MCIA earns distinction as first ‘plastic-free’ PH airport

CEBU CITY — The Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) on Wednesday said its sustainable environmental program under its “Going Green Campaign” is gaining ground, earning the credit to be the first plastic-free airport in the country.

The airport management has banned the use of non-biodegradable single-use plastics and polystyrene containers in restaurants and shops inside the hub.

Andrew Acquaah-Harrison, chief executive advisor of GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) and MCIA’s private operator, said the move to ban plastic in restaurants and shops inside the airport facility is part of their commitment to a sustainable environment.

“We took this step forward starting with our commercial partners as our commitment to environmental sustainability,” Acquaah-Harrison said.

According to a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), starting this year, GMCAC has prohibited its concessionaires from using the non-biodegradable single-use plastics and polystyrene containers in restaurants and retail stores located in Terminals 1 and 2.

Restaurant and coffee shop patrons inside the airport facility in Mactan Island are encouraged to use eco-friendly and reusable substitutes.

Eighty percent of the airport concessionaires “are already using biodegradable alternatives such as plant starch utensils, paper cups and straws, wood stirrers, paper bags, and carton boxes for takeaway food,” it said.

“In 2018, MCIA produced a monthly average of 3,500-kilograms of plastic wastes from its restaurants and shops. This is now down by close to 30% or a decrease of around 12,000-kgs per year,” Harrison added.

The airport management also holds regular information and education campaigns for all airport concessionaires and stakeholders to raise awareness on the impacts of plastic use on the environment.

GMCAC underscores other initiatives as part of its commitment to environmental sustainability.

“Since August 2017, GMCAC has been using 6,300 solar panels on the roof of Terminal 1 to supply electricity for the airport,” it said. The project made MCIA the first solar-powered airport in the country.

On a monthly average, the solar panel system produces 196,800 kilowatt-hours and provides for 30 percent of the electricity requirements of the domestic terminal.  John Rey Saavedra / PNA –