House panel to come up with single-use plastics ban

BOAC, Marinduque – A technical working group looking into several proposals prohibiting the single-use plastic products filed with the House of Representatives is moving towards banning the non-essential single-use plastics in the country in order to promote and preserve a safe and healthy environment, according to Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

The TWG led by Velasco met on Tuesday to discuss the consolidated bills aiming to regulate the production, importation, sale, provision, use, recovery, collection, recycling and disposal of single-use plastic products.

The TWG is under the House Committee on Ecology, which is headed by Zamboanga Rep. Glona Labadlabad.

Velasco, who chairs the House Committee on Energy, is a proponent of one of 33 bills filed in Congress seeking to ban the single-use plastics, in accordance with the provision of the Constitution that mandates the State to “protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”

The Marinduque lawmaker’s bill, House Bill No. 2396 or the Ban of Single-Use Plastics Act, is also in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement to prohibit the use of plastics nationwide.

“The direction of the TWG is to ban the non-essential single-use plastics and to clarify that other plastic products should be regulated and as much as possible, recovered and recycled/re-used,” Velasco said.

“We will try our best to come up with a bill that will ensure a healthy and safe environment for the generations to come,” he added, as he called on stakeholders to submit their position papers to help the panel craft a “very balanced bill.”

The final version of the proposal will incorporate the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) to ensure the retrievability of plastics, according to Velasco, a certified diver himself who have witnessed the extent of the environmental damage caused by plastics.

Under the definition of the Overseas Economic Cooperation and Development, EPR is a policy approach in which producers are given the financial or physical responsibility for the treatment and disposal of post-consumer products to prevent wastes at the source, promote product design for the environment, and achieve public recycling and materials management goals.

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