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[Press Release] Toxics Watchdog Group Exposes Online Sale of Chemical Whiteners Laced with Mercury | EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment

Toxics Watchdog Group Exposes Online Sale of Chemical Whiteners Laced with Mercury
(EcoWaste Coalition cautions consumers against mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics in the wake of 3.3. online shopping spree)

Photo by EcoWaste Coalition

The toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition today released a new report revealing the unethical and unlawful use of online shopping and social media sites to sell skin bleaching, lightening or whitening products containing mercury, a dangerous poison banned in cosmetic product formulations.

The advocacy group for a zero waste and toxics-free society launched the report “Toxic Exposé: Online Trade of Mercury-Containing Skin Whitening Cosmetics in the Philippines” ahead of the 3.3 (which is equivalent to March 3) online shopping bonanza by e-commerce giants Lazada and Shopee.

The group conducted the investigation to generate data that will help stem both the supply and demand for mercury-containing cosmetics and promote the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which phased-out in 2020 cosmetics such as skin lightening creams and soaps with mercury above one part per million (ppm).

Of the 65 samples procured from online dealers and subsequently screened for mercury using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, 40 were found to contain mercury above 1 ppm. Of these 40 samples, 38 had mercury in excess of 1,000 ppm, 25 with over 5,000 ppm, 19 with more than 15,000 ppm, and 5 were loaded with mercury above 25,000 ppm. None of the 65 samples are duly notified or registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The results of our investigation should push online shopping and social media sites to strictly disallow and monitor the use of their far-reaching platforms to advertise and sell adulterated, counterfeit and unauthorized cosmetics such as those with mercury content,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“To avoid being harmed by mercury in cosmetics, we appeal to all Filipinos to accept our natural skin color, refuse chemical whiteners, and resist color-based bias, prejudice and discrimination,” he emphasized.

“The recommendations arising from the study, we hope, will contribute to the active implementation of the National Action Plan for the Phase-Out of Mercury-Added Products and the Management of Associated Mercury-Containing Wastes,” Dizon added, “despite the understandable focus of the government and the society on addressing the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic to people’s health and the economy.” The said plan was adopted in 2019 with inputs from concerned stakeholders, including the EcoWaste Coalition.

Dr. Geminn Louis C. Apostol, Assistant Professor at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, warned consumers that “mercury-added skin whitening products are poison cosmetics that can damage the kidneys, reduce skin’s ability to resist bacterial and fungal infections, and cause a variety of dermal problems such as discoloration, rashes and scarring,” adding that “the disposal of mercury in such products through the wastewater also pollutes our rivers and the oceans and consequently contaminates the food chain.”

“Ecowaste Coalition has exposed a gaping hole in the regulation of adulterated cosmetics containing the dangerous neurotoxin mercury. Their chemical analysis of skin-lightening creams sold through online platforms, leaves no doubt that consumers are being exposed to mercury at levels that can impair their health and that of their unborn children,” stated Lee Bell, Mercury Adviser of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), which includes the EcoWaste Coalition among its participating organizations.

“Philippines regulators should launch an immediate crackdown on the sale of these toxic cosmetic products through online platforms and dedicate resources to monitor and identify the suppliers and distributors. There should also be cooperation and information sharing with governments of countries where the mercury laden cosmetics are produced and exported to stop this trade at its source,” he suggested.

To safeguard women‘s health and put a stop to the unlawful trade and consumption of poison cosmetics with mercury, the EcoWaste Coalition has put forward the following recommendations:

— For consumers to shun chemical whiteners, embrace their natural skin color with pride and stand up to color-based bias, prejudice and discrimination, and for those who prefer to lighten their skin tone to reject unauthorized cosmetics that may contain mercury, hydroquinone and other harmful substances.

— For the cosmetics industry to move away from white-centric concepts and ideals of beauty, and promote diversity in beauty instead, including the inherent beauty of one’s natural skin color.

— For e-commerce platforms and social media sites to ban the sale of adulterated, counterfeit and unauthorized cosmetics and for them to keep an eye on and take down non-compliant product ads.

