Philippines financial capital bans plastic bags

Jun 20, 2013
Local residents are seen near a rubbish dump site in Manila, on June 19, 2013. The Philippines financial capital, Makati City, banned disposable plastic shopping bags and styrofoam food containers on June 20, as part of escalating efforts across the nation's capital to curb rubbish that exacerbates deadly flooding.

The Philippines financial capital banned disposable plastic shopping bags and styrofoam food containers on Thursday, as part of escalating efforts across the nation's capital to curb rubbish that exacerbates deadly flooding.

After a widespread publicity campaign leading up to the ban, Makati protection officers began handing out fines of 5,000 pesos ($115) to shops and supermarkets caught distributing the items.

"We have already seen a lot of cases. We have issued a lot of tickets," one of the environment officers, Danny Villas, told AFP.

While Makati, one of 17 cities or districts that make up Metro Manila, still allows food to be wrapped in plastic, it has banned the bags that shops and restaurants traditionally issue for free.

Styrofoam and plastic cups are also banned.

Consumers are given the option of paper alternatives or not using any bags, with encouraging shoppers to bring their own.

Team leader Xenelit Camarce, who was inspecting a public market, said there had been strong resistance to the ban, particularly among the poor.

"A lot of people, especially those sidewalk vendors, they are still using it. But the ones really complaining are the customers, those buying fish and chicken. They get angry when they are accosted," she said.

Employees of a fast food store put plastic cups into a trash bag, in Manila's financial district Makati City, on June 20, 2013. Makati City has banned disposable plastic shopping bags and styrofoam food containers as part of escalating efforts across the nation's capital to curb rubbish that exacerbates deadly flooding.

Makati is home to many of the country's foreign embassies, biggest corporations and banks, swankiest and about 2,900 restaurants.

Although its official population is just over 600,000, this swells to about 3.7 million in the daytime when thousands of travel to the area to work, city officials said.

Makati became the ninth out of the 17 areas to issue the ban, meaning 6.7 million of Metro Manila's population of 13 million people are covered by the restrictions.

Prexy Macana, project officer of Makati's environmental services department, said cutting down on plastic was vital to stop the clogging of the city's waterways, which is widely blamed for contributing to floods.

"During our bi-monthly wastewater clean-ups, we found most of the garbage is plastics," she said.

June is the start of the rainy season in the Philippines, and Metro Manila has already endured heavy flooding, although none deadly.

The worst floods to hit the capital in recent years occurred in 2009, when Tropical Storm Ketsana submerged more than 80 percent of the city and claimed about 400 lives.

Another 100 people died in August last year when heavy lashed the city for more than a week.

Explore further: Indians rally against climate change ahead of UN talks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

India's capital widens ban on plastic bags

Nov 23, 2012

The Delhi government imposed a blanket ban on the use of all plastic bags on Friday in an attempt to tackle the city's mounting rubbish problems, an official said.

China to step up fight against plastic addiction

May 29, 2011

China will expand a ban on free shopping bags, state media said, as it tries to further curb its addiction to plastic in a bid to rid the country of "white pollution" that clogs waterways, farms and fields.

Philippine floods a man-made disaster: experts

Aug 09, 2012

Deadly floods that have swamped nearly all of the Philippine capital are less a natural disaster and more the result of poor planning, lax enforcement and political self-interest, experts say.

Recommended for you

World greenhouse emissions threaten warming goal

3 hours ago

Emissions of greenhouse gases are rising so fast that within one generation the world will have used up its margin of safety for limiting global warming to 2°C (3.6°F), an international team of scientists ...

Tens of thousands join London climate march

3 hours ago

Tens of thousands of people in London joined a global day of protest Sunday to demand action on climate change, among them British actress Emma Thompson who said the challenge to save the planet was like ...

UN summit to test commitment to climate fund

3 hours ago

A global fund created to spearhead climate change financing faces a key test at a UN summit this week when it looks to the leaders of the industrialised world to stump up billions of dollars to fill its underflowing ...

User comments : 0