HOUSE Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera on Sunday expressed confident the bill banning the use of single-use plastics will finally be approved by the new House leadership.
Herrera expressed optimism about the bill’s prospects after Speaker Lord Allan Velasco vowed to prioritize legislation institutionalizing a nationwide ban on single-use plastic products to tackle plastic pollution.
“I’m glad Speaker Velasco and I are on the same page on the issue of plastic pollution,” Herrera said. “Having the support of no less than the Speaker, I don’t see any reason why the House should not pass the bill.”
Herrera earlier filed House Bill (HB) 3338 banning the use of single-use plastic products to help curb plastic pollution. The bill, along with several similar measures, has been pending with the House committee on ecology since August 2019.
President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte also expressed support for a nationwide ban on single-use plastics during a Cabinet meeting held last year.
According to the 2015 report on plastic pollution by the Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, the Philippines was the third highest source of ocean plastic pollution with an estimated 2.7 million metric tons of plastic waste.
The United Nations (UN), on the other hand, has estimated that land-based sources, including plastic waste that has been blown into rivers and creeks by wind, are responsible for 80 percent of the world’s marine debris.
Single-use plastics, also referred to as disposable plastics, are commonly used for plastic packaging and include items intended fro be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These include, among other items, grocery bags, food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups and cutlery.
Under her bill, Herrera wants the government to regulate the use of plastics by industries to save the environment.
This, as she underscored the need for an “all-encompassing nationwide policy against the use of various single-use plastic products that harm the environment.”
“By implementing a national policy against the use of single-use plastics, the state shall ensure the protection of the environment, prioritize the safety of its citizens, and prove sustainable development across all sectors,” Herrera pointed out.