QC resumes citywide ban on plastic bags, single-use plastics 

By Susan G. De Leon

CALOOCAN CITY, Feb. 15 (PIA) — The Quezon City Government will resume on March 1, 2021, its full implementation of the citywide plastic bag ban, by virtue of City Ordinance 2868-2019, to be led by its Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (EPWMD).

The city already implemented the ban in January 2020, but was temporarily lifted in May 2020 through the issuance of the city’s Localized Guidelines for Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) and its succeeding versions.

“There is a pressing need to strengthen the City’s efforts in response to the global movement to reduce plastic wastes. Our call to action is also in fulfillment of the City’s international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase climate resilience. With the re-implementation of the plastic bag ban, we hope to promote sustainable practices in the city,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

As stated in Mayor Belmonte’s memorandum, all shopping malls, supermarkets, fast food chains, drug stores and other retailers registered under the Business Permits and Licensing Department should cease the distribution and/or provision of plastic bags to their customers.

“We will not allow the retailers to use plastic bags anymore at the check out counters. Kailangan nang magdala ng mamimili ng sarili nilang reusable bags,” Mayor Belmonte added.

The use of brown paper bags in groceries and other retail stores will only be allowed this year. Starting 2022, it will also be prohibited as part of the full implementation of the ordinance.

Further, the city will also be enforcing the ban on the distribution of disposable and single use plastics in restaurants and hotels for dine in transactions starting July 1, 2021. Its implementation was also deferred through the MECQ guidelines.

As stated in City Ordinance 2876-2019, restaurants are prohibited from distributing single-use plastic/ disposable materials to their dine-in customers such as plastic spoon and fork, knives, plastic/ paper cups, plates, plastic/ paper straws, coffee stirrers and other disposable materials and styrofoam.

Hotels, on the other hand, are also not allowed to distribute soap, shampoo, shower gels, liquid soap, conditioners, and other items used for hygienic purposes in sachets and single-use containers.

Restaurants and hotels should also submit their transition plans, including health and safety protocols, to the EPWMD on or before May 31, 2021.

For food delivery and take away orders, Food establishments are also encouraged to adopt a “By-request protocol”, where they ask their customers if they need single-use plastic utensils and condiment sachets before providing it to them.

Food delivery applications such as Grab Food and Food Panda are also requested to consider incorporating the protocol to positively contribute in the plastic waste reduction program of the city.

EPWMD Head Andrea Villaroman also stressed health and safety protocols.

“We would also like to remind the public that eco bags or reusable bags should be properly disinfected before and after use in groceries and markets. We are also encouraging the public to use their own eating utensils in their homes and offices as they consume their take away food,” Villaroman said.

The city will also be deputizing enforcers that will check each establishment’s compliance to the ordinances.

Based on both ordinances, that were authored by Councilor Dorothy Delarmente, businesses who fail to implement the law will be penalized; a fine of P1,000 for first offense; P3,000 fine and revocation of environmental clearance and issuance of cease and desist order by the BPLD for second offense; and a fine of P5,000 and revocation of the Business Permit and issuance of closure order for the third offense. (PIA NCR)