By Ernie Reyes
Assorted plastic products washed ashore (Photo courtesy by The Japan Times)
MANILA — Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, reiterates that the overwhelming plastic wastes remain a major environmental problem.
“In the Philippines, one of the most pressing environmental problems we have is our overwhelming volume of plastic wastes. A 2015 University of Georgia study revealed that the Philippines is the world’s third-largest source of plastic waste leaking into the ocean, next to China and Indonesia,” said Villar
The senator said it is also linked with the 2021 theme of World Environment Day which is “Ecosystem Restoration’. She cites, “Plastic wastes in the ocean destroy marine life and the oceans’ ecosystem. And so, our plastic waste problem is an environmental issue we need to urgently address if we are to help in ecosystem restoration and in the conservation of our oceans.”
Villar was part of Twin Celebration of World Environment Day (June 5) and Oceans Day (June 8) organized by the Earthsavers UNESCO DREAM Center/Artist for Peace led by UNESCO Artist for Peace, Ms. Cecile Guidote-Alvarez.
Villar also cited her efforts in recycling plastic wastes into school chairs which Villar SIPAG distributes nationwide to various public schools and farm schools as a way of raising awareness on plastic wastes recycling.
In her capacity as the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate, Villar strongly pushing for the passage of the bill institutionalizing EPR or the Extended Producers Responsibility mechanism as part of the country’s solid waste management system and as a strategy to reduce the proliferation of single-use plastics that end up in the oceans and pollute the environment. It is due for sponsorship in the plenary.
Senate Bill No. 1331 or the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) Act of 2021 authored by Villar, seeks to institutionalize the practice of EPR in waste management. It also amends the 20-year-old Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
The measure makes sure that the responsibility for the entire life cycle of plastic products rest on the manufacturers. It will mandate manufacturers to recover plastic wastes from their products as a mechanism towards achieving an efficient solid waste management.
“I hope all sectors of our society will come together to strengthen our collaboration and our collective action towards eliminating our plastic waste problem. I am looking forward to our country achieving success in this within the decade,” said Villar. (AI/MTVN)