July 23, 2024

Mayor Benjamin Magalong thanked the leaders of the 46 sections at the public market for heeding his call for strict compliance to Ordinance 35-17 or the Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio Ordinance.

The mayor ordered strict implementation of the ordinance starting May 20 beginning in City Hall and the Baguio City Public Market wherein commercial establishments are prohibited from using or providing single use plastic or sando bags in favor of paper bags or containers that are reusable or made of biodegradable materials. 

Customers are also encouraged to bring their own containers for wet products such as fish or meat to reduce the volume of single-use plastic waste being generated in the city.

Recently, a sack full of single-use plastic and sando bags were confiscated by the City Treasury Office-Market Division.

In a meeting on July 5, some of the market leaders admitted to still use single-use plastic or “plastic labo” when customers fail to bring their containers or reusable bags.

However, Market Superintendent Ceasar Emilio said market vendors should work with the city government in advocating against plastic use and Styrofoam.

“While the ordinance only mentions sando bags and Styrofoam packaging, we encourage everyone to refuse the use of single-use plastic in any form or at least on minimal use,” he said.

“If all of us are concerned about the environmental and health impacts of plastics, we will refuse to use it and then eventually, producers and manufacturers will be forced to stop their business,” he added.

Advocate Becky Tenefrancia of Zero Waste Coalition Baguio said while plastic or Styrofoam disintegrates, this does not decompose.

“Plastic when it disintegrates only becomes nano plastics and they pollute the soil or may be eaten by the fishes when it reaches the ocean or rivers and then eventually, we consume the plastic from the fishes or plants,” Tenefrancia said.

The city government will continue monitoring stores and market-goers as to compliance with the ordinance and will issue notices of violation and collect penalties from violators.

Violators of the ordinance will be penalized P1,000 for first offense; P3,000 fine for second offense and eight hours community service; and P5,000 fine and suspension of business permit for six months for fourth offense. – Jessa Mardy Samidan