Local executives and key officials from various local government units and stakeholders gathered recently at SM City Annex for the launching of the National Plan of Action for the Prevention, Reduction, and Management of Marine Litter (NPOA-ML).

The launching of the NPOA-ML is part of the annual Information, Education and Communication Campaign on Ecological Solid Waste Management for this year’s celebration of Philippine Environment Month. In the previous years, this was held through summits.

This year’s undertaking focused on giving recognition to stakeholders whose efforts on managing solid waste are worth emulating.

Environmental Management Bureau Director William P. Cuñado graced the affair by commending all stakeholders for pursuing actions that adhere to the existing environmental laws and policies of our country. “The sincerity of your actions, perseverance and determination to re-discover the significance of environmental protection is, indeed, worth emulating”, Director Cuñado said as he addressed the delegates.

Also, Davao City Mayor Sebastian Z. Duterte in his message, through his representative, Acting Assistant Department Head, Dolores Remojo said “ the award highlights the local government’s commitment to improving the city’s waste management systems for the benefit of the environment and our constituents. We likewise share this commendation with the proponents and barangay leaders behind the implementation of the project”.

A total of fifty awardees from local government units, adopters under the Adopt-an-Estero Waterbody Program and the academe were among those awarded.
The NPOA-ML is the national marine litter framework plan with an overarching goal of “Zero Waste to Philippine Waters by 2040”.

Further, the NPOA-ML was adopted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on August 5, 2021 through DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2021-10, which aims to provide guidance to enhance the current efforts of the country in resource and waste management and to bring the additional perspective to marine litter issues and the control of additional leakage of waste into bodies of water.

According to DENR Assistant Secretary Ruth M. Tawantawan, “we really need an action plan for the prevention, reduction and management of marine litter. We all know that this is an urgent environmental concern’.

Studies were conducted by international agencies and organizations on the global scenario of marine environment. In 2015, Philippines was accounted as the M Another study conducted in 2020, ranked the Philippines as the seventh in the world that inadequately managed imported plastic wastes.

On June 4, 2021, Esquire Magazine reported the result of a study conducted by The Ocean Clean Up, a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands. The study showed Pasig River as the No. 1 in the top 10 list of ocean plastic pollution contributors, among the world’s largest emitting rivers.

The Philippines has crafted the NPOA-ML to support the vision of “a Philippines free of marine litter through shared responsibility, accountability, and participatory governance.”

In support to this vision, DENR top officials and local executives manifested their support through a symbolic act. Altogether, a net filled with trash was pulled down symbolizing a collective effort of a healthy marine environment free from pollution.

Stakeholders signed up the commitment to demonstrate their advocacy on proper solid waste management and committed to comply with the existing environmental laws.