Bayawan, Bacolod, and Sipalay City, along with the municipalities of Cauayan, Hinobaan, Basay, Sta. Catalina, and Siaton have declared their commitment to reduce plastic waste in their communities by the year 2020.
This declaration, also known as the “Bayawan Agreement”, was signed by representatives of the mentioned Local Government Units (LGU) and all guests present at the Plastic Waste Solutions Summit at Bayawan City on , August. 28.
The Bayawan Agreement highlighted that by year 2020, the LGUs would have implemented a Solid Waste Management Plan with a section on Actions for Plastic Waste. It also entails legislation of policies and programs that advances reducing and recycling of plastic waste. Lastly, it involves significant reduction in the production of plastic waste as individuals.
The Plastic Waste Solutions Summit is a spin-off of the Sea Waste Education to Eradicate Plastic (SWEEP). It is a gathering of government units, communities, and project partners [of SWEEP] to address the plastic pollution crisis through sharing of solid waste management practices, and discussing sustainable alternatives to plastics.
For the last four months, SWEEP has conducted a series of coastal clean-ups and waste audits in the mentioned areas above. With more than 1000 participants, they went on gathering data for scientific research on waste collected, waste sources, and management practices.
Kaila Ledesma Trebol, Vice-President for Conservation of the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI), shared the results of SWEEP’s 16 waste assessments and brand audits.
She said that in their initial findings, with samples gathered from May to August this year., Banagua in Bacolod) City ranked highest in terms of waste per metric tons. And 33% of the waste were sando bags.
She also added that SWEEP follows a threecourse plan of action with their coastal clean-ups beginning with the “audit.” This is when the team looks at the trash, the manufacturer, and its source among others. Each piece is counted when auditing.
After auditing, the team calls for “awareness.” Trebol said they ask concerned citizens to join in their clean-up drivess. These clean-ups serve as an eyeopener, especially for those who “did not realize how much trash here” is until they join the team.
They call the final course “action.” This is when the team coordinates with other members of the community to address their findings. For instance, Trebolr saidys that the summit is one form of action since LGUs, NGOs, and other community partners are gathered to find solutions to the plastic waste crisis. (By Aprille Roselle Vince R. Juanillo, Association of Young Environmental Journalists)