— For the government to strengthen laws and regulations that will regulate and monitor online trade and protect consumers against hazardous products such as mercury-containing cosmetics, and for the authorities to ensure the environmentally sound management of mercury-added products and their wastes.

Prior to its public release, the EcoWaste Coalition provided a copy of “Toxic Exposé” to the FDA for its reference and action.

The said report is part of the group’s “Project Toxic-Free for Human Rights and Sustainable Development in the Philippines” supported by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC).

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[From the web] EcoWaste Coalition Appeals to Senators to Keep Prohibition on Waste Incineration

#HumanRights #Environment

EcoWaste Coalition Appeals to Senators to Keep Prohibition on Waste Incineration

Photo by EcoWaste Coalition

The pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition calls on the country’s top legislators to safeguard public health and the environment by keeping intact the Clean Air and Solid Waste Management laws, particularly the ban on waste incineration, as the Philippines marks the 35th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

“We are honoring the Filipino people whose bravery and dedication toppled the oppressive leadership of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Sr.. After 35 years of EDSA revolution, our communities and environment are again threatened by the unjust political and social structures that favor transnational corporations and a few individuals,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition.

From the martial law period until now, the Philippines still counts as one of the deadliest countries in Asia for land and environmental defenders especially when it comes to fighting for the rights of nature against corporations who pollute the environment.

According to Lucero, one of the recent injustices against nature was the push by the House of Representatives in promoting incineration under the guise of waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities, and the vicious attempt to repeal specific provisions in the Clean Air Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and other relevant laws.

Last year, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the declaration of a climate emergency by the House of Representatives, several environment groups, including the EcoWaste Coalition, made the urgent call for policies in mitigating the waste and climate crisis. The declaration urged local governments and government bodies to adopt policies to mitigate climate change.

The groups also asked the government to disallow the funding of dirty energy projects by corporations that greatly contribute to environmental crises and disasters which endanger the health of citizens due to the release of poisonous chemicals such as dioxins and furans.

“This year, as the country continues to battle COVID-19, it is also of utmost importance to use environmentally safe measures in dealing with waste to protect public health and the environment which is obviously not through waste-to-energy incineration,” added Lucero.

“Moreover as we commemorate the EDSA Revolution, we also call on the members of the Senate to set a high moral leadership and put into action the virtues of democracy and love for our country. We need to stop sacrificing our communities and it will start by scrapping the Waste-to-Energy Bill,” further added Lucero.

According to a factsheet by GAIA Asia Pacific, while marketed in the guise of advancing renewable energy, WTE incineration is not an environmentally sustainable form of energy source and waste management solution. It is a known fact that when burning of waste happens, toxic substances are released which undeniably compromise the health and safety of individuals, the factsheet said.

“It is really very important in calling on the government to scrap this proposal on waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration and to show its sincerity for the sake of the health and well-being of the people. Our lawmakers should instead uphold our existing environmental laws and approve the green laws pending in the 18th Congress, including the passage of the National Single-Use Plastics Ban as well as ordinances that would hold culprits accountable of polluting practices,” Lucero ended.


EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[From the web] Groups Call for a Stronger ASEAN Regional Policy and Action to Combat Waste Dumping -EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment

Groups Call for a Stronger ASEAN Regional Policy and Action to Combat Waste Dumping

Photo from ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

Two civil society organizations from Malaysia and the Philippines urged the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to declare the entire region as “no dumping ground” for hazardous wastes and other wastes such as household and plastic garbage.

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and the EcoWaste Coalition together called for a robust ASEAN-level policy that will protect the region’s over 655 million people and their rich but threatened biodiversity and ecosystems from the adverse impacts of global waste dumping.

The groups’ plea for a regional stance to prevent foreign waste dumping came on the heels of the prestigious Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards (AEEA) given to recipients from Malaysia and the Philippines who were recognized for their work in combating transboundary environmental crime, which resulted in the re-exportation of unlawful plastic waste imports to their countries of origin.

“The AEEA conferred to environmental enforcers in Malaysia and the Philippines has again turned the spotlight on the illegal traffic of waste in Asia and the need for greater collaboration and vigilance, nationally and regionally, to put an end to such an environmental crime,” said Mageswari Sangaralingam, Researcher, CAP.

