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DENR seeks alternative to single-use plastics to address PH's plastics woes

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 27 2023 04:52 PM


Workers sort different types of plastic at The Plastic Flamingo upcycling facility in Muntinlupa City on March 18, 2022. The company launched its new recycling line that creates an incentive for plastic sachets to be recycled and turned into materials that can be used to build furniture. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Tuesday sought for alternatives on single-use plastics to address the country's plastic pollution problem.


Asked about the country's role in the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution, Environment Secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga said there was a need to push for the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) implementation now that it is in effect.

"This is a complex problem, yung issue if plastics. We do need more research because we tell you, single-use plastics, sinabi ko na ito, as long as there's no substitute for single-use plastic in terms of affordability in terms of functionality, hindi titigil yung paggamit ng single-use plastics," Loyzaga told Palace reporters in a chance interview.


The DENR chief added that the government and stakeholders must focus on long-term solutions and the public's "behavioral change."


"For example, ang ginagamit natin ngayon ay clean-up of the coast, hindi dapat yan gawin. What has to happen is we have to stop the solid-waste into our rivers and streams. So that's one of the biggest pushes," said Loyzaga.


"It is a social change that we need and there must be some kind of economic and financial benefit for those who actually need to be part of the cycle."


A study in 2021 showed that the Philippines is the worst plastic polluter in the oceans, contributing to over a third of the global plastic waste, even surpassing big countries like India and China.


Seven of 10 major polluting rivers were located in the Philippines, with Pasig River identified as the top plastic pollution source.


This could happen in an economy that consumes 48 million plastic bags daily, translating to 17.5 billion pieces a year, a study by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) in 2019 showed.


Mismanaged plastics leaked by the country’s rivers, on the other hand, is estimated to be at 356,371 metric tons (MT) annually.


A recent Commission on Audit report – citing figures from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) – said the amount of waste in Metro Manila grew by 33.36 percent in 5 years, from 6,499,825.00 cubic meters in 2015 to 22,003,784.58 cubic meters in 2020.


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