sari-sari stores, and the likes from selling or providing plastic bags to their customers.

They are instead required to provide “recyclable, reusable and/or biodegradable packaging” for free.

These alternative packaging materials include reusable bags, bayongs, cloth bags, shopping bags made from recycled wastepaper, and other bags made out of biodegradable materials like banana leaves, taro leaves and corn stalk, among others, the ordinance stated.

CO No. 562 was approved in 2011. But due to lack of manpower, its implementation had lapses, said Ang.

Aside from the imposition of environment fee, Ang said they are also planning to create a special team that will monitor environmental law compliance in the city.

The team will be composed of city hall employees and members of nongovernment organizations, she added.

These proposals were made in a multi-consultative meeting that Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran called.

Members of the SP committee on environment and ecology, the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Bacolod and several environment advocate groups attended the meeting./PN

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