Sustainability: WWF-Philippines highlights local initiatives for Plastic-free July

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — In celebration of Plastic-free July, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines featured Plastic Smart Cities sites as model communities in developing initiatives and solutions to address plastic pollution.

In the webinar Smart Cities Lead: Community Solutions for No Plastics in Nature (NPIN) conducted on July 15, WWF-Philippines brought together representatives from different sectors from Plastic Smart Cities in the country: Manila City, Donsol Sorsogon, Davao City, Island Garden City of Samal, and San Isidro Davao Oriental.

WWF’s Plastic Smart Cities is a capacity-building initiative for cities and communities to eliminate plastic pollution. Since 2018, it has supported cities and coastal centers in taking bold action to stop plastic pollution, with a goal to reduce plastic leakage into nature by 30% in the near term, and achieving no plastics in nature by 2030.

In her opening remarks, WWF-Philippines Executive Director Katherine Custodio expressed how even our biggest problems, such as plastic pollution, are possible to address if we work together. 

“Our challenges are interconnected and so the solution needs to be connected as well. This webinar is about community solutions that give hope because they are linking lives, livelihoods, and nature as they address plastic pollution,” she added. 

During the webinar, Wilma Aravelo, President of Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina (KALIPI) from Donsol discussed the role of women in communities upcycling single-use plastics. They collect and shred the waste products and use the material as filling for plushies which they sell to tourists visiting the municipality.

WWF-Philippines has been working with KALIPI through product diversification and market development. Since then, KALIPI has been contributing to diverting plastic wastes in Donsol through their products.

From Brgy 23-C, Davao City, LIKHAnegosyo president and Sangguniang Kabataan official Arcel Coton discussed the importance of mobilizing the youth to address the plastic problem.

LIKHAnegosyo aims to become an avenue of productive social growth and unite the youth by increasing awareness on proper waste disposal and management, developing innovative solutions to address plastic pollution, and transforming the youth to be advocates of No Plastics in Nature initiative.

Plastic Smart Cities recognizes that there is no single solution to address plastic pollution but rather a comprehensive strategy that engages all actors – governments, businesses, and communities – to examine every aspect of the life-cycle of any given plastic material, and identify key elements that are ripe for interventions.

Among the multisector panel of speakers includes:

  • Hon. Justina Buenviaje-Yu, Municipal Mayor of San Isidro

  • Joanna Mae Norcio, PSO IV, Assistant Chief, Operations Division, Department of Public Services, Manila City

  • Julian Rodriguez III, Manager, Technical Services Director and Pollution Control Managing Head of Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort in the Island Garden City of Samal 

To conclude the webinar, NPIN National Lead Czarina Constantino – Panopio encouraged continuous partnership and collaboration among women, youth, local businesses, local governments, and other stakeholders until we achieve our vision of having no plastics in nature.

“The beauty of this project really is its heart which is striving to create a balance between humans and nature. We are thankful for these stakeholders and we look forward to continuing our partnership to stop plastic waste leakage in nature,” Panopio said.

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