Plastic trash in the sea results in many problems for the environment, animals, and human settlements. A recent study found that there is a significant amount of plastic waste not adequately disposed of and end up polluting the environment. WWF-Philippines/Neal Roxas
Filipinos consume about 2.15 million tons of plastics in a year and from which 9% are recycled and 35% leaks into the open environment, according to a study conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), in a project funded by Grieg Foundation.
That amount of total plastics is equivalent to the weight of 41 Titanics. And out of that total, 14 of those massive ships (35%) end up as plastic waste in the ocean every year. A key pathway in how plastic pollution ends up in oceans is through ports where there is a high level of activity and traffic.
“Plastics do not belong in our oceans. Sometimes we forget that we are part of a world that is a living breathing organism on which our own well-being and survival depend,” Katherine Custodio, WWF-Philippines Executive Director, said.
“There are three big important things we need to do together and at scale to truly address the problem of plastic pollution. First is to close the tap by reducing the amount of plastics we produce. Second is to close the loop by improving recycling, reuse, re-design and doing some very exciting innovative work looking at alternatives. Third is to stop plastic waste from leaking into the environment. We are very pleased to be working alongside partners such as the Grieg Foundation and Grieg Group of Companies in work that will contribute to end-changing impact for our country.” Custodio added.
WWF-Philippines has partnered with Grieg Foundation for a 3-year project that aims to reduce plastic wastes by 50% in three Philippine ports, namely Manila North Port, Port of Batangas, and Port of Cagayan de Oro, and to provide input to the national plan of action on marine litter. WWF also receives valuable input from the Grieg Group companies.
A key component of the partnership project called ‘Clean Ports, Clean Oceans: Improving Port Waste Management in the Philippines’ is the conduct of a Solid Waste Management Baseline Study in Philippine Ports which found that about 114,927 kg of plastic wastes are generated from ports and 128,970 kg of plastic wastes from vessels.
The study attributes the amount of plastic pollution to the waste leakage from ports that happens between collection and disposal – which is connected to the city waste management system. Ports, at least 552 in the country, are likely pathways for plastic waste going into the oceans.
With the national baseline study results, WWF-Philippines worked with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), terminal operators, communities, and concerned LGUs in determining project interventions.
WWF-Philippines’ baseline study recommends several measures to reduce plastic pollution at ports:
- Stricter implementation and review of plans, programs, policies, and law
- Better coordination and teamwork among stakeholders
- Better data management framework
- Installation of properly designed and fully functioning Materials Recovery Facilities
- Installation of trash traps at drainage outfalls when necessary
- Monitoring and utilization of plastic wastes
- IEC campaigns
- Standardization of waste bin color- coding scheme
“Marine litter is one of the fastest-growing environmental problems in the world and threatens biodiversity, ecosystems and livelihoods. In the Grieg Group, we have committed ourselves to be part of the solutions in restoring our oceans. We are happy to have partnered with WWF, trying our best to solve a critical challenge to life below water. Hopefully, we are able to create solutions that can be used in ports worldwide”, says Gry Larsen, Leader Sustainability and Public Affairs, Grieg Group
With this project, WWF-Philippines will identify and implement solutions with the concerned PPA – Port Management Offices (PMOs) in Manila North Port, Port of Batangas, and Port of Cagayan de Oro. The project looks to document these solutions so that other Philippine ports can adopt these solutions to stop plastic pollution.