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Tacloban LGU launches campaign to reduce plastic waste

Tacloban LGU launches campaign to reduce plastic waste

Tacloban City takes action to combat plastic pollution and improve waste management through a new ordinance and community engagement. Photo for illustrative purposes only.

TACLOBAN CITY – The City Government of Tacloban has launched an "information and education campaign" in response to the recently introduced Ordinance No. 2023-15-06, the Plastic and Styrofoam Packaging Regulation Ordinance. The initiative, spearheaded by the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and led by Jonathan Hijada, aims to raise awareness and understanding in local communities and business establishments throughout the city.

The campaign began with an information drive centered around the Downtown Area and is set to expand to the commercial hubs ranging from Independencia, Real, and Marasbaras to San Jose in the coming weeks, with further expansion planned towards the northern regions.

City authorities have also outlined plans for an orientation seminar led by the Business Permits and Licensing Division (BPLD), targeting larger establishments like malls and hardware stores. This strategic move aims to ensure the effective implementation of the ordinance by the following year, 2024. This is projected to significantly reduce the city's waste output, contributing to extending the Sanitary Landfill's lifespan in Barangay San Roque.

The city generates around 120 tons of waste daily, with single-use plastics accounting for approximately 11%, or 13.2 tons of the total. Hijada warns that if this trend continues unchecked, it could lead to a critical situation at the sanitary landfill by next year.

The landfill, operational since 2019, is currently being expanded by 20-30 meters, which is expected to extend its lifespan by 2-3 years. In light of this, Hijada urges Tacloban residents to adopt responsible waste disposal practices, including proper waste segregation and the gradual incorporation of eco-friendly alternatives like reusable bags, in line with the forthcoming ordinance.

The ordinance firmly restricts single-use plastics, plastic bags, and Styrofoam products in various establishments such as groceries, fast-food chains, food kiosks, convenience stores, markets, and street vendors. Individuals caught violating the ordinance could face fines ranging from PHP 1,000 to PHP 5,000 and potential imprisonment of up to six months, depending on the court's jurisdiction. Businesses that are not compliant may be fined between PHP 2,000 and PHP 5,000 and may have their licenses revoked.

Furthermore, as part of its commitment to environmental preservation, the city plans to bolster its "El Niño intervention" efforts. This includes strengthening Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) initiatives related to waste segregation at the source and coastal cleanup activities in partnership with civil society organizations.

Hijada concluded, "The cleanliness of Tacloban City lies in our hands," emphasizing the importance of collective efforts to ensure the successful implementation of government programs aimed at the city's improvement. —iTacloban (Source: CIO)

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