Biodegradable and Compostable Plastic Products

​Environmentalists Sue Philippine Government for Ignoring Plastic Pollution

Nov 02 , 2021
Recently, more than 50 petitioners from the youth, fishermen, and waste management sectors filed a lawsuit against Philippine government officials for alleged inaction in issuing a list of non-environmentally acceptable products (NEAP).

Four months ago, the groups had said they intended to file charges against the National Solid Waste Management Council (NSWMC) and other government agencies for taking too long in preparing a list of products and packaging deemed environmentally harmful.

Earlier this year, the American Association for the Advancement of Science published a study showing that 28 percent of the rivers causing global plastic pollution are in the Philippines and that the Pasig River is "the most polluted river in the world in terms of plastic waste.

In addition, 63,000 tons of plastic enter the ocean from the Pasig River each year.

Under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 or Republic Act 9003, NSWMC must prepare a list of non-environmentally acceptable materials within one year of the law's implementation and provide annual updates.

"Because of their refusal, the respondents have allowed millions of tons of plastic waste to be released unabated into every nook and cranny of the Philippine archipelago. This, in turn, exposes countless humans and wildlife to thousands of years of environmental hazards," the petitioners said in their lawsuit.

Oceana said the petitioners filed the lawsuit in the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning.

"Plastic not only affects our environment, it leads to a host of concerns that will ultimately threaten our survival as inhabitants of this planet," Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Oceana vice president, said in a statement.

"It puts our food security, livelihoods, and health in jeopardy. The frustrating thing is that these problems could have been avoided if the NSWMC had fulfilled its responsibilities." She said.

Defendants in the case include the NSWMC and its members: environment secretary Roy A. Cimatu; trade secretary Ramon M. Lopez; science and technology secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña; health secretary Francisco Duque III; and public works secretary Mark S. Villar, who recently resigned because he is running for May 2022 Senate elections; Agriculture Secretary William D. Dahl; and Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Benjamin de Castro Abalos, Jr.

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