SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
A lawmaker is pushing for the passage of a bill banning the use of polystyrene food packaging in food service businesses and operations.
Under House Bill 4341 authored by Rep. Gus Tambunting (2nd District, Parañaque City), any business operator found to have violated the proposed act shall pay a fine of P50,000 to P150,000.
Tambunting said the bill seeks to put an end to the use of styrofoam and to encourage businesses to use recyclable or compostable food containers.
"This legislation brings back the good old habit of preparing foods 'to go' in compostable and recyclable alternatives that are available and serve the same purpose as non-recyclable food service packaging," Tambunting said.
In filing the measure, Tambunting cited the declared policy of the State to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.
Tambunting said the measure also aims to determine and implement programs that maximize material reuse and recycling and programs that will prohibit the use of materials that have limited usefulness.
According to Tambunting, there are currently no meaningful ways of recycling polystyrene based food packaging and it must be disposed of as garbage.
Tambunting said discarded polystyrene persists as litter and remains as such for the longest time posing as hazard to the environment.
"Styrofoam, made from styrene, is a suspected carcinogen and neurotoxin that was recently limited by the Food and Drug Administration in bottled drinking water. Studies have indicated that styrene residues are present in 100% of all human fat tissue in the United States. Several epidemiologic studies suggest there may be an association between styrene exposure and an increased risk of leukemia and lymphoma," Tambunting said.
As defined in the bill, 'polysterene food container' means a plastic container comprised of a majority polysterene plastic resin that is used to contain prepared food designed for one-time use.
Under the measure, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) together with the stakeholders and other related government agencies are directed to promulgate the rules and regulations necessary for the implementation and enforcement of the Act.