The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) is gearing up efforts in Barangay Cabayugan to strictly enforce the city’s ordinance on single-use plastics.

Recently, the PPUR administration met with tourism stakeholders in Sitio Sabang in the said barangay to discuss the environmental effects of single-use plastics.

Beth Maclang, superintendent of the PPUR, explained that the regulation is based on City Ordinance No. 993 on Single-Use Plastic, which was passed on April 17, 2020. Due to the pandemic, however, it was not strictly implemented.

Maclang emphasized the importance of protecting the environment to conserve natural resources.

“April 17, 2020, ay dapat implemented na ang ating regulations sa paggamit ng single used plastics pero dahil consideration na nagkaroon ng pandemic… pero sa ngayon ay bubuhayin natin dahil isa ang PPSRNP sa talagang nagdulog sa SP na i-ban na talaga ang mga plastics,” Maclang said.

“Dahil isang ordinansa ang nagawa, ang mga single used plastics katulad ng mga straws, mga water bottle, disposable spoons, ay may mga regulasyon kung papaano o saan dapat gamitin,” she added.

Because of her explanation, tourism stakeholders, including vendors, tourist guides, and hotel owners, agreed to gradually implement the regulations on single-use plastics.

“Nakakatuwa naman ang naging reception ng ating mga ka parke na willing na willing naman sila at very eager na maimplement at maapply ito kasi gusto rin nila kumbaga na maconserve ang national park natin,” Maclang added.

During the meeting, environmental advocate Edilberto Magpayo demonstrated alternative materials to single-use plastics, including bamboo straws, eco bags, compostable food containers, and cassava biobags (CassaBags).

“Marami tayong pwede na magamit na alternative sa mga single-used plastics kagaya na lang ng mga bamboo [kitchen] utensils, toothbrush, at itong bago na cassava bag,” Magpayo said.

CassaBags, which are crafted from cassava starch, are a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic and even paper bags. These are bioplastics that are soluble in hot water and, in the event that they are consumed, will not cause any harm to any living organisms.