‘Whole-of-society’ approach needed to address concerns on solid waste management – DOST chief

Published July 1, 2021, 6:41 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) remains at the forefront in providing technologies, programs, and projects to address the issues and concerns on the environment, including solid waste management.

DOST’s virtual presser on single-use plastics. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) discusses its actions and initiatives towards prohibiting the use of non-environmentally accepted products (NEAP).(Photo from DOST-PCIEERD)

This was stressed by DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña in a virtual press conference on Thursday, July 1, even as he cited the need to adopt a “whole-of-society and science-based” approach in addressing the phase-out of non-environmentally acceptable products (NEAPs) such as plastic straws and stirrers.

“DOST maintains an equal consideration of all sectors in the implementation of its projects and believes in a whole-of-society approach in addressing environmental concerns, particularly solid waste management. We believe in having all-hands-on-deck in a science-based approach in our phase-out of non-environmentally acceptable products or NEAPs with utmost consideration to environmental protection, sustainable development, economic viability, and social acceptability,” he said.

He made the statement three days after Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda bared that the DOST had written a letter to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu seeking a change in approach as far as the NEAP list is concerned.

Related story: https://mb.com.ph/2021/06/28/is-dost-delaying-the-implementation-of-the-neap-ban/

“We are in constant collaboration with our partners in government, academe, and industry in providing appropriate technologies, programs, and projects that will address the phase out of NEAPs and we are willing to partner with stakeholders who will be one in our mission of protecting the environment,” de la Peña said.

The NEAP list is one of the key provisions of the Republic Act (RA) No.9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. The law mandates the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), chaired by the DENR, to prepare a list of NEAPs within a year after the law’s effectivity and to update the list annually.

The DOST is one of the agency members of the Commission.

De la Peña noted that over the past 11 years, DOST provided P532 million worth of assistance to support 146 projects that seek to address environmental challenges.

“These projects have been implemented in various parts of the country and the technologies that have been generated by these projects have been adopted at various levels.”

During the press conference, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara cited the availability of technologies and services on solid waste management that can be adopted by stakeholders.

“Through the local technologies we generate from research and development, we make change happen in our environment,” she said.

DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit noted the importance of having a “harmonized pursuit” as far as the environmental protection through research, development, and innovations is concerned.

He said the DOST “has 10 existing partnerships” with the DENR which range from mining to climate change adaptation.

“Our collaborations span government, industry, and the academe as we ensure that our key stakeholders are one with us in pursuing innovative ways to address environmental concerns, particularly NEAP,” he said.

DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute Director Dr. Annabelle Briones, who also joined the press conference, assured the public that they consider economic viability, social acceptance, and environmental soundness in the conduct of research projects on solid waste management.

“For research projects on solid waste management, we shall address not only environmental protection but also economic growth and social well-being of the current and future generations,” she said.

De la Peña asked anew their fellow government workers to join the DOST in finding innovative solutions that will help the country address the concerns on solid waste management and in the pursuit of a circular economy.

“We urge for a wider adoption of technologies on the NEAPs which have been developed by our researchers,” he said.

“Meanwhile, we are also continuously looking out for more innovative ways that will provide environmentally sustainable alternatives to NEAP for our citizens.”