The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other research bodies in the country should tap other nations for technology to recycle plastics into construction materials to build sustainable houses for the homeless, said Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers.
Barbers warned that choking waterways with plastics could breed disaster, particularly during rainy season.
“Marine pollution arising from plastic debris and other forms of garbage choking our waterways worsen our environmental problems,” Barbers said.
“I urge the DENR and other research agencies of the government to reverse the cycle of plastic pollution by working with other countries to lessen, if not eliminate, its toxic impacts on human health and ecology,” he added.
A 2015 report on plastic pollution by international group Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment indicated that the Philippines is the world’s third-biggest source of plastic leaking into the ocean and has among the highest trash collection rates in Southeast Asia.
On the other hand, the latest waste and brand audit by environmental groups Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) showed that six of the top 10 plastic polluters in six major cities in the Philippines are multinational brands.
The MEF conducted the audit in Malabon, Quezon City, Batangas City, Nueva Vizcaya, Tacloban City and San Fernando, Pampanga.
It said about 79% of branded plastic residual waste came from food packaging, followed by household (12%) and personal care (8%) products.
“The DENR should tap technology from countries that have been successful in reducing plastic footprint,” Barbers said.
He also urged Filipinos to continue doing garbage segregation at home to make it easier to redo, reuse and recycle plastics.
“It is only through our coordinated action that we could help lessen the impact of plastic pollution on our people and environment,” Barbers said.
“We don’t have to wait for the rainy season to come in before we realize that this environment scourge would further claim the lives of more people, particularly those living in fenceline communities and esteros,” he added. #