MANILA – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna has urged businesses to step up efforts in switching to sustainable actions to combat the effects of climate change and environmental destruction in celebration of the Earth Day on April 22.

With this year’s theme “#InvestInOurPlanet,” Sampulna encouraged manufacturing companies, food businesses, and market vendors to join efforts to minimize the use of non-biodegradable and single-use plastics for packaging, which are the major contributor to the country’s residual and solid waste.

In a statement on Saturday, Sampulna emphasized that small actions, such as recycling and re-using materials, are helpful, but industries should also take part as they are also producers of plastic waste.

“Using small plastic packaging like sachets and plastic bottles is still rampant in our country today. I am urging all manufacturing firms to come up with their own recovery project where they will retrieve and buy back these plastic wastes from their consumers for cash or even food items like rice and groceries,” he said.

Likewise, the DENR chief called on food companies to switch to food packaging that is reusable or biodegradable, as these wastes, when not properly disposed of, end up in creeks, rivers, and oceans.

“I am appealing to our restaurants and food businesses not to use plastic utensils, styrofoam materials and single-use plastic containers. Instead, use eco-friendly or reusable food packages,” Sampulna said.

He encouraged market vendors and small store owners to change their customary ways of packaging retail items using single-use plastics, which include placing cooking oil, condiments such as vinegar and soy sauce, in plastic for “tingi” or retail purchases.

He recommended the use of old newspapers and magazines for wrapping dried fish instead of using plastics.

“I suggest that when the public buys from your stores, ask or encourage them to bring reusable bags and containers,” Sampulna said.

“This Earth Day 2022, I urge both businesses and individuals to rethink the customary ways on how to sell and consume products. Let us all take sustainable actions to heal the planet Earth,” he pointed out.

Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22, is a global movement where over 190 countries take part through the promotion of sustainable environmental actions and behavioral change.

This year, the DENR celebrated Earth Day highlighted by the recognition of four DENR environmental heroes or workers of the department who have dedicated their lives to protecting the environment. (PR)