Eleventh Hour: Creating a community of practice for plastic regulation and zero-waste solutions

By Branch


Plastic pollution is causing irreparable damage to ecosystems, affecting human health, and contributing to the climate crisis. However, due to how ingrained plastics, especially single-use plastics, are into our economic activities, phasing them out will be an arduous challenge.


This is evident as the bill creating a national policy that would regulate and eventually phase out single-use plastics (SUPs) in the country languishes in Congress. Several lawmakers were more inclined to enact a law that will mandate companies and commercial establishments to manage plastic waste and pollution through extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes.

Despite the lack of a national policy, data from the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) showed that about 30 percent of local government units (LGUs) in the country have some form of policy to regulate the use of plastics, particularly plastic bags. These local ordinances have different scopes, different definitions of single-use plastics, and different sanctions.


The policy note highlighted the best practices from Marikina City, Makati City, and Quezon City that could be adopted by other LGUs to improve their own plastic waste management and reduction systems. It also included recommendations directed at improving current LGU policies and enabling better ASUP implementation.

Following this initiative, we saw the need to create a compendium of local policies, programs, and initiatives on managing plastic waste to create a community of practice and to amplify the clamor for a national law that will comprehensively and effectively address the proliferation of single-use plastics in our communities.

In line with this, we launched this week our “Bawal Plastikan” initiative where we ask citizens across the Philippines about the policies and programs against single-use plastics in their city/ municipality. This could include local ordinances, consumer incentives programs, and recycling or upcycling initiatives.

Through this campaign, we aim to have a better picture of the efforts to curtail the plastic crisis at the local level, in the absence of a national law on plastics.

Bawal Plastikan—loosely translating to no pretending/ faking—supports the notion that the journey toward sustainable production and consumption and circular economy must be genuine and inclusive for all Filipinos.

Anyone could participate! To join, you may answer our survey via bit.ly/bawalplastikan. You have the option to upload photos, videos, and documents. You can also post on social media with the hashtag #BawalPlastikan and tag us in your posts. Share with us the details of your story or experience. Lastly, you can message us through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or email.

All crowdsourced stories, photos, videos, and data from citizens will be laid out into one interactive visual map, which will provide users with information on the best practices and approaches that communities are doing against plastic pollution. 

Visit https://climatereality.ph/bawalplastikan/ to be updated on this initiative.





This article was originally published on The Climate Reality Project Philippines’ weekly column for the Manila Bulletin called Eleventh Hour.

This column serves a digital space to discuss our organization’s work on supporting the country’s just transition into a clean, affordable, and self-sufficient energy system; advancing sustainable urban mobility to highlight the issues of equity and democracy; and raising public awareness about the need to phase out single-use plastics. It also serves as a platform for Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders to share your stories, promote your climate initiatives, and provide critical insights to issues that matter to climate action, environmental protection, and sustainable development.