Thursday, June 27, 2013

Makati Central Business District Implements Plastic Ban, Goes Full Force Against Violators

My office mates and I work in Makati, and it's part of our routine to buy food and drinks in Landmark or Greenbelt during lunch break. This week, we noticed something different from the norm.

 The Starbucks Paper Cup
(Source: 1)

When we go to McDonald's, Wendy's, or Starbucks, they serve iced drinks in paper cups instead of plastic ones--and they don't have plastic straws. This was in addition to the paper bags they already packed take out orders in. They also packed food in paper instead of Styrofoam containers.

 Plastic bags no longer allowed in Makati
(Source: 2)

After doing some research, I found out that the Makati Central Business District banned the use of plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam food containers last June 20, 2013. Apparently, this rule was already in the making since nine years ago. And nine years is more than enough time for establishments to prepare for the law's implementation.

 A restaurant throws away its plastic cups
(Source: 3)

The law states that individual violators will be fined P1,000 or be imprisoned for 5 to 30 days (or both). Meanwhile, establishments will be fined P5,000 and the company owner imprisoned for 30 days to a year. Moreover establishments that violate the law will have their business permits revoked.

The law also states that village halls must have marked plastic bag recovery bins at their entrances and exits. Residents must also be able to drop-off their plastic bags there.

This ordinance was created in order to prevent the indiscriminate throwing of plastic and Styrofoam, which clog up the city's drainage systems. If implemented well, the effort will prevent the city's flooding during the rainy season.

Many Against the Plastic Ban

Although this move is seen by many as something beneficial to the environment, business, and the general welfare of Makati denizens, there are others who are against the plastic ban.

 Plastic manufacturer against the plastic (usage) ban. Claims their plastics are oxo-degradable
(Source: 4)

Restaurant consumers complain that it is difficult to take out food in paper containers, especially foods with plenty of sauce. Paper bags and containers also have the tendency to get soggy and tear when wet, which happens a lot during the rainy season.

Using paper instead of plastic a necessary inconvenience?
(Source: 5)

Smaller establishments are also having difficulty acquiring quality paper packaging for use in their stores, as opposed to bigger restaurant chains like McDonald's an Starbucks, for example.

"Recyclable" plastic manufacturers insist on the environment friendliness of their plastics, while other groups insist that using paper (instead of plastic) will do more damage to our environment.

 Will using paper instead of plastic cause more deforestation?
(Source: 6)

Still, I believe that nine years of warning is way more than enough for companies both big and small, individually owned or owned by a corporation--and even for consumers--to prepare themselves for the law's implementation.

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