Subic Bay Freeport—Single-use plastics that are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled will no longer be allowed in workplaces of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the agency has banned single-use plastics as part of its solution to the growing global problem of pollution.
Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, include plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, and soda and water bottles, which form most food packaging.
“We should show good example and walk the talk,” Eisma said in a Sept. 19 advisory to SBMA employees.
“I implore everyone in SBMA to refrain from using single-use plastics in their workplace,” she added.
Canteens, stores and other food establishments in SBMA buildings have already been advised not to use plastic articles anymore, Eisma added.
Exempted from this regulation are goods in original plastic packaging, but these cannot be placed in a new plastic bag or container upon purchase by consumers.
SBMA will urge business locators here to join the “strawless” campaign, the recyclables collection program, and cooperate in an intensified anti-littering drive that will be implemented this October to strengthen the agency’s War on Waste campaign.
Eisma said single-use plastics account for most of marine pollution in the Subic Bay area, as could be seen from the trash that periodically piles up on the Freeport’s coastline after typhoons or heavy rains.
“These plastic items are not only pollutive and harmful to wildlife and humans alike, but they also become an eyesore that negatively impact on the image of Subic as a world-class Freeport,” Eisma said.
“There is already a standing ban on the use of plastic bags and Styrofoam packaging in the whole Subic Freeport, and now we are backing this up with the ban on single-use plastics and our strawless campaign because there is really an urgent need to save the environment—and this includes public health—from further degradation,” she added.
According to SBMA Ecology Center manager Amethya dela Llana, the intensified no-littering policy aims to stop the dumping or throwing of garbage, rubbish or any kind of waste in parks, roads, beaches, forests, rivers, streams, or on any open or public place in the Freeport.
It also makes it illegal for anybody to urinate, defecate or spit in public places, or throw cigarette butts anywhere in public areas.
Dela Llana added that it would also be illegal to dispose of litter from a boat or ship into a water body, and to transport uncovered, spilling, or leaking waste or waste containers within the Freeport Zone.
The SBMA has set penalties for violators of the anti-littering rule: P1,500 for individual offenders and pet handlers, who would have the option to render four hours of community service instead; and P50,000 for companies or establishments per day until the violation is corrected.
The public is enjoined to report incidents of littering, as well as particulars like the license plate number of violators, to the SBMA Law Enforcement Department at 911 (landline) or 9111 (mobile) or to the “No Kalat” Hotline at 0917-6852528.