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Single use plastic is banned in Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park

Press Release Date: March 5, 2024

The escalating plastic crisis does not spare even the protected areas. This has prompted one of the most important key biodiversity areas in the country to ban single-use plastics. The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park (NSMNP) in Isabela approved a resolution banning single-use plastics in the country’s largest protected area.

NSMNP spans a total of 359,486 hectares, including 287,861 hectares of land area and 71,625 hectares of coastline marine areas covering the municipalities of San Pablo, Cabagan, Tumauini, San Mariano, Palanan, Dinapigue, Maconacon, Divilacan, and the City of Ilagan, all in the Province of Isabela.

PAMB Resolution No. 12, series of 2023, prohibits the sale, distribution, in retail or otherwise, of any product that is placed, wrapped, or packaged in single-use plastics, such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery, stirrers and Styrofoam. This applies to commercial and business establishments operating within the land and coastal waters of NSMNP.

“The PAMB of NSMNP finds it imperative to curb plastic pollution to shield our marine ecosystems and wildlife resources in the park from the persistent negative impacts of plastics. With the prevention of sale of products wrapped in single-use plastics, we can better manage the plastics that encroach on our land and waters and encourage our people to protect our very own Sierra Madre Park by avoiding unnecessary single-use plastics,” stressed Director Gwendolyn Bambalan, Regional Executive Director of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 2 and PAMB chair.

NSMNP was established as a protected area by virtue of Republic Act No. 9125 of 2001 and in accordance with the National Integrated Protected Area System of 1992 as amended by Republic Act No. 11038 (Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018).

Commonly known as “The Last Great Forest”, NSMNP is considered one of the most important protected area systems and the richest in terms of genetic, species and habitat diversity. It is one of the ten (10) priority protected areas in the country.

“This is a compelling stride towards the protection and preservation of the rich biodiversity of NSMNP. We are pleased about this huge development and commend the PAMB and the stakeholders for taking this bold step to reduce single-use plastics because this will not only benefit NSMNP’s flora and fauna, with several species considered endangered, but also the communities surrounding the area. We expect the nine local government units (LGUs) comprising the protected area to adopt and strengthen local ordinances to strongly implement the PAMB resolution and RA 9003,” pointed out Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Vice President of Oceana.

NSMNP’s various ecosystems provide fresh water for irrigation and domestic uses and food. It also serves as barrier to flooding for some 56,000 people (PSA NSO 2010) who live within and adjacent to the park.

Ramos said NSMNP is the latest protected area that prohibits single-use plastics in their location. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and Apo Reef Natural Park previously declared similar regulation prohibiting single-use plastics among its visitors, residents, and business establishments operating in the marine protected area. (END)


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