The Philippines ranks third among the world’s highest contributors to the global marine plastic pollution problem, according to a 2015 report by the Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.
To promote positive behavioral change among Filipinos on plastic use, SM Supermalls has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI) to launch “AweSMseas” an initiative, information, education, and communication campaign that raises awareness of plastic pollution, its negative effects on the environment and how people can help by being responsible and mindful with their daily choices.
Through the partnership, SM, USAID, and PRRCFI will facilitate meaningful discussions and spark concrete action on plastic pollution—specifically its impact on the world’s seas and other bodies of water—as well as conversations on the alternatives or responsible use of plastic.
“USAID has been a prominent organization in the fight against plastic pollution, and we at SM are honored to partner with them for this campaign,” said SM’s Program Head on Environment and Sustainability, Engr. Liza B. Silerio. “Through this partnership, we are uniting both our causes to educate and create awareness to a bigger audience.”
USAID is the lead U.S. government agency for international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance and help people progress beyond assistance. Among USAID’s work, the organization addresses the world’s biggest environmental issues.
“The U.S government, through USAID, supports the Philippines in the development of solutions to environmental challenges utilizing the local systems approach. The United States believes that true progress comes when local partners take the lead in coming up with solutions to their own development challenges. We do this through various initiatives such as effective recycling and waste management systems, grants, and in the case with SM Supermalls, private-sector partnerships,” said John Edgar, USAID Environment Director. USAID believes in private innovations and solutions to address this global challenge.”
PRRCFI, one of the campaign partners, has long-standing initiatives on plastic pollution such as SWEEP or Sea Waste Education to Eradicate Plastic, a two-year campaign also supported by USAID to help reduce the flow of plastic from land-based sources for cleaner seas and healthier fisheries. PRRCFI also heads several environmental programs that focus on biodiversity conservation, nature tourism, science and research, environmental education, solid waste management and zero-waste initiatives.
“Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental problems that we must address as a community. We are excited that this campaign has allowed us to bring different stakeholders together to inspire and influence behaviour change in plastic consumption in a creative and inclusive manner,” said Sef Carandang, Trustee and Adviser for Community Development for PRRCFI.
The partnership is in line with SM’s environmental initiatives including its water recycling program across all SM Malls, wherein water is recycled and is used back for non-potable needs; the monthly Trash to Cash Recycling Market that advocate for responsible solid waste management; solar rooftops in several of its malls that promote the use of clean energy; regular coastal clean-up activities at the SM by the Bay; and the Green Film Festival that feature documentaries about biodiversity, climate change and solid waste, offered for free to High School students, held at SM Cinemas.
To learn more about SM Supermalls and its other programs and activities, visit the company’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/smsupermalls/. To know more about the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc. (PRRCFI), you may visit www.facebook.com/DanjuganIsland/. Follow USAID Philippines at https://www.facebook.com/usaid.philippines/ and learn more about ocean plastic programs of the Agency at https://urban-links.org/issue/ocean-plastic-pollution/.