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Korea pushes need to address problem on marine plastic pollution
Korea pushes need to address problem on marine plastic pollution
Lifestyle
Korea pushes need to address problem on marine plastic pollution
by Karen Ow-Yong23 April 2024
Photo courtesy of Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the PH

MANILA – In celebration of Earth Month this April, the Korean Government’s Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) highlighted the urgent need to address the negative impacts of marine plastic pollution to the global environment.

This is KOICA’s call during a joint clean-up activity along Manila Bay at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park (LPPWP), led by KOICA Country Director Kim Eunsub and Korean Embassy Counsellor Kwon Soon Hyun.

According to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines, more than 60 representatives from KOICA, the Embassy and Philippine KOICA Fellow Association (PhilKOFA) participated in the clean-up activity, in an effort to protect and preserve the wetland park’s delicate ecosystem.

In his speech, Director Kim Eunsub highlighted the importance of the community coming together in protecting the environment and that although such effort is considered small, it all has an impact on the overall difference.

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“Today, we've come together as a community and made a small yet impactful difference in protecting our environment. Each piece of litter we collected represents a step towards cleaner waters and healthier ecosystems. KOICA is committed to support the country’s environmental efforts and has intensified its activities this year in celebration of the 30th anniversary of KOICA in the Philippines,” Director Kim said.

Meanwhile Korean Embassy Counsellor Kwon expressed his appreciation for the participation of key partners in this endeavour, such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) led by Director Ryder Rodgers and Communities Organized for Resource Allocation (CORA) with its Founder and Executive Director Antoinette Taus.

“The LPPWP coastal cleanup is considered even more meaningful with the participation of key partners such as USAID and PhilKOFA. This year is the 75th year of Philippines-Korea diplomatic relations, and the Korean government aims to continue supporting the efforts of the Philippine government in marine environmental conservation and rehabilitation,” Counsellor Kwon said.

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(Photo courtesy of Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the PH)

Data in 2023 showed that the Philippines topped the list of global plastic polluters, accounting for 36% or more than 350,000 tons of ocean plastic waste annually. Latest findings from the 2023 Rapid Assessment Standing Stock Survey carried out by CORA and KOICA at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park revealed that food wrappers and sachets constitute the predominant type of marine litter, comprising 32.9% of the total waste collected. This alarming statistic is closely followed by plastic bottles, accounting for 15.3% of the accumulated waste.

This stressed the need for the country to improve solid waste management to prevent garbage that usually ends up in rivers and oceans, the Embassy of Korea shared.

The five-year, $8.2 million “Enhancement of Marine Litter Management in Manila Bay” (EMLM) Project implemented by KOICA and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with support from USAID aims to aid local efforts in addressing the marine pollution crisis in the country.

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Activities include operating a clean-up vessel in Manila Bay, and promoting awareness, driving behavioural changes, and implementing sustainable solutions on waste management, the Embassy revealed.

The Embassy of Korea also mentioned that under the EMLM Project, CORA, together with KOICA, Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM) and Our Sea of East Asia Network (OSEAN), will conduct citizen science activities through regular marine litter monitoring, monthly coastal clean-ups, and social behaviour change (SBC) campaigns to address marine litter in Manila Bay through the My OSEAN Mission program.

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