Towards Osaka Blue Ocean Vision - G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter

Philippines

Actions and Progress on Marine Plastic Litter
Last Update : 2021/01/29

Policy framework

  • RA 9003 and DAO 2001-34 –declared the policy of the State to adopt a systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program which shall:
      • Ensure the protection of public health and environment;
      • Utilize environmentally-sound methods that maximize the utilization of valuable resources and encourage resources conservation and recovery;
      • Set guidelines and targets for solid waste avoidance and volume reduction through source reduction and waste minimization measures, including composing, recycling, re-use, recovery, green charcoal process, and others, before collection, treatment and disposal in appropriate and environmentally sound solid waste management facilities in accordance with ecologically sustainable development principles;
      • Ensure the proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste through the formulation and adoption of the best environmental practices in ecological waste management excluding incineration; and others
  • As the leading policy on waste management, RA 9003 and its Implementing Rules and Regulation (DAO 2001-34) provide the overall direction for the country’s waste management. While it indirectly addresses the issue of marine litter, Sections 17, 32, 33, and 40 all discuss the need for proper waste storage to avoid leakage of waste in its intermediate and final disposal stages (MRFs, and SLF accordingly).
  • RA 9275: The Clean Water Act shall apply to water quality management in all water bodies: Provided, That it shall primarily apply to the abatement and control of pollution from land based sources: Provided, further, That the water quality standards and regulations and the civil liability and penal provisions under this Act shall be enforced irrespective of sources of pollution. Section 27e also explicitly prohibits transport or dumping into sea waters of sewage sludge or solid waste as defined under Republic Act No.9003.
  • RA 9993: Under the Philippines Coast Guard Law of 2009, part of the duties of the coast guard is to enforce laws and promulgated and administer rules and regulations for the protection of marine environment and resources from offshore sources or pollution within the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines.
  • National Action Plan on Marine Litter: The National Plan of Action on Marine Litter (NPoA) is being prepared to address the growing concern on marine litter in the Philippines. The NPoA is on its finalization stage. The four main actions considered include: (1) preventing and reducing marine litter from land-based sources, (2) preventing and reducing marine litter from sea-based sources, (3) monitoring and assessment of marine litter, and (4) activities supporting the implementation of Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI) of the Coordinating Body on Seas of East Asia (COBSEA).
  • Coordinating Body on Seas of East Asia – Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (COBSEA – RAP MALI): COBSEA oversees the implementation of the Action Plan for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment and Coastal Areas of the East Asian Seas Region (the East Asian Seas Action Plan). The East Asian Seas Action Plan aims to protect marine and coastal environment for the health and well-being of present and future generations. The Philippines is a member-country of the COBSEA. The Environmental Management Bureau is the National COBSEA Focal Point.

Measures

Specific measures and targets specifically addressing Marine Litter have yet to be released, however, the DENR together with relevant stakeholders are already working towards this within a National Plan of Action on Marine Litter. The Plan of Action provides the country strategy for addressing the local sources of marine litter. Most of the following measures are covered/considered in the NPoA and will be accordingly implemented once the NPoA is completed and approved.

It should be noted, however, that the DENR and several other agencies have already implemented some programs and projects which can be linked to the reduction of marine litter. Among them are as follows:

