Make Manila City Plastic-Free #MakeManilaPlasticFree

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Since its ratification in 2012, Ordinance No. 8282 has banned the use of any form of plastic bags on dry goods and regulated its utilization on wet goods in the City of Manila. It also encompasses the use of polystyrene and similar materials as containers for goods. This ordinance, unfortunately, does not encompass single-use plastics such as plastic straws and plastic stirrers. However, the main problem here is the fact that this ordinance is clearly not being implemented—despite being signed seven years ago.

It is both shocking and disappointing to discover that Ordinance No. 8282 has not been fully implemented in the amount of time it has been put into effect. As the nation’s capital, the City of Manila should strictly be enforcing a plastic ban due to it being the center of busy commercial places, big universities, and residential areas. Manila should also be setting an example for the country itself—hopefully starting a chain reaction to turn the entire country plastic-free, and possibly inspire other Asian countries to take action as well.

Plastic pollution can cause problems not only in the local community, but in the international one as well. The Philippines has been found to be among the major contributors to plastic waste in the world’s oceans. Plastic in oceans harms marine life and ecosystems, and although initially it seems that it does not concern us, plastic often also ends up finding its way into the food chain when it is consumed by animals and in turn, humans.

Plastic bans have been implemented in other communities and countries, and this course of action has seen positive effects, with the United Nations even saying that it is among the most effective ways to mitigate pollution. Many Asian countries have plastic bans, but its implementation and enforcement is often weak. Because the Philippines does not yet have an effective waste management system, banning disposable plastics is the current solution for this environmental problem.

This petition demands that the Office of the Mayor of the City of Manila strictly enforce this ordinance, as it is high time that they do so. Plastic pollution causes many problems. Our country experiences an average of twenty typhoons a year—five of which are considered to be destructive. Plastic clogs up waterways which increases the chances of flooding, a natural disaster that causes millions of pesos of damage, brings about diseases and even death. The drastic effects of flooding could be mitigated by reducing the plastic waste that ends up clogging various waterways.

This petition also demands that the City Council should amend or expand Ordinance No. 8282 to encompass single-use plastics and to enforce stricter fines to ensure better compliance. Although it is already a big step to ban the use of plastic bags and polystyrene packaging, expanding the ordinance to ban single-use plastics may be seen as a small or insignificant change but will help in the long run. This reduces the production of plastics that are only used once and thrown in the trash right away, which will consequently add to the plastic pollution problem. This will also reduce the second-hand production of microplastics which are harmful to the environment on a microscopic level as plastic is not biodegradable.

Finally, this petition demands that all commercial establishments and businesses observe this ordinance. Despite the implementation of Ordinance No. 8282, if the establishments under this ordinance do not comply, nothing will happen. This will be counterproductive in many ways as it simply continues to contribute to plastic pollution.

There is no single solution to this serious environmental problem as it demands all of our collective efforts to see positive results. Working together is the best way to ensure that positive change will be achieved.