Dow Chemical Philippines, PBSP, and CISTEM partner together to address challenges on plastic waste management
Plastic pollution is one of the biggest challenges in waste management. It causes landfills to overflow, clog drainage systems, harm ecosystems and affects economies such as tourism and fisheries.
The World Bank recently reported that Southeast Asia emerged as a hot spot for plastic pollution because of rapid urbanization and its convenience and versatility particularly in the packaging of products. The Philippines ranks as the third-largest contributor of plastic waste in the world with an estimated 750,000 metric tons of mismanaged plastic entering the ocean every year.
To help address problems in plastic waste management, Dow Chemical Philippines, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and Center for Integrated STEM Education, Inc. (CISTEM) partnered to work together on Plastic Sustainability Education to empower the next generation of environment champions.
NOT A SIMPLE WASTE PROBLEM
In the Philippines, both the public and private sector are working on strategies and projects in an effort to reduce plastic wastes. Circular economy and plastic sustainability are a solution to return those post-consumer plastics to the production stream and help add value to those plastics waste, generating economic value for society and the community and improving their well-being. However, it will need to start from people’s behavior to segregate their waste before putting them into the trash bin.
The Plastic Sustainability Education project aims to contribute in lessening plastic pollution by raising awareness and improving the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of teachers and learners in middle school on how to use plastics sustainably with the circular economy plastics principle. Dow Chemical Philippines and PBSP engaged CISTEM to develop digital education modules consisting of Solid Waste Management, Waste and Impact on the Environment, Plastics and Climate Change, Plastics Circular Economy Solution, and Roles and Responsibilities to Prevent Plastic Waste and Pollution.
“Education is a key in increasing environmental awareness among young people and empowering them to be environmental stewards accelerating environmental changes that urgently need to be made,” said PBSP Executive Director Elvin Ivan Y. Uy.
Dow Chemical Philippines and PBSP engaged CISTEM to develop digital education modules consisting of Solid Waste Management, Waste and Impact on the Environment, Plastics and Climate Change, Plastics Circular Economy Solution, and Roles and Responsibilities to Prevent Plastic Waste and Pollution.
“This is an excellent model for the industry, academe, and the government to join hands together to solve a very important problem and address key issues in our Philippine Ecosystem. CISTEM, together with PBSP, is happy to link the industry with the academe. I am hoping that we will be fully guided by the government through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Education (DepEd), and National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) to be able to really come up with impactful and comprehensive products moving forward,” said CISTEM Chairman of the Board Dr. Gonzalo Serafica.
The modules will be uploaded and maintained in a Learning Management System that can be accessed by up to 1,000users (trained and certified) every year. The training platform can also be accessed by teachers and learners from any location in the Philippines and around the globe.
"We are elated that PBSP, in tandem with CISTEM and Dow Chemical Philippines, is mobilizing plastic sustainability stakeholders to help manage plastic wastes through education and stewardship. These modules are very timely as we would like to instill in our schoolchildren the values of environmental protection and sustainable development through proper solid waste management and addressing the global problem of plastic pollution by showing them the big picture,” said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Field Operations and Environment Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna.
PARTNERS FOR ENVIRONMENT SUSTAINABILITY
The project is engaging experts on education and plastics sustainability to ensure the credibility, relevance, appropriateness, and timeliness of the modules that will be developed under the project. CISTEM with its track record on advancing integrated STEM education through curricular innovations, learning resource development, teacher upskilling, and government-industry-education partnerships has been chosen to carry out this critical component of the project. In addition, the project will also engage DepEd, Commission on Higher Education, and other educational institutions and industries to sustain the trainings of teachers and learners on plastic sustainability.
“Sustainability has been the cornerstone of Dow’s business since our founding and underpins every decision we make. By 2030, Dow will help “stop the waste” by enabling 1 million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused, and recycled through its direct actions and partnerships. While plastic pollution is a global challenge, it is magnified particularly in Southeast Asia. We need to look closer into the Asian problem of plastic waste and find Asian solutions as well. We are very thankful that we have experts coming from the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore so we can come up with an Asian approach to solve this problem. We are very honored that DepEd, DENR and National Solid Waste Management Commission are supporting this project,” said Dow Chemical Philippines Country Manager Roberto Batungbacal.
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