“To protect the region from the environmental and health impacts of waste trade, all the ASEAN member states should immediately ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and fix regulatory loopholes if any that ‘legalize’ the entry of hazardous wastes and other wastes disguised as recyclable scraps. Regionally, we urge the ASEAN to adopt a declaration, or better still an agreement, proclaiming the region as no dumping ground for foreign waste,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Now is the time for the ASEAN to flex its muscles as a regional bloc to denounce global waste dumping and affirm its unity to safeguard the region’s people and the environment from the drawbacks and hazards of waste trade,” said Chinkie Peliño-Golle, Regional Coordinator, International Pollutants Elimination Network – Southeast and East Asia (IPEN-SEA).

Read complete article @ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP)
10 Jalan Masjid Negeri, 11600 Pulau Pinang
Malaysia
https://consumer.org.my/
EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City
Philippines
http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com/

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[Press Release] Pollution Prevention Groups Press Government to Ban Non-Environmentally Acceptable Products and Packaging -EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment

Pollution Prevention Groups Press Government to Ban Non-Environmentally Acceptable Products and Packaging

The EcoWaste Coalition and Oceana Philippines today urged the national government to roll out a long-overdue policy that could help the country leapfrog to a zero waste and toxic-free circular economy.

The groups specifically asked the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), an inter-agency body under the Office of the President, to release the list of non-environmentally acceptable products (NEAP) for prohibition as required under Section 29 of R.A. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. The commission should have prepared the said list one year after R.A. 9003 took effect in 2001.

The groups also pushed for the implementation of Section 30 of the same law, which should have illegalized the sale or conveyance of products placed, wrapped or packaged in non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials.

“After two decades, the NSWMC has yet to produce the list of NEAP for phase-out and eventual elimination,” lamented Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “It’s time for the commission to work doubly hard in order to get a game-changing list out by this year to reduce both the volume and toxicity of our discards,” she emphasized.

“The commission’s inability to fast track the formulation of such list has badly affected the efforts of local government units, communities and households to achieve zero waste with the unrestrained production, distribution, consumption and disposal of products and packaging materials that are too difficult to recycle due to their chemical composition,” she added.

Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Vice-President of Oceana Philippines, likewise scored the NSWMC for failing to prioritize the formulation of the NEAP list in the face of the country’s ballooning waste production that is also contaminating the world’s oceans.

“We strongly urge the NSWMC to draw up the long-overdue list of products that are ‘unsafe in production, use, post-consumer use, or that produce or release harmful by-products when discarded,’ with single-use plastics (SUPs) on top of the list,” she said.

“The effect would be a tremendous reduction at the source of plastic pollution as production, use and trade of SUPs as a NEAP will be prohibited, with a hefty fine and other sanctions,” she added.

The adoption of the NEAP list and its subsequent implementation, the EcoWaste Coalition and Oceana Philippine said, will spur investments in product redesigns and delivery systems that will ultimately reduce, if not eradicate, the use of toxic chemical additives and the generation of waste.

Aside from throw-away plastics such as plastic bags, bottles, sachets, straws, stirrers and other SUPs, the groups also insisted on the inclusion in the NEAP list of items containing “substances of concern” that can expose people and the ecosystems to such harmful chemicals.

As noted in the report “Plastic’s Toxic Additives and the Circular Economy,” published by multiple UN convention groups and other organizations, including the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), “while the general issue of pollution by plastics has received growing attention, there has so far been less attention given to the additives.”

“Many of the additives are potentially toxic, and some meet the definition of being persistent organic pollutants (POPs),” the report said. “They pose a risk to the environment and to human health when they leach out of plastic debris.”

“Additives are also problematic in recycling, and their use is a potential barrier to making progress towards a circular economy,” the report concluded.

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[From the web] Online Regional Conference Touts Citizen Science as a People’s Tool for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals -EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment Online Regional Conference Touts Citizen Science as a People’s Tool for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
(Groups draw on citizen science to address chemical and waste issues that threaten public health and the environment)

The participation of non-professional scientists in scientific research or monitoring efforts can empower grassroots organizations and movements into advancing a sustainable and toxic-free future for all.

