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“Plastic-free holiday” is declared by the Ilocos Norte LGU.

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The province of Ilocos Norte’s local government unit has designated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as a “Plastic-free holiday” that will be observed in all municipally owned residential, business, agricultural, and institutional buildings.

This means that in order to regulate and reduce the creation of plastic trash, single-use plastics are not allowed in Burgos at least three times per week.

The municipal administration enacted Municipal Ordinance 2021-002, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Code of Burgos, on Wednesday in advance of World Environment Day on June 5. This ordinance prohibits the use of single-use plastic in the municipality.

Anyone found to be in violation of the ordinance faces a fine of PHP500 for a first offense, PHP1,000 for a second offense, PHP2,000 for a third offense, and PHP6,000 for a fourth offense, as well as one to six months in jail.

“The municipality urged everyone to work together for the reduction and proper management of solid wastes in the community in a public advisory posted on its official Facebook page. If the violator is a business or commercial establishment, this will result in the suspension or cancellation of the business permit.

The plastic-free holiday law, according to the municipal environment and natural resources officer Jay-Arr Tiguiamo, is viewed as their “baby step” toward a plastic-free environment.

For the time being, we have stepped up our information and education campaign (on the ban on single-use plastic), especially among businesses and the local population, he said.

While citation tickets have not yet been given to infringers, according to Tiguiamo, the municipality has started giving solid waste management clearance to all nearby commercial buildings in an effort to demonstrate its commitment to the fight against single-use plastics.

He noted that the establishments they have so far asked to stop using plastic have pleaded to “use our last stock of plastic supply,” saying “It’s challenging (to accomplish), but we need to balance the predicaments of both sectors.”

The local administration is advocating the use of “bayong” or eco-bags, reusable water bottles, metal drinking straws, and other alternatives to single-use plastics.

Records indicate that 2.7 million tons of plastic waste are produced annually in the Philippines and that 20 percent of this waste ends up in the ocean.

Moreover, two million plastic bags are used globally every minute.

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