The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced Wednesday that plastic soft drink straws and coffee stirrers would be banned in the Philippines soon, as the world celebrates International Straw Free Day.
According to DENR, the plastic straws and stirrers were included in the list of non-environmentally acceptable products (NEAP) as declared by the National Solid Waste Management Commission on Tuesday.
The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 or Republic Act 9003 states that items included in the NEAP should be banned as scheduled by the Commission.
“I am elated that after 20 years since the birth of RA 9003, the NEAP listing has now commenced,” DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said.
“This is long overdue and we need to catch up with the demand of solid waste management in our country.”
DENR said the resolution was passed despite some Commission members opposed it like the Department of Trade and Industry, and the manufacturing and recycling sectors.
“We have long been fighting for and we are committed in having a NEAP list to comply with the law to combat environmental damage,” Antiporda said.
“The prohibition on these two single-use plastic items may be small steps in the NEAP listing, but it is a big leap when it comes to compliance with the provisions of RA 9003,” he added.
Plastic straws, stirrers to be banned in PH soon – DENR
According to Eco-Busines, “After China and Indonesia, the Philippines ranks as the world’s third biggest polluter, with 2.7 million metric tonnes of plastic waste generated each year.”
“Although the Philippines has a high garbage collection rate among Southeast Asian countries, rubbish is not properly disposed of, according to a 2018 study of waste management practices in the region,” it added.
Meanwhile, Urbanlinks reported that a “staggering 2.7 million tons of plastic waste are generated in the Philippines each year, 20 percent of which is estimated to end up in the ocean.”
Since 2016, USAID‘s Municipal Waste Recycling Program (MWRP) has been working with grantees in the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia to reduce land-based sources of ocean plastic pollution.