Citizen science, as it is generally called, has become a strategic tool enabling communities impacted by chemical and waste problems to empower themselves with data and information that can be used to assert their rights to a healthy and safe environment.

A four-part online regional conference commencing today will put a spotlight on the application of citizen science in addressing such problems affecting mostly poor and marginalized communities, with children, pregnant women and workers at greater risk. It will bring together over 70 citizen science advocates, practitioners and learners from 11 countries.

The International Pollutants Elimination Network – Southeast and East Asia (IPEN-SEA) Virtual Conference that is taking place amid the COVID-19 pandemic is co-organized by Nexus3 Foundation-Indonesia, EcoWaste Coalition-Philippines and the Ecological Alert and Recovery-Thailand with support from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and IPEN.

“Through the years, citizen science has developed into a practical and potent tool for helpless victims who often suffer in silence from the destructive pollution caused by powerful commercial and industrial interests,” noted Penchom Saetang, Executive Director of EARTH and a citizen science practitioner for over 20 years.

“By developing their scientific knowledge, technical skills and critical abilities, pollution victims, or survivors rather, have found their voice and are able to use the results of their own studies to negotiate with polluters, defend their human rights in courts and advocate for policy reforms,” she said.

Added Yuyun Ismawati, Co-Founder and Senior Adviser of Nexus3 Foundation: “In citizen science, grassroot NGOs and community groups are the subject and the actors of the investigation, not a subject of a research project. In many cases, the results of citizen science advocacy works contribute to policy changes at the local and national level.”

In today’s program, examples of citizen science efforts in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand were presented. Among these efforts were the monitoring of mercury concentrations in air in several healthcare facilities in Denpasar City, Bali, Indonesia, which eventually led to the issuance of a government policy withdrawing mercury-containing medical devices; the screening of playground equipment for lead content in Penang, Malaysia, which further drew attention to the urgency of adopting a regulation banning lead in paint; and the air sampling in Rayong Province, Thailand that detected excessive levels of air pollutants, including cancer-causing benzene and vinyl chloride, which prompted the government to issue a notification on the annual standard level of volatile organic compounds in ambient air for nine highly toxic chemical compounds.

The topic of how citizen science can be used in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is growing in momentum, said Rachel Pateman, a researcher at SEI, University of York. The SDGs, which member states of the United Nations adopted in 2015, seek to end poverty and other deprivations, improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth, all while tackling climate change and preserving marine and terrestrial biodiversity.

“Citizen science can help in filling the data gaps to monitor the SDG indicators and in localizing indicator monitoring, especially in under-reported areas. It can help to bring to the fore issues of importance or concern to local communities that may have been missed in higher level discussions. And it can also be a way to bring together different stakeholders, including citizens, to build a shared understanding of and co-develop solutions to sustainability challenges,” said Pateman.

“There is lots of potential for citizen science to be used to monitor, localize, define and implement the SDGs, but there are some critical challenges that need to be addressed in order for this potential to be realized,” she added.

Read complete article @ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Press Release] Philippines Beats 2020 Phase-Out Deadline for Lead-Containing Paint -EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment Philippines Beats 2020 Phase-Out Deadline for Lead-Containing Paints

The Philippines marks this year’s International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW) with the historic phase-out of paints containing lead additives as a backdrop.

The ILPPW, which will take place from today until the 31st, is an initiative of the UN-backed Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint with this year’s edition focusing on the need to accelerate progress towards the global phase-out of lead paint through regulatory and legal measures.

“The local paint and coating industry, with strong encouragement from the government and the civil society, had beaten the phase-out deadline for lead paints as stipulated in the country’s lead paint regulation. This achievement will hugely help in preventing children’s and workers’ exposure to lead from paints,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition

Under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, lead in architectural, decorative and household paints were phased out on January 1, 2017, while lead-in industrial paints were phased out on January 1, 2020.

The promulgation of the said order had triggered an industry-wide removal of lead-based raw materials in paint production, which are previously used as a pigment, drying accelerator, or corrosion protector, and their replacement with sound alternatives.

