SUBIC BAY FREEPORT -- Single-use plastics, which are used only once and then thrown away or recycled, will no longer be allowed in workplaces of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) starting Oct. 1.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma on Thursday said the agency has decided to impose the ban as part of its solution to the growing global problem of pollution.

Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, include plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, as well as soda and water bottles which form part of most food packagings, Eisma said.

“We should show good example and walk the talk,” she said.

Eisma said canteens, stores and other food establishments in SBMA buildings have been advised not to use plastic packagings and containers anymore.

Exempted from this regulation are goods in original plastic packaging. These, however, cannot be placed in new plastic bag or container upon purchase by consumers.

Aside from enforcing the single-use plastics ban, the SBMA will urge business locators here to join the “strawless” campaign, the recyclables collection program, and cooperate in an intensified anti-littering drive that will be implemented this coming October to further strengthen the agency’s War on Waste (WOW) campaign.

Eisma said single-use plastics account for most of marine pollution in the Subic Bay area, as could be seen from the trash that periodically pile up on the Freeport’s coastline mostly after typhoons or heavy rains.

“These plastic items are not only pollutive and harmful to wildlife and humans alike, but they also become an eyesore that negatively impact on the image of Subic as world-class Freeport,” she said.

“There is already a standing ban on the use of plastic bags and styrofoam packaging in the whole Subic Freeport, and now we are backing this up with the ban on single-use plastics and our straplastics and our strawless campaign because there is really an urgent need to save the environment -- and this includes public health -- from further degradation,” she added.

According to SBMA Ecology Center manager Amethya dela Llana, the intensified no-littering policy to be implemented in the Subic Bay Freeport aims to stop the dumping or throwing of garbage, rubbish or any kind of waste in parks, roads, beaches, forests, rivers, streams or on any open or public place in the Subic Freeport.

The same policy also makes it illegal for anybody to urinate, defecate or spit in public places, or throw cigarette butts anywhere in public areas.

Dela Llana added that it would also be illegal to dispose of litter from a boat or ship into a water body, and to transport uncovered, spilling, or leaking waste or waste containers within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

The SBMA has set penalties for violators of the anti-littering rule: PHP1,500 for individual offenders and pet handlers, who would have the option to render four hours of community service instead; and PHP50,000 for companies or establishments per day until the violation is corrected.

The public is enjoined to report incidents of littering, and particular info like the license plate number of violators, to the SBMA Law Enforcement Department. (PNA)