Govt sued for alleged inaction on plastic pollution

Several groups and individuals sought legal action against the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) and some government officials for their alleged failure to act on the country's plastic pollution problem for the past 20 years.

10/28/2021 2:09:00 PM

Several groups and individuals sought legal action against the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) and some government officials for their alleged failure to act on the country's plastic pollution problem for the past 20 years.

Several groups and individuals sought legal action against the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) and some government officials for their alleged failure to act on the country's plastic pollution problem for the past 20 years.

A writ of kalikasan is a legal remedy under Philippine law that provides protection of one's constitutional right to a healthy environment. Meanwhile, a writ of continuing mandamus is issued by a court against an agency that failed to perform an act enjoined by environmental laws.

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A copy of the petition obtained by CNN Philippines said the NSWMC allegedly failed to fulfill its mandate of releasing a list of non-environmentally acceptable products (NEAP) to be banned underRA 9003or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. Its author, former senator Sergio Osmena III, is among the 52 petitioners.

"For twenty long years - an entire generation - the Respondents steadfastly refused to prepare the list of non-environmentally acceptable products as mandated by §29," the petition stated, referring to the section in the law that requires the NSWMC to craft the list within a year of the act's effectivity. headtopics.com

In - two decades since RA 9003 took effect - a NSWMC resolution labeled plastic coffee stirrer and plastic straw as NEAP. But the petitioners noted that the resolution was not posted on the country's journal, the Official Gazette.NSWMC's alternate chairman Usec. Benny Antiporda himself acknowledged that the listing was"

long overdue.""[W]e need to catch up with the demand of solid waste management in our country," Antiporda said eight months ago.Apart from the NSWMC, the respondents include Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Science and Technology Department chief Forunato De La Pena, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, and Public Works Secretary Roger Mercado.

CNN Philippines has reached out to Usec. Antiporda for comment on the petition but he has yet to respond.The plastic problemApril 2021 article publishedon the Science Advances journal, which found that the Philippines was the largest contributor of mismanaged plastic waste transported to aquatic environments through rivers.

The country emits 356,371 metric tons of waste per year, which pass through 4,820 of its rivers, the article noted. However, this only comprises 8.8% of the country's overall plastic waste contribution, it added.The Pasig River was also the"most polluting river" based on monthly emissions of floating macroplastics from 67 different rivers collected between 2017 and 2020. headtopics.com

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The petitioners stressed that proliferation of plastic waste is a concern of food security, health, and livelihood.One of them, Pablo Rosales - a fisherman for the past eight to ten years - said he is fearful that the plastic disaster would put a permanent dent on fisherfolk's source of income.

"Sa bawat paglabas ng pag-aaral na ito ay tumatama kaagad sa kabuhayan ng mga mangingisda," Rosales said during an Oceana virtual conference."Tumitimo ang takot ng mamamayan para kumain ng likas na yaman mula sa karagatan."[Translation: Every time research (on plastic) comes out, it immediately affects the livelihood of fisherfolk. It adds to the public's fear of consuming resources from the sea.]

"Isa itong parang bangungot sa kabuhayan, bangungot sa mamamayan, bangungot sa kalikasan," he added. Read more: CNN Philippines »

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If we do have a government agency which is supposed to be rrsponsible for the country's plastic pollution problem then they need to be sued and put to jail.

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