US gives P20M grant to green groups to combat PH marine plastic pollution
MANILA, Philippines — Two environment organizations on Thursday received some P20-million grant to help advance efforts in reducing plastic pollution in Philippine oceans.
EcoWaste Coalition and Mother Earth Foundation Inc. each got $200,000 or around P10 million from the United States to spearhead programs to fight plastic pollution in the country.
U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Deputy Chief of Mission John Law said it is vital to involve local communities in leading the solutions to combat plastic pollution, which, he said, was “increasing at an alarming rate.”
The grant – awarded to the two environmental groups in a ceremony at the Bulwagang Ninoy Aquino of the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau in Quezon City – is part of the Municipal Waste Recycling Waste Program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“Unfortunately, the flow of this plastic pollution into the oceans is increasing at an alarming rate. That creates an urgent challenge for the entire world community. So while this challenge is global, what you see in the Philippine government is: The solutions can and must be local,” Law said.
“Effective recycling and waste management systems depend on community-led awareness racing and education campaign, private sector initiatives, and solutions and local government support for that ability to collect, to manage waste,” he added.
USAID’s Municipal Waste Recycling Waste Program supports solid waste management and water recycling initiatives by the local and national government, civil society organizations, and academic institutions in the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
Based on a 2015 study titled “Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean,” the Philippines is the world’s third-largest plastic polluter to the marine environment.
The Philippines, the study said, contributes 750,000 metric tons of plastic waste annually.
Mother Earth Foundation chair Sonia Mendoza said her group will use the funding to implement a “zero waste” system in 30 barangays in Batangas City. The group’s project will run for 18 months.
“They (USAID) were the ones who chose Batangas, because it’s a coastal city, so to prevent marine plastic litter in the ocean…they chose Batangas,” Mendoza told reporters after the awarding ceremony.
“Actually partner na kami ng Batangas before. Pero ngayon with the fund we can do more. Kasi three barangays lang nagawan namin doon. They are all coastal barangays, working ‘yung tatlong yo’n. Siyempre walang impact ‘no? Tatlo lang,” she further said.
Three plastic pollution studies
EcoWaste, for its part, will conduct three studies on Manila Bay’s plastic balance flow, solid waste management collection efficiency, and assessment of the residents’ awareness of existing plastic policies.
The result of the studies will then be turned over to the Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) to help the agency craft a national action plan on marine litter, according to EcoWaste National Coordinator Aileen Lucero.
“So these data would help them kung ano ‘yung mga plano ba, para masolusyonan,” Lucero told reporters in a separate interview.
“Long term ‘to, ‘yung DENR kasi ang ginagawa niya clean-up, rehabilitation. So kami, ang tingin ng EcoWaste diyan, it’s not sapat. Babalik at babalik ‘yan hangga’t hindi ka nakakapag-set up ng para sa long term,” she added.
The project will also run for 18 months, Lucero noted. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.