“The paint and coating industry has acquired competitive advantage by reformulating whole product lines to get rid of lead inputs in paint formulations. Some companies have even gone one step further by successfully obtaining third-party Lead Safe Paint® certification to assure consumers that their products do not pose lead-based paint hazards,” said Derrick Tan, President, Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM).

Dr. Gelo Apostol, Assistant Professor at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, noted that “phasing out lead paints and addressing all other sources of lead poisoning in the environment are absolutely needed to protect Filipino children from the adverse health and economics impacts of lead exposure such as reduced learning abilities, poor school performance, behavioral problems and decreased productivity.” He added, “there is no acceptable blood level for lead.”

As there is no level of exposure to lead that is without harmful effect, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the government, industry, and civil society to sustain meaningful multi-stakeholders collaboration to build a lead-safe environment for all children, including babies in the womb.

“Just because our nation has phased out lead paints does not mean we can rest on our laurels,” the group pointed out. “There is still so much to be done to ensure that our children are protected against preventable sources of lead exposure that can irreparably affect their health and future.”

Globally, governments need to quickly adopt lead paint standards and regulations limiting total lead content to not more than 90 ppm (the limit recommended under the UN Model Law and Guidance on Regulating Lead paint), noting that the manufacture of lead paint is still allowed in over 60 percent of countries.

Other countries need to enforce or strengthen their lead paint laws so that non-compliant paints and consumer products, particularly school supplies, toys, and childcare articles, are not smuggled into the Philippines and bought by unsuspecting consumers, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

The group recalled its recent discovery of 37 imported aerosol or spray paint products for general use that were found to contain high concentrations of the lead up to 82,100 ppm as per laboratory analyses. The distribution and sale of these non-compliant products were subsequently banned by health authorities.

Nationally, local governments, real estate developers, home builders, and other major paint consumers need to adopt a lead-safe paint procurement policy to ensure that only compliant paints are purchased and used, the group said.

Also, the national government needs to draw up guidelines on lead paint abatement to minimize lead dust pollution, especially during renovation activities at home, school, and other places, the group further suggested.

The DENR, PAPM, Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, Inc., and the EcoWaste Coalition are partners of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, a voluntary partnership led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization.

EcoWaste Coalition

78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Press Release] Groups Nudge Government to Forbid E-Waste Imports Following Thai Ban -EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment Groups Nudge Government to Forbid E-Waste Imports Following Thai Ban

13 October 2020, Quezon City. As the International E-Waste Day is observed tomorrow, October 14, environmental health groups EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace nudged the government of the Philippines to ban the importation of electronic waste, or e-waste, like what Thailand has recently done.

“The Thai policy banning the entry of e-waste was imposed to protect public health and the environment from toxic pollution resulting from the dirty recycling of these hazardous waste imports. It’s high time for our own government to follow in the footsteps of Thailand and enact a sweeping ban on the importation of e-waste, plastic waste, and other wastes for environmental health and justice,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“With our neighbors closing doors to all kinds of waste imports, our country is in danger of becoming the most preferred destination in the region for waste. The Philippine government must plug all holes that allow our country to be a dumping ground by ratifying the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and enacting a total ban on waste imports,” said Marian Ledesma, Campaigner, Greenpeace Philippines.

The sweeping prohibition on waste imports, the groups asserted, will serve as a strong deterrent against schemes to transfer hazardous waste and other wastes from other countries to the Philippines where such wastes can be cheaply processed, recycled, or disposed of at the expense of people’s health and the environment.

The groups cited the botched smuggling of e-waste — falsely declared as “assorted electronic accessories” — from Hong Kong that was discovered at a port in Northern Mindanao in May 2019. As reported by customs officials, the shipment was intended as a “test cargo,” and that 70 more containers would have followed had it not been intercepted. The trash was returned quickly to the sender after its discovery.

Both groups are pushing for the ratification by the Duterte administration of the Basel Convention Ban Amendment, an international law prohibiting the export of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries, and for the imposition of a more encompassing ban on waste importation.

