THE United States awarded two grants Thursday worth P20 million for projects intended to help rehabilitate Manila Bay.

Through the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Municipal Waste Recycling Program, the US embassy in Manila said the recipients were the Ecowaste Coalition and the Mother Earth Foundation, to fund research and implement projects that will reduce plastic waste.

“These grantees promote and expand community-based recycling programs, improve solid waste management, and conduct research on plastic waste and as mentioned, much of that will take place in historic Manila Bay,” Deputy Chief of Mission John Law said during a signing ceremony in Quezon City.

“It’s priority for the government, it’s priority for President Duterte, and it’s priority for the US Embassy.”

The Embassy noted that the US earlier awarded five grants to non-governmental organizations under the program, supporting projects in Manila, Puerto Princesa and Bacolod.

The newly-awarded grants bring total USAID assistance to the Philippines under the program to around P57 million.

The Municipal Waste Recycling Program was created to support solid waste management and water recycling efforts at the community level, and is active in the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. — Charmaine A. Tadalan