(File photo)

The City Council finally approved Monday the ordinance that will regulate and control the utilization of single-use plastics and polystyrene foam in “all establishments” in Puerto Princesa City.

The approval of the ban on third and final reading was made after more than three years of deliberation at the City Council and several public consultations.

Councilor Nesario G. Awat, one of the four authors of the measure, said the approval of the ban will prevent the city from dealing with more plastic waste problems.

However, Awat said the ban on the use of plastic cups, drinking straws, cutleries, coffee stirrers, styrofoam, and bags will still be effective in 2020.

“May exceptions [naman], halimbawa ‘yong mga roll bags puwede naman for wet goods. Exempted din ‘yong private places. Halimbawa nagbi-birthday [in a private place], ‘yon puwede ‘yon [na gumamit ng mga single-use plastics]. ‘Yong ipe-penalize dito ay ‘yong mga may-ari ng establishments,” he said.

Awat said establishments that will violate the ordinance will be fined P1,000 for the first offense; P3,000 for the second violation; and P5,000 for succeeding offenses with cancellation of their mayor’s and business permits.

City Councilor Roy Gregorio G. Ventura, co-author of the ordinance, explained in a separate interview that their decision to start the imposition of the ban next year was to give the establishments enough time to perform stock inventory and adjust to the new policy.

Ventura said the approval of the ordinance to regulate single-use plastics and styrofoam in 2016 finally came true with the amalgamation of other versions.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa mga kasamahan natin na kahit matagal [dahil] talagang inusisa nila ang ordinansang ipinasa namin at pinag-aralan ng husto ay naipasa na. Kahit ang legal office natin, ang lahat ng mga stakeholders, ‘yong mga nagtitinda sa palengke, mga opisyales, ‘yong nagtitinda rin ng mga plastics ay sumuporta rin. [Ganoon din] ang mga non-government offices, mga concerned sa environment, mga establishments, pati ‘yong Puerto Princesa Chamber of Commerce,” he said.