According to the groups, ratifying the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and banning waste importation on the whole will allow the Philippines to focus on its own waste management issues, fully enforce waste and pollution prevention laws, and improve clean recycling facilities with government support and possibly incentives.

Adopting these twin measures, the groups added, will encourage the enactment of other essential policies and regulations to prevent and reduce waste generation, including the ban on single-use plastics, the promotion of reuse and refill systems, the adoption of extended producer responsibility, and other strategies toward clean production, zero waste, and a toxics-free society.

Last September 15, the Thai Ministry of Commerce announced the start of a historic ban on the importation of 428 types of electric and electronic components and scraps.

Violators will be jailed for up to 10 years, or fined five times the price of the illegal waste import, or both.

As reported by Bangkok Post, the government will also carry out activities “to encourage public participation in environmental protection” as it urged all sectors “to hasten efforts to improve the efficiency in handling domestic e-waste, optimize resources and recycle properly.”

Last year, the EcoWaste Coalition wrote to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu to reiterate the need to ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and to propose a comprehensive ban on the importation of wastes, including plastic and electronic wastes, which is still allowed under DENR A.O. 2013-22.

DENR A.O. 2013-22 permits the importation of “recyclable materials” such as scrap metals, scrap plastics, electronic assemblies and scrap, used oil and fly ash subject to certain limiting conditions and compliance to the requirements set by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

Environmental health groups participated in stakeholders’ meetings convened by the EMB to push for the ratification of the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and the revision of DENR A.O. 2013-22, insisting that the Philippines must take a strong stand to put a stop to waste dumping from overseas.

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Press Release] EcoWaste Coalition Backs Provision of Free Reusable Cloth Masks as a Complementary Step to COVID-19 Preventive Measures

EcoWaste Coalition Backs Provision of Free Reusable Cloth Masks as a Complementary Step to COVID-19 Preventive Measures

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental health group working toward a zero waste and toxics-free society, welcomed the government’s initiative to provide free reusable or washable face masks to the public, especially “the poorest of the poor,” amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

The group specifically liked the announcement made by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez that women’s cooperatives and micro-enterprises will be tapped for the production of at least 20 million reusable masks following the issuance by the Office of the President of Memorandum Order No. 49 last September 16.

Memorandum Order No. 49 tasked six government agencies, including the Departments of Budget and Management, Health, Social Welfare and Development and Trade and Industry, the Presidential Management Staff and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority “to coordinate and pool their resources and efforts into the production and distribution of face masks.”

Lopez yesterday said “the Office of the President wants something reusable so that it could be used multiple times and not the disposable type that has to be disposed of after being used just once or twice.”

“We support national and local government initiatives to promote the community production and use of reusable cloth masks as these can be easily washed with detergent or soap and safely reused. These initiatives will surely help in conserving resources, reducing plastic waste and in controlling the alarming pollution caused by the disposal of throw-away masks and other disposable personal protective equipment (PPE),” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Benosa highlighted some of the advantages of reusable cloth masks amid the health, economic, environmental and humanitarian challenges facing the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

– avoiding the generation of non-biodegradable and non-recyclable used face masks littering the streets and polluting beaches and water bodies;
– utilizing reusable textile as well as other locally-available indigenous materials;
– providing alternative livelihood for community members, particularly tailors and seamstresses; and
– supporting the “buy local, go lokal” drive and other sustainability initiatives.

Wearing of reusable face masks, the EcoWaste Coalition said, should complement and not replace measures recommended by health experts to counter community transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

These core preventive measures include meticulous hand hygiene, good respiratory etiquette, physical distancing, and staying at home and seeking medical attention when feeling unwell.

As reusable cloth masks are not standardized unlike registered medical-grade masks used by healthcare professionals, the EcoWaste Coalition requested the government to mentor community cooperatives and enterprises on the basic requirements for good reusable masks.

The group added that the mandatory use of face masks currently enforced should also be accompanied by continuing public education on their proper usage, as well as strict regulation on the environmentally sound management of used disposable masks.

