November 8, 2021
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has adopted a National Plan of Action for the prevention and reduction of marine litter (NPOA-ML) toward “zero waste” Philippine waters by 2040.
DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones said the adoption of the NPOA-ML through Memorandum Circular (MC) 2021-10 will serve as guidance to enhance efforts in resource and waste management in the country’s waterways and marine environment.
Considering that marine life and biodiversity can only well survive within clean waters, the implementation of MO 2021-10 has become critical for Philippines, being a country of many islands.
“This initiative is timely as the country has been named by external studies as one of the main sources of plastic leakages into oceans. It also presents opportunities to revisit current efforts in municipal solid waste management, particularly reduce-reuse-recycle or 3Rs approaches, and eventually help localize the NPOA-ML,” he said.
Leones took note of MO 2021-10 as the globe celebrates World Habitat Day in the first week of October. It is a reminder to each citizen and local government units (LGU) of their contribution to waste management, climate change mitigation and sustainable development goals.
The World Habitat Day is supported by the Healthy Oceans and Clean Cities Initiative (HOCCI). It is funded by Japan government to enable local governments to strengthen capacity to implement reduction of marine litter. The Philippines heads the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) of the HOCCI.
“This will bring the focus of marine litter to marine management and biodiversity issues,” Leones said.
He also took note of the ratification of the Philippine Green Jobs Act (Republic Act 10771) which promotes a green economy. It provides “incentives to enterprises that provide green goods and services, green jobs, green technologies and sustainable development.”
Green jobs refer to employment that restores the environment’s clean quality especially in the agriculture, service, and industry sectors. Examples are jobs in water conservation, sustainable forestry, biofuels, geothermal energy, environmental remediation, energy audit, recycling, electric vehicles, solar power, and wind energy.
It is also important that the Philippines adopts programs on climate change mitigation and adaptation since it is one of the world’s climate vulnerable countries, Leones said. Disaster risk reduction is a very important goal for the country. It is plagued with around 20 tropical cyclones yearly and daily seismic tremors being in the Pacific Ring of Fire. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)