By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Climate Change Commission (CCC) has renewed its call to ban single-use plastics to halt the worsening state of the country’s marine ecosystems.
CCC vice-chairperson and Executive Director Emmanuel De Guzman said preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for healthy ocean pictures the urgent need to end the excessive use of plastics.
“Plastics found in our oceans is a clear manifestation of our throwaway culture that we developed over the years. We cannot continue to go business-as-usual as it heavily pollutes not only our waters but also our air when burned,” de Guzman added.
Philippines is recognized as one of the countries with rich marine ecosystems in the world but is also one of the major sources of plastic trash contributing almost 3 million metric tons of plastic wastes and 500,000 metric tons of plastic waste leakage per year.
“We have relied so much on our oceans for food, employment, energy, and recreation for many years. Unfortunately, due to our abusive practices and lack of sense of responsibility, our waters are slowly dying and it is not impossible that marine habitats and life in the sea will soon become extinct,” de Guzman said.
He also noted that aside from the crisis with marine litter, the country and other parts of the world are also experiencing destruction of coral reefs and diminishing fish population because of the fast sea surface temperature rise and ocean acidification.
“It cannot be denied that climate change is existing. We have to do appropriate actions to address it and ending plastic pollution is one good way to start,” de Guzman said.
The health of our marine life is crucial to continuity of life, especially since the Philippines is among the top fish-producing countries in the world, he added.
De Guzman urged big corporations, which ate the major contributors of microplastics, to step up and strictly regulate the production of plastics.
“We certainly cannot do this alone. Aside from the advances made by different government agencies and other stakeholders, I would also like to call the attention of big companies here in the Philippines to come and join us in bringing our oceans back to its pristine state,” de Guzman said.
“We fear that in no time, our oceans are carrying more plastics than fishes. We cannot see any more solution but to come together and implement necessary actions that will help us achieve our goal—bring back the health of our ocean, coral reefs, and the entire marine ecosystem for the benefit of the present and future generations,” he added.