ELEVENTH HOUR: Creating a community of practice for plastic regulation and zero-waste solutions

Published July 22, 2022, 3:31 AM

by Climate Reality Project Philippines

Plastic pollution is causing irreparable damage to ecosystems, affecting human health, and contributing to the climate crisis. However, due to how ingrained plastics, especially single-use plastics, are into our economic activities, phasing them out will be an arduous challenge.

This is evident as the bill creating a national policy that would regulate and eventually phase out single-use plastics (SUPs) in the country languishes in Congress. Several lawmakers were more inclined to enact a law that will mandate companies and commercial establishments to manage plastic waste and pollution through extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes.

Despite the lack of a national policy, data from the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) showed that about 30 percent of local government units (LGUs) in the country have some form of policy to regulate the use of plastics, particularly plastic bags. These local ordinances have different scopes, different definitions of single-use plastics, and different sanctions.

In April this year, The Climate Reality Project Philippines partnered with a team of AB Development Studies students at the Ateneo De Manila University to develop a policy note assessing existing single-use plastic policies in several Metro Manila cities.

The policy note highlighted the best practices from Marikina City, Makati City, and Quezon City that could be adopted by other LGUs to improve their own plastic waste management and reduction systems. It also included recommendations directed at improving current LGU policies and enabling better ASUP implementation.

Following this initiative, we saw the need to create a compendium of local policies, programs, and initiatives on managing plastic waste to create a community of practice and to amplify the clamor for a national law that will comprehensively and effectively address the proliferation of single-use plastics in our communities.

Does your LGU have an ordinance regulating the use of plastics? Does your local grocery or market encourage you to bring bayong or eco-bags? Do you have community recycling or upcycling facilities? How about consumer incentives programs, such as trash-to-cash or plastic waste in exchange for groceries or environmental points? Share them with us here.

In line with this, we launched this week our “Bawal Plastikan” initiative where we ask citizens across the Philippines about the policies and programs against single-use plastics in their city/ municipality. This could include local ordinances, consumer incentives programs, and recycling or upcycling initiatives.

Through this campaign, we aim to have a better picture of the efforts to curtail the plastic crisis at the local level, in the absence of a national law on plastics.

Bawal Plastikan—loosely translating to no pretending/ faking—supports the notion that the journey toward sustainable production and consumption and circular economy must be genuine and inclusive for all Filipinos

Anyone could participate! To join, you may answer our survey via bit.ly/bawalplastikan. You have the option to upload photos, videos, and documents. You can also post on social media with the hashtag #BawalPlastikan and tag us in your posts. Share with us the details of your story or experience. Lastly, you can message us through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or email.

All crowdsourced stories, photos, videos, and data from citizens will be laid out into one interactive visual map, which will provide users with information on the best practices and approaches that communities are doing against plastic pollution. 

Visit https://climatereality.ph/bawalplastikan/ to be updated on this initiative.