June 17, 2024

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau has launched its Plastikalikasan Program to address plastic waste in mining sites, including its neighboring communities.

In a news release, the DENR said Plastikalikasan is a nationwide long-term program on plastic waste management in mining areas.

“At the DENR, our thrust on climate change adaptation and mitigation is at the forefront of our efforts. Plastikalikasan is not just a one-day cleanup project, it is a cornerstone of our strategy to build resilience against the impacts of climate change,” Sec. Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga said.

She said the program, which is done with the help of stakeholders, will serve as a platform for mining and mineral processing companies to collect, recycle, reuse, and dispose plastic waste.

It will be integrated into a company’s annual implementation of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP) and ISO 14001:2015, allocated with appropriate and sufficient budget.

“The annual EPEP outlines the methods and procedures a company will employ to achieve its environmental protection and management goals throughout the lifespan of the mine. Under the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and its revised implementing rules and regulations, the EPEP should be prepared and approved before the commencement of mining,” the release read.

The Plastikalikasan program launch coincided with the Earth Day 2024 celebration, wherein 15 MGB regional offices spearheaded community cleanup drives, with over 7,000 participants from mining contractors and permit holders, as well as volunteers from communities, local government, and non-government organizations.

An initial report of the cleanup drive showed around 47,000 kilograms of plastic and other solid waste were collected across several mining sites and its host and neighboring communities.

Loyzaga expressed delight over the active participation from the mineral industry, communities, and other stakeholders to restore, protect, and sustain the environment.

She also reminded them of their responsibility in ensuring that their mining operations adhere to the highest standard of environmental protection and conservation.

Loyzaga said the MGB will officially incorporate Plastikalikasan in the EPEP for operationalization by 2025.

She said an incentive program mechanism will be implemented under Plastikalikasan to motivate communities to actively participate in the reduction, recycling, or upcycling of plastic waste.

Details of the mechanism, including the types of incentives and the criteria for eligibility, will be developed by MGB.

The DENR-MGB said it will also help facilitate the forging of partnerships between mining companies and non-government and recycling organizations under the program.

MGB data shows that currently, there are 59 operating metallic mines, 61 operating non-metallic mines, and eight mineral processing plants in the country. – PNA