THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged delegates of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) to enact a resolution on a legally-binding global agreement to address plastic pollution.
Albert Magalang, DENR’s Climate Change Service chief of Climate Change Information and Technical Support Division, said that the legally-binding agreement on plastic pollution aims to reduce its discharge into the environment by covering all stages of its life cycle and by adopting a circular economy approach related to its design, production, use, and disposal.
Magalang, who led the Philippine delegation in the negotiations on the plastic treaty at the UNEA 5.2, however, stressed that the “global agreement should consider national capabilities and circumstances.”
The agreement would also tackle plastic pollution from preventive measures in the upstream part of the lifecycle, to the downstream addressing waste management to prevent plastic pollution in the marine and other environments.
Magalang added that the new resolution would also support the goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people.
Hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEA is the global authority for the environment with programs focusing on climate, nature, pollution, and sustainable development.
In addition to UNEA 5.2, UNEP is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, which is considered a historic milestone for the global environmental community.
In celebration of the anniversary of UNEP, DENR acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna stressed the importance of immediacy in promulgating policies and forging agreements for the environment.
“We realize how fast time flies and fast disappearing are the opportunities for doing the maximum good for this planet and our very existence as species. The environmental repercussions we are experiencing are all traceable to us humans such as climate change that intensifies hazards creating disasters worldwide,” Sampulna said.
He noted that environmental repercussions can be solved through the delivery of means of implementation to developing countries like the Philippines in areas such as finance, technology, and capacity building.
According to Sampulna, these environmental repercussions include the “massive disappearance of our support system like natural resources and their biodiversity, the massive choking of our oceans because of plastics, the rise of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, and the deterioration of our health from chemical and wastes.”
He also strongly advocated for the prevention and reduction of residual impacts to become the unifying standard of the collective work of member-states.