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Earth Day 2022: Climate Crisis and Plastic Pollution in the spotlight

Earth Day 2022: Climate Crisis and Plastic Pollution in the spotlight

Environmental advocates from Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) and other networks criticized the government during their protest for their supposed negligence in responding to climate issues, adding that they should also be held accountable. Raya Capulong, ABS-CBN News

Environmental advocates from Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) and other networks criticized the government during their protest for their supposed negligence in responding to climate issues, adding that they should also be held accountable. Raya Capulong, ABS-CBN News
During protests against the government’s failure to respond to climate issues, environmental activists from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), and other networks, criticized the government. Raya Capulong, ABS-CBN News


MANILA – Green campaigners in Manila raised Friday the need to declare a Climate Emergency and the country’s ongoing plastic pollution problem on Earth Day 2022. They also called for protests and forums to raise awareness about these environmental issues.

During their protest against the government’s failure to respond to climate issues, environmental advocates from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice and other networks criticised it. Activists suggested that government officials should also be held responsible. 

These groups were critical of the government’s continued push for coal and fossil fuel use. Green campaigners repeatedly called on government to switch to clean energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Mahina ang mga nanunungkulan sa usapin ng siyensa ng climate change, sa kanila hindi sentrong usapin ang krisis ng klima, sa kanila ang climate crisis ay isang normal lang na sitwasyon at pangyayari, hindi lang ito lack of science kundi wala talaga silang pakialam,” said Ian Rivera, PMCJ’s national coordinator.

(Our leaders are weak on the science of climate change. They consider this a normal circumstance and don’t see it as a central part of the discussions. It’s not about them not having the science knowledge to answer this question, they just don’t care.

Rivera stated that they are concerned by a new UN climate study. It warned about a possible increase in extreme weather events.Climate change can be catastrophicIf carbon emissions levels are not changed, 2025 will be the year. 

They also urged the public to vote in leaders for the upcoming elections who would prioritize climate justice, and measures promoting a “green agenda”, saying that this would be a vote of survival.

“Itong pagkilos na ito ay panawagan sa lahat ng mamamayan na hindi na sapat ang pagbabago ang eleksyon kundi kailangan ng baguhin ang mga polisiya para sa panahon ng katindihan ng krisis sa klima ay tayong lahat ay may chance ng survival,” the environmentalist added.

(This movement is asking the public to recognize that changes in the upcoming elections won’t suffice. We must make changes to the policies as we face climate crisis and need a chance for survival.

The groups marched towards Mendiola Peace Arch, but were stopped by police. Members laid down on the ground at one point to protest.

PLASTIC CRISIS

James Boston, senior fellow of the US-based Johns Hopkins University’s Foreign Policy Institute said that multilateral efforts were necessary to address the plastic crisis in the world. 

Boston recommended coordination of the public and state, fueled science, clean seas campaign and coastal cleanups. To further inform citizens and governments about the issue, “science diplomacy,” between nations must be implemented.

He also urged ASEAN members to promote marine conservation cooperation. 

“More 8 million tons of waste plastics end up in the ocean every year. This is equivalent to dumping a garbage truck worth of plastic into the ocean every minute. Boston stated in a webinar that there are 51 trillion microplastic particles littering our oceans and seas. This is 500 times more than the stars in our galaxy.

“I consider the need for ASEAN development… The key goal is to foster cooperation and ocean observation monitoring and sharing of data and forecasting. [and]He said that the goal was to strengthen and expand existing regional agreements related to marine plastic litter. 

Boston also warned about the “ecological disaster” in the South China Sea. This is also being threatened with marine litter. 

“The goal is to promote a social media global campaign for the South China Sea to be free from plastic pollution exploitation… appeal to the UN to establish marine protected areas in the [said waters]” He said.

A study that was published last year revealed that the Philippines is the top plastic polluter in the world’s seas, producing more than a quarter of all global plastic waste. The top plastic dump source worldwide has been identified as the Pasig River.

Gloria Ramos, Oceana Philippines vice-president, called for more refillable glass bottles, and the phasing away of single-use plastics. She noted that recycling “isn’t working” to save the seas. 

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“There is no way of knowing exactly where a single-use plastic container ends up.” Ramos explained that it could end up in a recycling bin, on the street or in the ocean. 

“Stop plastic at its source… Demand accountability because the law exists,” she said, noting that the Kalikasan WritThe Supreme Court issued a directive to the government regarding the country’s plastic pollution problem.

“It cannot stand alone, relying only on laws or science. It must be merged with these. It is crucial to collaborate with other stakeholders,” she said. She also highlighted the importance media to spread the message.

Plastic pollution is now shared by local governments, which she stated “cannot be managed”. 

Jim Sapulna, Environment Secretary of the United States, pledged support for banning single use plastics last month as pollution became “uncontrollable”. 

“I, the DENR, support the bill banning small plastics, ano.” Kasi iyan ang hindi natin naku-control – shampoo, sabon, all of these things, hindi natin naku-control ito,” he had said. 

(We can’t control it anymore – shampoos, soaps (plastic items), all of these things are out of our control.

The House passed a measure last year to gradually phase out single-use plastics’ production, sale, use, and sale. Meanwhile, the Senate passed legislation to make plastic manufacturers accountable.

Some environmentalists push for zero-waste initiatives to reduce plastic pollution and for plastic-free housing.

 

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