Starting Friday, June 1, the use of plastic bags is totally banned at the Dumaguete City Public Market, in all days of the week.
The "No Plastic Everyday" policy, which was announced last Monday, enjoins stores and buyers at the public market to use alternative bags for their purchases, such as baskets, the bayong, netted bags, sacks, and even recyclable plastic bags.
Launched last April, the policy banning the use of plastic bags at the Dumaguete City Public Market was implemented every Monday.
The policy is pursuant to City Ordinance No. 231, which penalizes establishments that use plastic bags.
Stall owners at the public market who will violate the "No Plastic Everyday" policy will be slapped with a fine of P500 for the first offense, and P1,000 for the second offense.
If a store is caught violating the policy for the third time, it will be slapped with a fine of P5,000; its owner may also face a six-month imprisonment, or both. On top of that, the store's permit to operate may be cancelled for a year.
Aside from banning the use of plastic bags, the following are also prohibited under the "No Plastic Everyday" Policy: Offering, selling, or providing free plastic bags to customers as secondary packaging materials for both dry and wet goods, as well as offering to sell or providing styrofoam to customers as packaging material and disposal of plastic shopping bags.
Despite this, some stalls at the public market were seen using plastic bags on the first day of the policy’s implementation Friday, especially in packing fish and meat products.
Dumaguete City Economic Enterprises Officer Jose Ronnie Fortin, in a statement, said he hopes the policy will help the public market become an example for its other neighboring establishments, such as the fish terminal, the slaughterhouse and the passenger terminal.
"With the full support of the (Department of) Environment and Natural Resources, the ban on plastic use will be strictly enforced in the entire city," the statement added.
Ordinance No. 231, which has been already in place since 2011, bans the use of plastic bags in all business establishments in Dumaguete City, including supermarkets and malls. For a period of time, stores were using solely paper bags or recyclable plastic bags for packaging.
Fortin noted that because of the ordinance, the volume of garbage generated by the public market was reduced.
Over the years, however, the ordinance's strict implementation waned as enforcers were eventually pulled out, and establishments as well as customers returned to the use of plastic bags.
For his part, Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo said he will be pushing for the implementation of the said ordinance, which was passed under the administration of his predecessor, former mayor and current Negros Oriental Second District Representative Manuel "Chiquiting" Sagarbarria. — BAP, GMA News