  • Regular Clean-Up Activity by DENR and other concerned Agencies – is the Phase 1 (Cleanup/Water Quality Improvement) of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation (Battle for Manila Bay). Activities include the following:
    • Cleanup of designated esteros and waterways;
    • Reduce fecal coliform level and toxic discharges from houses and establishments by causing connection to existing STPs and requiring STPs for gov’t, commercial, industrial, and educational establishments;
    • Inspect and repair leaks in old sewer lines;
    • Provide temporary sanitation facilities to informal settlers residing along esteros and shorelines pending relocation;
    • Implement solid waste management
      • Closure of dumpsites near Manila Bay
      • Assistance to develop SWM Plans for LGUs in the Manila Bay Region
    • IEC Campaigns
      • Adopt an Estero/Waterbody Program of DENR – is a collaborative undertaking among Estero communities, private entities, the local government units concerned, and the Department, and endeavors to clean up the polluted water bodies/waterways that drain into Manila Bay. The program aims to effectively comply with the continuing mandamus “Order” of the Supreme Court involving concerned government agencies for the clean-up of the Manila Bay, major rivers and other waterbodies in the country, including the esteros that drain into the bay. It is one of the priority programs of the DENR and a key strategy to address the continuing mandamus of the Supreme Court to several government agencies to clean-up Manila Bay and its tributaries
      • Refill Revolution – is a series of one-day refilling event in selected venues in Central Luzon that started in 2018 by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in selected areas in Central Luzon. This program aims to cut back plastic production, consumption, and packaging wherein participants can refill their plastic bottles and containers with household products as long as these containers are clean, dry and covered with lids.
      • Local Regulation of Plastic and Plastic Products – Recognizing that plastic product usage is dependent on local context, Local Government Units have likewise passed resolutions that ban, control, or regulate the use of Single Use Plastics. These resolutions vary in their scope and targets, ranging from different materials (e.g. plastic shopping bags, food containers, cutleries) and activities (food consumption, market/grocery/shopping).

Achievements

The development of the NPOA on Marine Litter is expected to produce relevant targets and its indicators which would quantitatively gauge progress toward the reduction of marine litter. Aside from producing relevant targets, the process of developing the NPOA on Marine Litter can also be considered an achievement as it was able to create a loose network of stakeholders involved in the value chain of Plastic from manufacturing to disposal. It should be noted that following the initial engagement of DENR with all stakeholders for the development of the NPOA, private industries through PARMS have initiated the development of their own parallel roadmap “Zero Waste to Nature: Ambition 2030”. To date, the initiative has secured the pledge and buy-in of FMCG companies that are locally operating.
As mentioned above, current programs of the Bureau have also contributed to the reduction of marine litter. Results of which are as follows:

  • Regular Clean-Up Activity by DENR and other concerned Agencies
    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced that there is a significant decrease in the level of fecal coliform bacteria in Manila bay. The levels, however, were still way beyond the normal or standard level of 100 most probable number (mpn) of coliform.
    Decrease of fecal coliform after a month (January to February 2019)
    Padre Faura outfall, from 330 million mpn to 7.9 million mpn
    Remedios outfall, from 160 million mpn to 35 million mpn
    Manila Yacht Club, 1.3 billion mpn to 52 million mpn
  • Adopt an Estero/Waterbody Program of DENR Improvement in Water Quality in All Adopted Waterbodies

Challenges

  • Harmonizing initiatives across different stakeholders – There are many viewpoints on the issue of Marine Litter and many key players along the plastic value chain. Key intervention points have already been identified but activities done by stakeholders overlap and become redundant or even run contradictory to other initiatives in the absence of a coordinating body.
  • Lack of long-term resources – Although there are many project proposals and interested development partners, sustainability of marine litter interventions remain a problem due to the lack of resources (particularly in terms of funding and manpower) that can continue the project beyond the timeframe provided by proponents.
  • Need for baseline data on marine litter and microplastics.
  • Absence of standardized method/s for collection, monitoring, and assessment of marine litter and microplastics. These methods should also be harmonized in order to compare results among researchers, member countries, thus ensuring comparability and measuring progress
  • Need for standard methodologies for laboratory analysis of marine litter and microplastics, whenever required.
  • Need for capacity building for the following:
    • collection, monitoring, and assessment of marine litter and microplastics
    • conduct of laboratory analysis of marine litter and microplastics

Best practices

National level

Regular Clean-Up Activity by DENR and other concerned Agencies – Based on the results of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation, a programmatic approach serves as a banner of best practice in addressing the complex land-to-sea problems of Marine Litter. Some activities housed within the program includes:

