Less than a month after she assumed office, Sangguniang Kabataan President Lei Marie Danielle M. Tolentino filed her first proposed ordinance that swiftly gained several co-authors namely Councilors Karissa Tolentino-Maxino, Manuel Arbon and Joe Kenneth Arbas.

Tolentino is pushing for the ban in the usage of plastic straws in restaurants, canteens and other food service establishment throughout Dumaguete City.

The youngest lawmaker in the City Council stressed that the continued use of plastic straws has negative environment and human health effects that can lead to cancer, birth defects, immune system suppression and developmental problems in children.

Under the proposed ordinance plastic straws will no longer be served in all food establishments and will not be collected as non-biodegrable wastes. Instead straws will be disposed separately.

Violators to include vendors and persons responsible of any store or business shall be penalized: P 500/first offense, P 1, 000 2nd offense and P 5, 000 fine and or imprisonment of not more than 6 months and upon the discretion of the court cancellation of license/ permit to operate for one year.

Massive information campaign shall be done prior to the full implementation of the ordinance using all media platforms.

To further reduce the use of plastics, Tolentino also urged the city government to support local manufacturers of alternative packaging materials and shopping bags that are eco-friendly. Other strategies shall include the use of paper bags, discounts to shoppers who bring their own bags and the grant of cash or additional projects to barangays with outstanding track record of reducing the plastics generated.

Tolentino is confident that with Mayor Remollo, known for his political will in the lead, the campaign to reduce the use of plastics will be successful like in other bigger cities.