Senator Cynthia Villar conducted a hearing on the measures undertaken by the government and the private sector to reduce plastic wastes in the seas.
Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 329, which seeks an inquiry on the measures to arrest the country’s prevalent plastic wastes leakage into the seas. The hearing also considered the privilege speech of Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on the IPU-UN Parliamentary Hearing entitled “A World of Blue: Preserving the Oceans, Safeguarding the Planet, Ensuring Human Well-Being in the Context of the 2030 Agenda.”
Villar noted that despite the enactment of Republic 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act since 2001, the Philippines is among the countries with the most number of plastic wastes being dumped into the seas.
The University of Georgia study “Plastic waste inputs from land into the seas,” states that the Philippines ranked third, next to China and Indonesia, among 192 countries surveyed in terms of estimated volume of mismanaged plastic wastes produced by the population that could potentially enter the seas and oceans.
“This report is quite alarming amid the presence of abundant findings that the presence of plastic wastes in the seas adversely affects the marine life and eventually the world’s food chain,” Villar said.
Villar said in her regular coastal cleanup activities at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area and the Baseco Compound in Manila Bay, she witnesses “firsthand the overwhelming presence of plastic wastes in the waters and shorelines, mostly made up of packaging materials and sachets of diverse products or brands, ranging from shampoos, conditioners, candies, biscuits, junk food, coffee, milk, and detergent, mostly made, distributed or sold by well-known manufacturing firms operating in the Philippines.”
“To my mind, a “business as usual” approach in reducing plastic waste will barely contribute to efforts in reducing the prevalence of plastic wastes and its leakage into our seas. Bolder and more innovative measures should be undertaken not only by the national government and the local government units, but by all sectors,” Villar said.
“More particularly, I believe that the active participation of commercial manufacturers and distributors is crucial in initiatives to substantially reduce the generation of plastic wastes,” she added.
In Las Pinas, Villar said, plastic wastes were recycled into school chairs and donated to public schools around the Philippines.