PHL  advances toward a plastic-free economy, NEDA spearheads move

In a significant stride toward sustainability, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is actively working to dissociate economic growth from waste production, particularly focusing on the reduction of plastic pollution.

The push aligns with global observances such as Earth Day, with NEDA officials including Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan participating in environmentally themed events like the Earth Day Run 2024, held at the SM MOA Complex under the banner “Planet vs. Plastics.”

The Philippines, facing severe environmental challenges due to its current waste management practices, produces approximately 2.7 million tons of plastic waste annually, a byproduct of local consumer habits and a growing population, according to the World Bank.

The “tingi” culture prevalent across the nation, where goods are bought in smaller than standard retail packages, significantly contributes to this issue.

With the Philippines on a trajectory toward upper-middle-income status, the potential for increased waste generation looms.

Projections by the Philippine Statistics Authority suggest that the country’s total waste could surge to 194,138 metric tons per day by 2055.

A study led by Lourens Meijer et al. in 2021 further underscores the urgency of addressing this issue, noting that in 2019, around 10 percent of mismanaged plastic waste globally found its way into the world’s oceans.

In response to these daunting challenges, NEDA has introduced the Philippine Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production (PAP4SCP). This plan is a robust framework aimed at promoting sustainable practices across various sectors and levels of government.

A key element of this initiative is the implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act, Republic Act 11898, which compels the private sector to reduce post-consumer plastic waste.

The PAP4SCP also supports innovative alternatives to single-use plastics and promotes the development of durable, resource-efficient products.

Moreover, NEDA is backing legislative measures to phase out single-use plastics through proposals such as House Bill No. 26 and House Bill No. 4102, which seek to regulate unnecessary plastic products and impose an excise tax on single-use plastic bags, respectively.

Additionally, the National Plan of Action for the Prevention, Reduction, and Management of Marine Litter (NPOA-ML) complements these efforts by providing a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder strategy to manage marine litter effectively.

This plan, developed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources with support from the United Nations Development Programme Philippines, emphasizes the integration of circular economy principles and sustainable consumption within industry operations, particularly benefiting micro, small, and medium enterprises.

NEDA’s proactive stance not only underscores the Philippines’ commitment to combating plastic pollution but also highlights the broader agenda of fostering a green, inclusive, and resilient society for future generations.

As the country’s leading socioeconomic planning body, NEDA continues to advocate for collaborative efforts between the private sector and international partners to escalate sustainable investments and enhance overall waste management strategies.


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