In fight vs plastic, ‘challenge is changing people’s mindset, lifestyle’

Bong Santisteban
In fight vs plastic, ‘challenge is changing people’s mindset, lifestyle’
A study shows that the Philippines generates 2.7 million metric tons of plastic garbage every year

MANILA, Phillippines – Government and non-governmental organizations on Saturday, May 26 launched the CleanSeas Pilipinas campaign, in hopes of addressing the country’s emerging problem of plastics in Philippine seas. 

CleanSeas Pilipinas aims to mobilize the government and private sectors, as well as academic institutions, civil society organizations, international organizations, communities, and individuals to address the problem of plastics in the country’s oceans. (READ: Investing in biodiversity is investing in our future)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), and Planet Cora were behind Saturday’s launch. 

A study by Ocean Conservancy in 2015 showed that the Philippines generates 2.7 million metric tons of plastic garbage every year. From this number, 521,000 tons leak to the oceans, making the country the 3rd top source of plastic leaking into oceans globally. 

“With these alarming facts, it is important now more than ever that we take action to save our seas. I encourage everyone to do their own little part, as marine conservation is, after all, everybody’s concern and responsibility,” said Ola Almgren, resident coordinator of UNDP.

Almgren also noted that the top 5 plastic polluters in the ocean are all ASEAN countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

He said if these countries improve their solid waste management, the ocean’s plastic problem could be reduced by 45%, at least (READ: ASEAN region to lose 70-90% of habitats by 2100 – report )

DENR-BMB Director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez said this campaign would hopefully raise awareness on Filipinos’s use of plastics.

“Our biggest challenge is changing the mindset and lifestyle of the people. Hopefully, through CleanSeas Pilipinas, we will be able to be conscious of our plastic usage,” Rodriguez said. 

The launch of CleaSeas Pilipinas kicked off the Philippines’ first ever Biodiversity Festival happening at Rizal Park on Saturday to Sunday, May 26 to May 27. 

On Sunday, there will be cultural performances, environmental talks, and an “Ocean Jam” featuring musical artists Maude, Up Dharma Down, and DJ Tom Taus. Entrance to the festival is free and open to everyone. –

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