As the world celebrates International Straw Free Day, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources  (DENR) on Wednesday said plastic soft drink straws and coffee stirrers will be banned soon in the country.

In a statement, DENR said these items have been included in the list of non-environmentally acceptable products (NEAP) as deliberated by the National Solid Waste Management Commission on Tuesday.

Under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 or Republic Act 9003, items that will be included in the list should be prohibited as scheduled by the Commission.

“I am elated that after 20 years since the birth of RA 9003, the NEAP listing has now commenced,” DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said.

“This is long overdue and we need to catch up with the demand of solid waste management in our country.”

According to DENR, the resolution was passed despite opposition from some members of the Commission like the Department of Trade and Industry, and the manufacturing and recycling industries.

“We have long been fighting for and we are committed in having a NEAP list to comply with the law to combat environmental damage,” 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 RA 9003,” he added. —Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA News