The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) has approved the plastic softdrink straw and plastic coffee stirrer in the list of non-environmentally acceptable products (NEAP), which may be banned soon as part of the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
The draft resolution declaring plastic softdrink straw and plastic coffee stirrer as NEAP was deliberated through a virtual en banc meeting on Tuesday (Feb.2), which was presided by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGUs) Concerns and NSWMC Alternate Chair Benny D. Antiporda. It concluded with 11 votes for approval and three votes for disapproval of the two items.
"I am elated that after 20 years since the birth of RA 9003, the NEAP listing has now commenced. This is long overdue and we need to catch up with the demand of solid waste management in our country,” Antiporda said.
He added: “This is a significant milestone for NSWMC, and for the Filipino people. We have long been fighting for and we are committed in having a NEAP list to comply with the law to combat environmental damage.”
"The prohibition on these two single-use plastic items may be small steps in the NEAP listing, but it is a big leap when it comes to compliance with the provisions of RA 9003," added Antiporda.
Further, the approved resolution comes at a perfect time as the world celebrates International Straw Free Day on February 3. “This global celebration aims to encourage the public to go straw-free and say "no straw please" when ordering drinks,” Antiporda said.
The resolution was passed despite heavy resistance from some members of the Commission, such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the manufacturing and recycling industries.
Other members who participated in the en banc meeting were the Department of Health, Metro Manila Development Authority, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Works and Highways, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Information Agency, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, League of Cities of the Philippines, and non-government organizations represented by the EcoWaste Coalition.
Pursuant to Section 29 of RA 9003, "Within one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act, the Commission shall, after public notice and hearing, prepare a list of non-environmentally acceptable products as defined in this Act that shall be prohibited according to a schedule that shall be prepared by the Commission.”
However, it was only two decades after the Act was passed when the Commission came up with a list of NEAP.
NSWMC held multi-sectoral consultations on the NEAP list last January 22 and February 1 with 169 and 178 participants, respectively, from the local government units, private sector, and key stakeholders from civil society groups.
The Department of Science and Technology, co-chair of the NSWMC Technical Working Committee, presented the results of its assessment on plastic softdrink straws and plastic coffee stirrers on both days. ###