Legazpi and Cagayan de Oro Cities pioneer local action plans on marine litter in the Philippines

Legazpi City has officially adopted its City Plan of Action on Marine Litter (CPOA-ML) 2021-2025, making it the first city 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”.

The CPOA-ML was adopted through a resolution by the Legazpi City Planning and Development Council (LCPDC) on February 22, 2022 which effectively included the plan in the city’s medium term investment plan, opening more funding opportunities for the programs, projects, and activities under the plan.

The CPOA-ML was developed by the City of Legazpi 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. HOCCI supports Strategy 10 of the NPOA-ML, which stipulates the need for a localization guide or framework for local-level implementation. Thus, HOCCI works with Legazpi City and five other pilot cities in strengthening local government unit (LGU) and local stakeholder capacities to localize and implement the national plan. The pilot cities would be the first cities in the Philippines to develop CPOA-MLs and demonstrate how marine litter can be reduced and managed by local stakeholders.

Legazpi City conduct of waste baselining using the Waste Wise Cities Tool (WaCT) to establish science- and evidence-based baseline information on marine litter as part of their CPOA-ML

The Legazpi CPOA-ML complements the city’s Solid Waste Management (SWM) Plan 2015-2024 and serves as a guide in implementing its local marine plastic litter reduction measures in an integrated manner and supports the city’s goal to “maintain a healthy and socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable Legazpi City Environment and Solid Waste Management for future generations”.

Some of the salient components of their CPOA-ML include the focus on developing social enterprises that aim to promote plastic 3Rs advocacy, marine litter baselining and capacity building, optimization of marine solid waste collection and transportation through Smart Waste Management System Mobile and Web Application technology, and establishment of centralized materials recovery facility.

The Legazpi CPOA-ML is set to be presented to the Sangguniang Panglungsod for adoption through a local ordinance.

CPOA-ML undertakings as presented to the LCPDC

Other pilot cities advance in localizing the NPOA-ML

Meanwhile, Cagayan de Oro City Solid Waste Management Board (SWMB) has issued a resolution on February 9, 2022 adopting their CPOA-ML for integration into the updating of their 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.

CdO City Environment and Natural Resources Office presenting the CPOA-ML to the SWMB

Aside from Legazpi and Cagayan de Oro, the cities of Calapan, Davao, Manila, and Ormoc are also currently developing their respective CPOA-MLs which they presented during the 2nd HOCCI Project Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting in January 2022. PAC is a multi-agency body that guides HOCCI in its project implementation, and is composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as chair; the Department of the Interior and Local Government as co-chair; the League of Cities of the Philippines, the Philippine Alliance for Recycling and materials Sustainability as private sector representative to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, the local government of the six pilot cities, as members; and UN-Habitat as secretariat.

The meeting, which follows the 1st PAC meeting in March 2021, provided a venue for the cities to share their experience in localizing the NPOA-ML that could be emulated by other cities.

The process includes the creation of Marine Litter Technical Working Group; inventory of all ongoing initiatives, plans, policies and programs of the city government and the local stakeholders which were validated through city inception workshops; establishing local waste baseline information using the Waste Wise Cities Tool (WaCT)  and the Waste Flow Diagram (WFD), as well as non-waste baseline information on knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP), and environmental and social safeguards (ESS). Capacity-building, knowledge-sharing, and linkage-building activities were also organized by HOCCI to further support the pilot cities; these include the Plastic 3R Hacks PH, social enterprise-city stakeholder matching sessions, and plastic hotspotting training.

Existing local initiatives by various stakeholders were mapped out and aligned with strategies identified in the NPOA-ML to guide the identification of locally customized solutions included in the CPOA-ML.

As a way forward, the PAC members agreed that the CPOA-ML will not be a stand-alone plan. Actions should be mainstreamed in and complement with existing plans, particularly the 10-Year SWM Plan, and other sector plans that support the different NPOA-ML strategies and activities.  

The PAC and HOCCI project team continue to provide guidance and technical support to the pilot cities who are at different stages of CPOA-ML development as well as in the formulation of project proposals to implement specific projects and activities in the CPOA-ML.

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