MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has proposed banning plastics, his spokesman said on Thursday, which could give Congress the impetus for one of the world's best plastic polluters to pass environmental protection laws.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte mentioned the possibility of a plastic ban during a climate change debate in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.  "The president ran the idea of banning the use of plastics, which, he said, would require law "Panelo told reporters without elaborating.
Several legislative proposals aimed at combating plastic pollution are underway in Congress, including a proposal by boxing star and senator Manny Pacquiao to ban disposable plastics, but none of the measures are close to becoming law.
The Philippines also ranked third in the world for not handling its plastics, according to a 2015 study by the University of Georgia, which said 81 percent of its plastic waste was incorrectly handled.
Plastic waste has reached alarming proportions in the country which has the fifth longest coast in the world, given the astonishing amount of discarded plastic used.
A recent study by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives environmental group showed that close to 60 billion pieces of bags and 34 billion pieces of plastic bags are discarded in the Philippines annually.
– Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Robert Birsel