“A United Nations report shows the Philippines as one of the top five contributors of plastic waste in the world’s oceans. We, therefore, call on everyone to cut down the rampant use of plastics as we continue to aspire for a clean, safe and healthy environment,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
READ: Earth Hour 2019 focuses on plastic pollution
“March 30 tonight, we will join the rest of the world in switching off our lights for Earth Hour,” he said.
Earth Hour 2019, with its campaign “#Connect2Earth,” aims to build mass awareness on why nature is important and create an unstoppable movement for nature similar to when the world came together to tackle climate change.
The Earth Hour, which started as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney in 2007, is now the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action for our planet and nature.
Since then, it has grown to engage more than 180 countries and territories worldwide.
Conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines spearheaded in Makati City, near the Manila Standard office, the Philippines’ main 2019 Earth Hour celebration, which aims to further draw public support for legislation on plastic waste management to help address environmental degradation and biodiversity loss from plastics pollution.
Meanwhile, local advocates for a zero waste and toxics-free society joined a growing chorus of voices seeking effective solutions to the global plastic pollution crisis.
In a press statement coinciding with the observance of the Earth Hour, the EcoWaste Coalition enjoined the government, industries, and citizens to switch off tonight in solidarity with the worldwide efforts to protect the environment from single-use plastics—the focus of the Earth Hour this year.
“To halt the chemical and plastic contamination of our water bodies, particularly the oceans, the government has to adopt sweeping policy changes that will address the problem at source, incentivize single-use plastic reduction and disincentivize single-use plastic production, ” said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“The government has to get a ban on single-use plastics in place this year as our country’s contribution to the global drive to protect the oceans from further plasticization,” she said in a press statement.
“A National Ban on Plastic and Plastic Products Act will be required to phase out single-use disposable plastics and usher in sustainable resource use. A National Action Plan will be needed to move our society away from our addiction to throw-away plastics,” she said.
“As for the industries, especially for manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods, we urge them to fast track the replacement of single-use plastic packaging with alternative product delivery systems, like refill and reuse, with a clear plan and timeline,” she said.
“As for our citizens, we urge them to minimize, if not stop, the reckless use and disposal of single-use plastics, and to adopt consumption choices and habits that will lessen the generation of plastic garbage. We ask every waste generator to manage their discards responsibly to prevent plastics and other wastes from entering the marine environment,” she added.
The EcoWaste Coalition also stressed the importance of effectively enforcing the country’s key environmental laws such as RA 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act), RA 9275 (Clean Water Act) and RA 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act) to prevent chemicals and plastics from spilling into the oceans.
These pollution prevention laws, the group stressed, were enacted to protect the environment, including marine waters, from dumping and other environmentally- damaging acts.
According to the UN report “Marine Plastic Debris and Microplastics,” “80 percent of all pollution in the sea comes from land, including some eight million tons of plastic waste each year, that have cost the lives of one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals. Moreover, it causes $8 billion in damage annually to marine ecosystems.” With PNAREAD: Greenfield, WWF set #AyokoNgPlastik for Earth Hour 2019
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