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DENR looks to ban single-use plastics in Boracay

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is looking to ban single-use plastics in Boracay after finding that heavy use of these product played a big part in the island’s deterioration.

A major tourism revenue generator to the country, Boracay was shut down in late April for a six-month major cleanup.
Among the environmental issues the island faces is a lack of an effective solid waste management program, a crucial system for an island that generates an estimated 90 to 115 tons of garbage a day.
Of this, only 30 to 40 tons are brought out to the mainland through Malay, Aklan, the DENR found.

A large portion of Boracay’s waste is composed of single-use plastic products such as toothbrushes, sachets of shampoo and condiments, and soap wrappers, among others.

In a Tuesday statement, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said he is “seriously considering” a ban on single-use plastic items in Boracay to address its growing garbage problem that extends to threatening its marine ecosystem.

“Plastic, particularly those for single-use packaging, has greatly contributed to the degradation of the environment… Plastic pollution continues to poison our oceans and injure marine life,” Mr. Cimatu was quoted in the statement.

He added that when not properly disposed, plastic clog waterways and cause flooding.

“Let us go back to basics. We used to bring a glass bottle to the sari-sari store when we buy cooking oil and vinegar. Let’s do the same now,” Mr. Cimatu added.

The DENR did not reveal whether it will craft rules toward this end. But the agency said it will encourage hotels to use dispensers for their liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner. – Janina C. Lim