DENR Sarangani eyes strict enforcement of total plastic ban

DENR Sarangani eyes strict enforcement of total plastic ban

- in Philippines

Beach-goers in Sarangani Bay will soon need to invest in reusable tumblers before heading to catch a tan. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 12 or Soccscksargen called this week for a strict enforcement of the total ban on single-use plastic and other related items in the environmentally critical Sarangani Bay.

According to a statement by DENR-12 regional executive director Nilo Tamoria, the agency is urging local government units to properly implement the plastic ban. Both LGUs and their communities are the front line to prevent environmental degradation.

The statement by Tamoria came in time to address the three-day 12th Sarangani Bay Festival or SarBay. The event, dubbed “the biggest summer beach party in Mindanao”, will be held in the white-sand beaches of Barangay Sumasa, Glan town.

The festival is expected to draw over 100,000 tourists. Unless the ban is properly enforced and waste monitored, the garbage generated by this event could have devastating events on the Bay’s ecosystem.

“The number of people participating in the said fest may generate huge volumes of wastes if eco-friendly measures are not observed,” he said in a statement.

The ban is covers single-use plastic and styrofoam, disposable utensils, candy wrappers and other forms of plastic pollution. Resort owners, tourists, and beach-goers are all meant to participate in the ban.

“Manage your garbage since wastes, particularly, plastic can be devastating for marine biodiversity,” Tamoria said.

“Plastics are non-biodegradable materials, which do not decay. Once discarded, plastics are likely to end up in oceans and these will be eaten by marine species, clogging their stomach and causing their death,” Tamoria explained.

DENR-12 has been conducting monitoring activities in the bay, which is a declared protected seascape. Among the important marine wildlife species present in Sarangani Bay are
Olive Ridley turtles, “dugongs” or sea cows, and “butandings” or whale sharks. Environmental workers have documented a number of cases of stranding or deaths of these species. Some individuals were found to have ingested plastic wastes.

The Protected Area Management Board of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape, through Resolution 2018-026, had set policies, conditions, and restrictions in the conduct of the SarBay fest, requiring organizers to intensify the monitoring and compliance for a ”zero waste beach event.”

According to Joy Oloquin, the protected area superintendent, the event organizers should ensure that their activities leave no garbage or solid waste uncollected at the end of the festival.

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