Press Release
September 3, 2011

Legarda Hails House for Approving Plastic Bags Regulation Act
on Third and Final Reading

Senate Committee on Climate Change chair Loren Legarda hailed the House of Representatives for approving on third and final reading the Plastic Bag Regulation Act of 2011, which aims to phase out the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags by supermarkets, department stores, groceries, convenience stores, food chains, restaurants, sari-sari stores and other commercial establishments.

"Now that the House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading their version of the bill banning non-biodegradable plastic bags, I call on my colleagues in the Senate to speed up work on the bill that I filed, Senate Bill 2759 or the Total Plastic Bag Ban Act of 2011," Legarda said.

Similar to House Bill 4840 or the Plastic Bag Regulation Act of 2011 of the Lower House, Legarda also proposed that commercial establishments be prohibited from using non-biodegradable plastic bags under SB 2759.

Legarda's Total Plastic Bag Ban Act, which she filed on March 29, 2011, was taken up by the plenary on first reading and referred to be tackled jointly by the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on May 9.

"Plastic bags end up as litter as it makes its way to landfills, drainages and bodies of water, like Pasig River and Manila Bay, and take decades to decompose, damaging marine life. This issue of pollution is further aggravated by natural hazards, which have become unpredictable due to climate change," said Legarda.

"For instance, Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 clearly showed that plastic bags severely worsened the flooding in Metro Manila and made post-cleanup very difficult," she added.

Under Legarda's proposed bill, the penalty for violators include: a fine of P10,000 for the first offense; P50,000 for the second offense; and P200,000 as well as one year suspension of business permit for the third offense.

"As the problems of pollution, environmental degradation and severe weather shifts escalate, all sectors of society must act with dispatch. Individuals must make conscious efforts to change our daily routine and practices to produce a positive impact on our environment. Companies must change their economic mindset, wasteful production processes and packaging methods--from the use of seemingly cost-effective plastic bags into investing in long-term reusable and recyclable bags which are more sustainable in the long run," Legarda concluded.

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