Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu is “seriously considering” a ban on single-use plastic items in Aklan’s Boracay Island to address its growing garbage problem.
The prohibition of the use of single-use plastic products would not only help solve the island’s solid waste problem but also plastic pollution that threatens its marine environment, he said.
“Plastic, particularly those for single-use packaging, has greatly contributed to the degradation of the environment,” he said.
“Plastic pollution continues to poison our oceans and injure marine life. When not properly disposed, they clog waterways and cause flooding,” he added.
Hotels must be encouraged to use dispensers for their liquid soap, shampoo, and conditioner, while stores would be asked to sell condiments, such as soy sauce, vinegar, and cooking oil, through refilling stations, he pointed out.
“Let us go back to basics. We used to bring a glass bottle to the variety store when we buy cooking oil and vinegar. Let’s do the same now,” he said.
According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources chief, the pollution-challenged island generates an estimated 90 to 115 tons of garbage a day, but only 30 to 40 tons are hauled out to mainland Malay, Aklan.
A large portion of Boracay’s trash is composed of single-use plastic products, such as grocery bags, toothbrush, bottled water, sachets of shampoo and condiments, and soap wrappers, among others.
DENR’s National Solid Waste Management Commission executive director Eligio Ildefonso said he supports the ban on single-use plastic items not only in Boracay, but all over the country.
“Single-use plastic is what its name says, for single-use. It cannot be recycled and reused. People have no motivation to recover it. It has no further use so it should be discouraged,” he noted.
He encouraged the use of eco-bags when buying wet and dry goods.
“Eco-bags can be reused. You can wash them. They do not contribute to solid waste,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of the island’s operations on April 26 for at least six month to pave the way for a rehabilitation from environmental degradation mainly due to garbage and wastewater problems.
Last year, Cimatu ordered the removal of at least 20,000 cubic meters of residual waste from Boracay’s materials recovery facility in Barangay Manoc-Manoc, which was used as an open dump.