QC no-plastic bags campaign paying off

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Quezon City ’s effort to reduce the use of plastic bags in the city is paying off.

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Based on the monitoring report submitted by city-based retailers and commercial establishments to the QC Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (EPWMD), about two million pieces of used plastic bags have already been recovered from the waste stream since the enactment of the ordinance in April 2012.

The report also indicates the collection of more than P60 million worth of green fund that is being derived from the imposition of the P2 plastic recovery system fee on consumers who do not have “reusable bags” or redeem “used plastic bags” for a new plastic bag.

Mayor Herbert Bautista, during a forum hosted by the EPWMD at Richmonde Hotel in Eastwood City , said the recovery of the two million used plastic bags would mean “two million less plastics finding its way into canals, drainage system, rivers and creeks that may greatly help in reducing flooding incidents in the city.”

Bautista also said that the recovery effort also saved Quezon City some spaces in the city’s landfill facility in Payatas.

The mayor also said the green fund generated from the ordinance can be used by retailers for the development of various environmental initiatives that will have a positive impact on the environment and will greatly redound to the benefit of city residents.

Among the initiatives being considered will be the greening of the city’s center islands, development of green pockets as well as the installation of utilization of green technologies such as rainwater harvesting system, solar panels and green transport.

“Let us make it known that the proceeds of the green fund is properly utilized by making our constituents experience the changes brought about by these programs and projects,” Bautista said.

To guide retailers on the programs and projects that can be implemented, EPWMD head Frederika Rentoy said the city government, in consultation with the city development council, the barangays and city departments and offices, has already come up with a list of projects that they could consider implementing.

Councilor Dorothy Delarmente, principal author of the city’s Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance, said retailers play a very important role in the success of the measure. “By using your respective green fund for various environmental projects, the people and the consumers will realize that the fees they are paying are not wasted. This will make them feel that they are also part of the bigger picture in the protection of the environment,” Delarmente said.

Aside from the plastic bag reduction ordinance, another notable QC environmental legislation is the formulation of the city’s environment code, through the efforts of Councilor Gian Carlo Sotto.

The city’s environment code, which provides for a consolidated and updated record of city ordinances on environment, was signed by Bautista during the forum.

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