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Out of the way, plastic!

Egay Uy .

A VERY welcome move of the city government through the implementors of  environmental laws, the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office (Clenro) led by Engr. Armen Cuenca, is the stricter regulations on the use of plastic bags in all business establishments and public markets in the City.

This was recently announced by city administrator Teddy Sabuga-a Jr., as pursuant to City Ordinance No. 13378-2018, the Integrated Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance of Cagayan de Oro City.

In sum, the prohibition is for businesses to use plastic sando bags and other forms of packaging materials for dry goods or cooked food. There are however exceptions – plastic bags with no handles used to wrap unpacked meat and poultry products, marine products, fresh fruits, and vegetables of supermarkets and public market to ensure food safety. Also allowed is the use of plastic bags that are recyclable and reusable as alternative packaging materials.

Pre-packed food products should also no longer be wrapped or placed in allowed plastic to avoid redundancy of packaging thus further reducing the use of plastics.

Businesses are also encouraged to promote “Bring Your Own Bag” and offer incentives to those who do. I recall this was among the major promotions of local major grocery outlets in the city a few years back but it somehow died a natural death.

When I was involved in the oversight functions over the City Economic Enterprise Department at the outset of Mayor Moreno’s term as mayor way back in 2013, the use of plastic packaging materials has always been a major concern in the maintenance of the drainage systems in both Cogon and Carmen Markets.

The late Engr. Peter Abejuela, one of my more active partners then, had this predicament of consistently de-clogging the drainage system of the public markets because plastic packaging materials have always blocked what appeared to be sub-standard drainage canals.

Because of this repeated wanton disposal of plastic packaging materials in the markets, I even suggested that the various sections in the market that use plastic packaging materials be required to use assigned colors only so that it would have been easier to pinpoint which part of the markets, both the sellers and buyers, repeatedly defied instructions and regulations on the use of plastic, hence corrective measures would be readily aimed at areas whose plastic materials clogged the drainage canals more.

The passage of City Ordinance No. 13378-2018 will hopefully ease up drains not only the public markets but all over the city as well. We all know that what clogs the drainage system in the city are not only plastic bags but all other wastes thrown by irresponsible citizens just anywhere without regard to the effect of their acts.

We all can do our share to help in this endeavor. Say goodbye to plastics.


(Lawyer Egay Uy is co-chairman of the city price coordinating council.)


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