Plastic soft drink straws and coffee stirrers may soon be banned in the Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Thursday after the said items were included in the list of "non-environmentally acceptable products."
The possible prohibition will form part of the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, the environment department said in a statement.
While it has been over two decades since the solid waste management law was passed, it was only this week that a draft resolution containing the list of non-environmentally acceptable products was prepared to "comply with the law to combat environmental damage," DENR Usec. Benny Antiporda said.
Based on the law, a list of non-environmentally acceptable products should have been prepared a year after the measure took effect and should have subsequently been prohibited as scheduled by authorities.
"This is long overdue and we need to catch up with the demand of solid waste management in our country,” Antiporda said.
"The prohibition on these two single-use plastic items may be small steps in the NEAP listing, but it is a big leap when it comes to compliance with the provisions of [the law]," he said.
The Philippines is among the world's "worst offenders" of marine plastic pollution according to a study by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives or GAIA.
In 2019, GAIA released a report that said Filipinos use an overwhelming amount of single-use plastic at about 60 billion sachets a year.