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Press Release] EcoWaste Coalition Urges DENR and DPWH to Reveal Details of the Controversial Manila Bay’s “White Sand” Beach Beautification Project

EcoWaste Coalition Urges DENR and DPWH to Reveal Details of the Controversial Manila Bay’s “White Sand” Beach Beautification Project

7 September 2020, Quezon City. The environmental health group EcoWaste Coalition has joined the chorus of voices expressing disgust over the artificial creation of the so-called “white sand” beach to beautify the famed but polluted Manila Bay.

“This beautification project is ill advised and has drawn the ire of many sectors because of the highly questionable foundation for undertaking such a beach nourishment project as part of Manila Bay’s rehabilitation program,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We join our fisherfolk, environmental conservation advocates, maritime experts, church and political leaders in raising howls over this short-sighted and extravagant project that will project artificial white sand beach from crushed dolomite rocks from Cebu,” she stated.

“Manila Bay does not need cosmetic beautification through beach nourishment that has to be periodically repeated to address coastal erosion due to waves and storm surges,” she pointed out.

In line with the public’s right to know, the group urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to publicly disclose studies and proceedings of consultative meetings if any that will shed light on the decision of the government to spend taxpayers’ money for the beach nourishment project.

“As the public have the right to know, we urge the DENR and the DPWH to post on their websites all pertinent documents that will provide environmental, health, legal and financial justification for pursuing this beautification project,” said Lucero.

“We want to know if the implementing agencies have considered potential harm to the marine and coastal ecosystems and to human health, and how much of taxpayers’ money will be required for the continuing monitoring, maintenance and replenishment of the ‘white sand’ beach, which could be used for truly rehabilitating Manila Bay and for supporting the poor who depend on it for their livelihood,” she emphasized.

Government officials should not simply dismiss criticisms and questions coming from concerned sectors for this publicly funded project in an environmentally critical area, the EcoWaste Coalition said. “Every Filipino citizen deserves to be heard.”

Considering the multifaceted issues so far raised against the “white sand” beach project, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the government to apply the precautionary principle and desist from dumping and filling the area with dolomite materials.

The group cited the following excerpt from the World Charter of Nature in line with the precautionary principle: “Activities which are likely to pose a significant risk to nature shall be preceded by an exhaustive examination; their proponents shall demonstrate that expected benefits outweigh potential damage to nature, and where potential adverse effects are not fully understood, the activities should not proceed.”

Instead of cosmetic beautification, the government should stop all reclamation projects in Manila Bay that wreak havoc on the fragile marine ecosystems, including the mangroves, seagrass beds and wetlands.

The government should also see to it that all pollution prevention and aquatic conservation laws such as RA 9003, RA 9275 and RA 8550 as amended by RA 10654 are effectively enforced to put an end to the spillage and dumping in water bodies of plastic and other marine litter, sewage sludge and other pollutants.

RA 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, seeks to “ensure the proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste through the formulation and adoption of the best environmental practice in ecological waste management excluding incineration.”

RA 9275 or the Clean Water Act, seeks to protect water bodies from pollution from land-based sources, including those from industries and commercial establishments, agricultural estates and community and household activities.

On the other hand, RA 8550, or the Philippine Fisheries Code, seeks to attain “the conservation, protection and sustained management of the country’s fishery and aquatic resources, and poverty alleviation and the provision of supplementary livelihood among municipal fisherfolk,” among other things.

Furthermore, RA 8550 as amended by RA 10654, directs the state “to adopt the precautionary principle and manage fishery and aquatic resources, in a manner consistent with the concept of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management and integrated coastal area management.”

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

Press Release

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[Press Release] EcoWaste Coalition Renews Drive for Non-Toxic Toys with the Onset of “Ber” Months

EcoWaste Coalition Renews Drive for Non-Toxic Toys with the Onset of “Ber” Months

As Filipinos usher in the “ber” months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a group campaigning for children’s protection from hazardous chemicals renewed its call for safe and non-toxic toys for kids.

In a press statement issued today, the EcoWaste Coalition highlighted the toy industry’s responsibility to make sure that play things sold in toy stores and online shopping platforms are not only affordable, but also harmless and of good quality.

“Toy manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers, including online dealers, have a crucial role in ensuring that toys placed on the market conform to the highest safety and quality standards as verified by government regulators,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. “Unfortunately, this is not always the case.”

