DENR-12 to go strict on single-use plastics ban in SarBay

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 30 May) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 12 has called for the strict enforcement of the total ban on single-use plastics and other related items in beaches within the critical Sarangani Bay.

Fishermen at Sarangani Bay. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Nilo Tamoria, DENR-12 regional executive director, specifically urged local government units (LGU) and communities to properly implement the measure to help protect the bay and its marine resources from the dangers of plastic pollution.

He issued the call as Sarangani Province formally opened on Thursday the three-day 12th Sarangani Bay Festival or SarBay in the white sand beaches of Barangay Gumasa in Glan town.

More than 100,000 tourists are expected to join the festivity, which is dubbed as “the biggest summer beach party in Mindanao.”

Tamoria said resort owners, tourists and beach goers should properly observe eco-friendly measures, especially the ban on single-use plastics and styrofoam, use of disposable utensils and littering of candy wrappers and other related materials.

“The number of people participating in the said fest may generate huge volumes of wastes if eco-friendly measures are not observed,” he said in a statement.

If such activities are not properly managed, the official said it will just put to waste the conservation efforts for Sarangani Bay that are being undertaken by the agency, LGUs, private sectors and other stakeholders.

“Manage your garbage since wastes, particularly plastic, can be devastating for marine biodiversity,” Tamoria said.

Sarangani Bay, which is a declared protected seascape, is home to various important marine wildlife species like Olive Ridley turtles, “dugongs” or sea cows and “butandings” or whale sharks.

Environmental workers have documented these past months a number of cases of stranding and deaths of these species in the area, with some caused by ingestion of plastic wastes.

“Plastics are non-biodegradable materials, which do not decay. Once discarded, plastics are likely to end up in oceans and these will be eaten by marine species, clogging their stomach and causing their death,” Tamoria explained.

The Protected Area Management Board of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape, through Resolution No. 2018-026, had set policies, conditions and restrictions in the conduct of the SarBay fest, requiring organizers to intensify the monitoring and compliance for a “”zero waste beach event.”

Joy Oloquin, protected area superintendent, said the organizers should ensure that there will be no garbage or solid waste left uncollected at the end of the festivity. (MindaNews)