Single-use plastic phase out in Apo Reef Natural Park ordered - Oceana Philippines
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Single-use plastic phase out in Apo Reef Natural Park ordered

Press Release Date: March 26, 2024

Are you planning to visit Apo Reef Natural Park soon? Make sure you do not bring single-use plastic products and packaging covered by the recently passed ordinance by the Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) Protected Area Management Board (PAMB).

The PAMB Ordinance AR 23-001, passed on June 13, 2023, declared as prohibited acts any individual or commercial and business establishment “engaged in business, tourism, research and other purposes to use, sell, convey or distribute any of the following single-use plastics and products: (a) Lightweight plastic singlet bags (plastic labo) and produce bags (sando bag); (b) disposable cutlery, straws, stirrers, cups, bowls, flat plates, clingwrap, and clamshell food containers; (c) carbonated, unflavored drinking water in single-use containers less than 7 liters and other carbonated and/or flavored beverages in single-use containers less than 1.5 liters; (d) ready-to-drink beverages in doy/tetra packs; (e) balloons and balloons sticks with cups; (f) plastic-stemmed cotton buds excluding nasopharyngeal swabs for viral specimen collection; and (g) plastic-based wet wipes excluding first aid wipes and towelettes.

“This PAMB ordinance will strengthen our fight against marine pollution.  While most of the trash in Apo Reef is washed ashore from nearby provinces and countries, we still need to address this waste pollution problem inside the protected area. We also cannot deny that in one way or another, part of this trash that we throw ends up in the ocean due to the chronic lack of proper disposal facilities.  We want to be the beating heart of the battle against marine pollution in Mindoro,” said Krystal Dayne T. Villanada, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)’s Ecosystem Management Specialist and Protected Area Superintendent of ARNP.

The ordinance stipulated that violations on the fourth offense and thereafter will entail getting banned from entering ARNP for a year. “With the penalties and provisions of this ordinance, Apo Reef will radiate the passion of marine conservation through the reduction of single-use plastic,” added Villanada.

ARNP is the second marine protected area to ban single-use plastic, following the lead of Tubbataha Reef Natural Park (TRNP).

“We are proud of the leadership set by the management bodies of these two natural parks and their commitment to reduce plastic pollution in our ocean. We would like to express our gratitude to ARNP management body for their timely passage of the ordinance. The alarming presence of microplastics found in our coral reefs, seagrass and commercially significant fishes should move our government to cohesively take action to ban single-use plastics at the national scale,” said Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Vice President of Oceana Philippines International.

Results in the study conducted by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau of the DENR confirmed the presence of microplastics in the 10 water bodies in different parts of the country that serve as their study sites. ARNP is among these sites where microplastic contamination is evident, albeit significantly less than the other marine protected areas, Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS), and Taklong Island National Marine Reserve (TINMAR).

“We hope that our beloved tourists in Apo Reef will understand that starting a new regulation is hard. We must get used to it for it to be effective. We appeal to you to help us fight against marine pollution.  Reducing single-use plastics is not an overnight job, it should be a habit that we must embrace anywhere we go.  May we set a good example to others, dahil ang turista ng Apo, tourist-ponsable,” said Villanada. (END)


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