Google map of Davao Oriental.

DAVAO CITY – Davao Oriental province has joined 30 other coastal provinces and local government units (LGUs) in the country in signing a petition for a nationwide ban on the use of single-use plastic.

In an interview Wednesday, Joyce Sierra, Oceana's communications manager, said currently, 31 coastal LGUs, including six provinces, and 25 cities and municipalities have signed similar resolutions.

Oceana is an international advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans.

“The Davao Oriental provincial board passed a resolution because a large portion of plastic wastes went to their ocean, and there is a need to stop it. That is why Oceana supported their call,” Sierra told the Philippine News Agency.

In November last year, Davao Oriental passed an ordinance for the eventual phase-out of single-use plastics and polystyrene products, effectively prohibiting non-biodegradable plastic bags and polystyrene products.

Among those to be banned are plastic bags, clear plastics, plastic straw, plastic stirrers, plastic cutlery, polystyrene products, helium balloons.

Aside from Davao Oriental, Cebu, Southern Leyte, Masbate, Bohol, and Aklan also passed measures to ban single-use plastics.

Oceana vice-president Gloria Estenzo Ramos said the country faces the twin problems of massive flooding and uncontrollable material waste.

She pointed out that the local governments are carrying the burden of addressing the obstacles that made it more difficult as the country deals with limits posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ramos noted that several local governments have called on the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) to release the Non-Environmentally Acceptable Products and Packaging (NEAPP) list, considering the "deleterious” effects of the disposal of plastic bags and packaging materials into the environment.

“The Philippines is an archipelagic country, and wastes are sure to flow and swell into a marine litter that endangers our fisheries and ocean ecosystem. No wonder that these provinces, cities, and municipalities are now speaking out. May the political will of the Commission be harnessed to reduce the plastic menace from the source,” Ramos said.

She added that the move of local governments "sends a strong signal to NSWMC to fulfill its almost two-decades-long unperformed mandate to submit a list of banned items that are unsafe in production, use, post-consumer use, or that produce or release harmful by-products when discarded." (PNA)