Pioneer cities advance in promulgating local action plans on marine litter, share best practices from on ground experience

In a fitting celebration of World Oceans Day 2022, Ormoc City adopted their City Plan of Action on Marine Litter (CPOA-ML) 2023-2028 last June 8. Through a resolution by the City Development Council, the CPOA-ML was included in their Annual Investment Plan, opening more funding opportunities for programs, projects, and activities under the plan.

Ormoc is the third city in the Philippines to develop and promulgate a local government action plan on marine litter that localizes the Philippine National Plan of Action for the Prevention, Reduction, and Management of Marine Litter (NPOA-ML), with the overarching goal of “zero waste to Philippine waters by 2040”.

Earlier this year, the cities of Legazpi and Cagayan de Oro had officially adopted their CPOA-MLs and integrated them into their local plans through different adoption instruments. For Legazpi, it was adopted through a resolution by the Legazpi City Planning and Development Council which effectively included the plan in the city’s medium term investment plan; for Cagayan de Oro, it was through a resolution by the City Solid Waste Management Board, integrating the CPOA-ML in their updated Ten-year Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) thereby providing the impetus to mainstream the municipal solid waste management components of the CPOA-ML into the SWMP.

The three cities, along with Calapan, Davao, and Manila, are pioneering the development of CPOA-ML with technical support from the Healthy Oceans and Clean Cities Initiative (HOCCI), a marine plastic litter (MPL) reduction project implemented by UN-Habitat Philippines with funding support from the Government of Japan.

Local experience, national and regional discourse

Developing local plans on marine litter generated a wealth of knowledge and experience for the cities – including establishing waste and non-waste baseline information, mapping out existing local plans across the different marine plastic litter reduction strategies, supporting livelihood opportunities for vulnerable groups, identifying plastic 3Rs projects, and expanding partnership networks, among others. HOCCI partner cities were keen to contribute to national and regional discourse by sharing their experiences on ground.

Most recently, Elvisa Mabelin of Cagayan de Oro City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office shared their best practices in solid waste management and experience in developing their CPOA-ML at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) Region 12’s 4th Environmental Summit last June 21-22.

Ingrid Macabare of Ormoc City Environment and Natural Resources Office also presented their CPOA-ML at the DENR-EMB Region 8 NPOA-ML roll out last June 22; she discussed their CPOA-ML planning process and how spatial analysis and urban planning elements informed the development of their plan.

Last May 30, Engr. Neil Dominic Careo of Legazpi Office of City Environment and Natural Resources presented their CPOA-ML at the 1st ASEAN Regional Workshop series organized by the ASEAN Secretariat and GIZ 3RProMar. The regional forum, aimed at accelerating the implementation of the ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combatting Marine Debris, provided an opportunity to showcase to an international audience how local governments like Legazpi can contribute to cohesively addressing the marine litter issue with actions on the ground.  

Diverse local solutions

With three local action plans adopted, and three more in their final stages of development, HOCCI partner cities have also been gearing up for the implementation of their plastic 3Rs projects. The projects had been identified and formulated through a participatory process engaging local stakeholders, with technical support from HOCCI, its implementing partner the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, and the Project Advisory Committee.

Responding to the different gaps and contexts of the cities, their projects demonstrate a diverse set of local solutions to the marine plastic litter problem. These include, for example, local policy development for marine litter reduction and solid waste management, sustainable plastic 3R enterprise development, smart waste management technology, and plastic footprint and plastic diversions credit certification to test readiness for an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme.

HOCCI partner cities will receive funding support from UN-Habitat as part of the grant from the Government of Japan to implement their projects. Implementation is set to start by second half of 2022.


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