Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis N. Tolentino lauded the City of Muntinlupa for implementing an ordinance against the use of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials by all business establishments.
Effective Tuesday (January 18), the City of Muntinlupa started implementing Ordinance No. 10-109, otherwise known as “an ordinance prohibiting the use of plastic bags on dry goods, regulating its utilization on wet goods, and prohibiting the use of Styrofoam” in Muntinlupa City.
It is the first city in Metro Manila to ban the use of plastic bags for wet and dry goods and Styrofoam/ styrophor as food containers.
In passing the Ordinance, the Muntinlupa City Council noted that disposed plastic bags and other non-biodegradable containers are the major causes of flash floods in the city during heavy rains as it clogged canals, three creeks, 11 rivers and other waterways that all drain into the nearby Laguna Lake.
“I laud the City Government of Muntinlupa, under the visionary leadership of Mayor Aldrin San Pedro for initiating this bold move for the sake of our environment,” the MMDA Chairman said. He added that he would push for the adoption of this measure as a model ordinance to be adopted by the fifteen other cities and one municipality comprising Metropolitan Manila, and exhorted other mayors throughout the Philippines to do the same.
The Muntinlupa ordinance bans polystyrene containers, commonly known as “Styrofoam” or “Styropor” for foodstuffs, drinks and other goods. Violators will be meted a fine, while business establishments found violating the ordinance may have their licenses to operate cancelled for up to one year.
Polystyrene is a petroleum-based plastic with insulation properties and is used in all types of products such as beverage cups and food containers.
A 1986 US Environmental Protection Agency report on solid waste named the polystyrene manufacturing process as the 5th largest creator of hazardous waste. The process of making polystyrene is reported to pollute the air and create large amounts of solid and liquid waste.
Toxic chemicals leach out of these products into the food that they contain, especially when heated in a microwave. These chemicals threaten human health and reproductive systems.
Polystyrene foam is often dumped into the environment as litter which breaks up into pieces that choke animals and clog their digestive systems.
Cities and counties such as Taiwan, Portland (USA) and Orange County, CA have outlawed polystyrene foam.
“The MMDA strongly encourages local government units to adopt similar strong measures such as these to combat the dangerous effects of environmental degradation which leads to massive flooding and climate change,” said the MMDA Chair, noting that the damages wrought by Typhoon Ondoy on Metro Manila and its neighboring towns and cities reached up to US$ 4 Billion. “The tragic loss of lives and loved ones is unquantifiable,” he added.