The Philippines—comprised of over 7,500 islands—is the world’s third largest plastic polluter to the marine environment, contributing approximately 2.7 millions tons of plastic waste annually. Keeping waste out of the ocean is a challenge due to rising consumer consumption, dependencies on single use plastics, and ineffective waste management systems. Much of the country’s solid waste ends up in open dumping sites which allow leakage to waterways and threaten livelihoods in key sectors such as tourism and fishing.
USAID is supporting innovative approaches to solid waste management across the archipelago through its Municipal Waste Recycling Program (MRWP) and Clean Cities Blue Oceans (CCBO) initiative. To date over 188,000 individuals have benefitted from improved solid waste management services and household-level waste management practices, and grantee organizations are providing cleaner communities for approximately 1.3 million residents.
For example, in Bacolod City, USAID is reducing plastic packaging from consumer products by establishing model zero-waste convenience stores where consumers can buy household products through a dispensing system that utilizes inexpensive, reusable containers. And in Metro Manila, another grantee organized informal waste collectors into 30 mini social enterprises to improve their operations. After only four months, members of these enterprises have increased their monthly earnings above the region’s minimum wage.