In an aim to eradicate the dependence on single-use plastics in the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) together with different agencies and institutions have joined forces to find better alternatives to these products while also providing solutions and opportunities to industries.
Hosted by the DOST -Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), the Joint Conference on Environment-Friendly Alternative Plastics is a pioneering effort to address the single-use plastic problem through a whole-of-government approach in dealing with the issue.
In collaboration with the Department of Finance (DOF), Climate Change Commission (CCC), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the government agencies seek to provide alternatives to single-use plastics in the market and accelerate the search for substitutes through research and development.
“We need to move forward and find a more environmentally sustainable alternative to plastic and by stepping up our efforts through research and development as well as a whole of government approach, I believe that we can achieve this,” DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña said.
DOF Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, who is concurrent CCC Chairperson-Designate, has stressed the urgency of adopting a national policy banning single-use plastics as the Philippines' concrete contribution to the global effort to stop the unbridled plastics pollution of the world's oceans.
Dominguez has described as a "national shame" the results of an international study that put seven of our country's rivers on the Top 10 list of plastic polluters of oceans.
“We need to be innovative and creative. It is high time for the government, industries, businesses, and advocates to work together to develop better alternatives. By not consuming plastics, our people will be able to do their part on a daily basis in saving the world’s environment,” Dominguez said.
Studies show that plastics continue to be a pervasive material in the country, being a “sachet economy” that utilizes the “tingi” retail system employed in the market. Plastic is mainly used in grocery stores, as packaging material, in construction, and a lot more due to it being cheap, strong, and extremely versatile.
Members of the industry who make use of single-use plastics also joined the conference to air their side and explain the significance of such products, and how alternatives will impact the market and the lives of those who depend on their use.
As part of resolving the issues on plastics, DOST-PCIEERD also unveiled various DOST R&D Initiatives for the Green Economy.
DOST Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit has expressed his support for a harmonized pursuit in protecting the environment through research, development, and innovations.
"As we gear towards achieving environmental sustainability by substituting single-use plastics with ecologically neutral alternatives, we shall put out more efforts to collaborate with our partners in government, the academe and the industry to ensure that we will come up with viable solutions to address the challenges brought by single-plastics use," he said.