  1. Closure of dumpsites near Manila Bay –DENR has invested in assisting with the closure of open dumpsites in 128 LGUs within the Manila Bay Region to reduce waste leakage in the environment
  2. Assistance to develop SWM Plans for LGUs in the Manila Bay Region –Around 97% of all LGUs in the Manila Bay Region have completed their SWM Plans which outlines local action on waste management. It is expected that SWM Plans will aid in reducing the amount of mis-managed waste that would leak into the marine environment
  3. Regular clean-ups of Manila Bay riverways –cleanup of river systems by the Local Government Unit is done at least once a week. Around 452 cleanup activities have already been done with a total of 2,857,771.73 kgs of waste collected.
  4. Information Education Campaigns –EMB-DENR has been conducting local IEC campaigns to educate coastal communities of the impact of their waste on the marine environment
  5. Installation of Trash Traps along creeks and other tributaries to capture waste travelling downstream towards Manila Bay

Adopt an Estero/Waterbody Program of DENR – The program aims to mobilize the local communities in cleaning up the wastes and the floating debris, including the silts that have accumulated in the water bodies; institutionalize good sanitation and ecological solid wastes management practices through Information, Education and Communication Campaign (IEC) to the communities to increase their awareness on the possible impact of poor sanitation to their health, such as possible incidence of water borne diseases among residents within the vicinity of the waterways; strengthen the institutionalization of solid waste management practices among LGUs and communities to reduce pollution loading in the esteros and waterbodies; and Institutionalize public-private-community partnership in environmental management. As a pro-active action of the Department, the AEWBP was implemented nationwide in order to prevent the degradation and help improve the physical conditions of the water bodies in the country with DENR-EMB spearheading the implementation of the program. The program aims to mobilize the local communities in cleaning up the wastes and the floating debris, including the silts that have accumulated in the water bodies; institutionalize good sanitation and ecological solid wastes management practices through Information, Education and Communication Campaign (IEC) to the communities to increase their awareness on the possible impact of poor sanitation to their health, such as possible incidence of water borne diseases among residents within the vicinity of the waterways; strengthen the institutionalization of solid waste management practices among LGUs and communities to reduce pollution loading in the esteros and waterbodies; and Institutionalize public-private-community partnership in environmental management.

Refill Revolution (National and Local Level Collaboration) – More than 500 residents of the City of San Fernando in Pampanga together with government employees celebrated and joined the annual Manila Bay day in a “Refill Revolution” event to promote the economical way of reusing and recycling plastic materials and to save the historic Manila Bay from plastic pollution. Local residents, who participated in the event organized by EMB and DENR-3 Manila Bay Coordinating Office, were able to refill their clean and reusable bottles, containers and eco bags with condiments, toiletries, and other household essentials for half of their actual retail prices in supermarkets.

Local level

Local Regulation of Plastic and Plastic Products
  No. of LGUs with Ordinance
Regulating or Banning the Use of
Plastic Bags
CAR 16
NCR 14
REGION 1 55
REGION 2 44
REGION 3 41
REGION 4A 66
REGION 7 32
REGION 10 21
REGION 11 6
Caraga 21
Total 316

Private sector

There have been several initiatives by the private sector to reduce the amount of plastic waste generation through:

  1. Adoption/Use of Refill Stations (e.g. Human Heart Nature Refill Stations, NutriAsia Bring-Your-Own-Bottle (BYOB) Kiosks, and Wala Usik Sari-sari Store Program for MSMEs);
  2. Community-based Plastic Waste Recovery Initiatives (e.g. Unilever’s Kolek Kilo Kita para sa Walastik na Maynila and Nestle’s May Balik! Sa Plastik! Program w/ Valenzuela City); and
  3. Product Redesign such as Coca-Cola’s shift to clear sprite plastic bottles to increase local recycling recovery rates for their bottle packaging.

Contact details

ENGR. VIZMINDA A. OSORIO
OIC Assistant Director and COBSEA National Focal Point
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
viosorio@yahoo.com

Contact Person:
CONSOLACION P. CRISOSTOMO
Chief-Policy, Planning and Program Development Division
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
consolacioncrisostomo@yahoo.com/ pppdd@emb.gov.ph

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