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SC push for gov’t action on plastic pollution sought

Republika

The Supreme Court (SC) has been asked to address a “ticking ecological time bomb” through making the government address plastic pollution. The national government was supposed to take a step curbing it 20 years ago. It’s imperative for possible irreversible environmental damage to be prevented.

Consisting of fisherfolk, a former lawmaker, climate and youth activists, as well as environmentalists, the group asked the SC to issue a writ of continuing mandamus and a writ of kalikasan. They cited the negligence of the government which let “the unabated emission of millions of tons of plastic waste into every nook and cranny of the Philippine archipelago.”


Respondents of the petition are all Cabinet officials: Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Benjamin Abalos Jr., Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez. Former Public Works Secretary Mark Villar is also a respondent; he recently quit to pursue a Senate bid.


Part of the petition reads: “To put an end to the runaway existential threat, the petitioners come seeking extraordinary relief so that their progeny—their generations yet unborn—may be given a fighting chance of being born at all into a world that is not drowning in plastic.”


The writ of continuing mandamus compels the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) to make a list of plastic products that are banned.


Under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 which is Republic Act No. 9003, the NSWMC was mandated to prepare a list of products and packaging that are nonenvironmentally acceptable (Neapp). It was supposed to be published within a year of the measure’s approval.


Ever since the law was passed, the NSWMC has not published the Neapp.


The writ of kalikasan is a legal remedy when the constitutional right to a healthy, balanced ecology of persons and organizations is violated.


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