“In countless test buys we have conducted, we have seen toys, especially those targeted for the C-D-E market, posing chemical and other hazards to children who can be very vulnerable to injuries and chemical exposures,” he said.

“Even toys that have been the subject of public health warnings issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are still being sold with impunity,” he noted.

A case in point is the continued sale of “Shrilling Chicken,” a yellow squeezable plastic chicken toy imported from China that has been found to contain high concentrations of phthalates, which are added to plastics to make them flexible and soft.

Phthalates are known endocrine disrupting chemicals linked to reproductive health problems like malformed penises and undescended testicles in boys and the early onset of puberty in girls, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

On January 22, 2020, the FDA through Advisory No. 2020-042 warned the public from purchasing and using this “unnotified and adulterated toy and childcare article” that is laden with excessive amounts of DEHP and DINP phthalates.

“Over seven months have passed since the advisory was issued and we still find ‘Shrilling Chicken’ being sold in toy stores and online,” lamented Dizon.

“Just search for ‘Shrilling Chicken’ in your favorite online shopping site and you will be shocked by the number of product ads as if this toy is not dangerous and banned,” he said, adding that the squeaky chicken toy is also available in retail toy shops.

In addition to toxic chemicals like phthalates in soft plastic toys, the EcoWaste Coalition cited other hazards in toys that parents and children should be concerned about.

Toys with small parts may be ingested causing choking, or, in some instances, get pushed into the nostrils or ears. Toys with pointed or sharp edges may injure the eyes or cut the skin. Toys with cords longer than 12 inches may cause strangulation. There are also toys with the potential to cause blunt force injury or trauma, the EcoWaste Coalition warned.

During the “ber”months, the EcoWaste Coalition will conduct further test buys and raise consumer awareness on toy safety using the results of the group’s labeling compliance check and chemical screening activities.

“With the cooperation of the government, industry and consumer sectors, we can make this season of gift-giving a joyful and safe occasion for all children,” the EcoWaste Coalition concluded.

EcoWaste Coalition

78-A Masigla Extension, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines

Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org

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[Press Release] Environmentalists Push for Green and Just Recovery Strategy that Puts Mother Earth and Her People First -EcoWaste Coalition

Environmentalists Push for Green and Just Recovery Strategy that Puts Mother Earth and Her People First

24 July 2020, Quezon City. Environmental advocates belonging to the EcoWaste Coalition urged President Rodrigo Duterte to put the well-being of Mother Earth and the 109 million Filipinos at the center of the government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy and plan that is expected to be unveiled in his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) this coming Monday.

“We anticipate the president’s 5th SONA to unwrap the government’s detailed strategy and plan to rebuild the society from the unparalleled health, economic and humanitarian crisis caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. With a green and just recovery strategy and plan, the government can resuscitate our battered economy in ways that will uplift the people’s lives, particularly those living on the margins of society like the informal waste communities, while ensuring the protection of the ecosystems from dirty energy sources, polluting processes and wasteful products, and toxic disposal technologies,” said Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We hope to hear that the government will be sane enough to stop the approval and implementation of environmentally destructive waste-to-energy incineration and mining projects,” said Chinkie Peliño-Golle, Executive Director of Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS). “Have we not seen enough destruction of the environment and why is it bad for public health? This pandemic should have made us all realize that public health is closely related to environmental health and sustainability.”

“May President Duterte find the wisdom to declare in his SONA the war against the deliberate mismanagement of waste by some local government units through their willful neglect of abiding by the very simple and pro-environment provisions of R.A. 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act,” said Rene Pineda, President, Consumer Rights for Safe Food (CRSF).

Speaking in Tagalog, community leader Noli Abinales, founder of Buklod Tao, said: “Ang bawat buhay ay mahalaga. Pangangalagaan sana ng pamahalaan ang buhay na matatagpuan sa sangkatauhan at sa kalikasan upang nang sa gayun ay magiging malusog ang bawat Pilipino at ang ekolohiya ng Inang Bayang Pilipinas. Ang pagpapahalaga sa buhay at kalikasan ay patampukin sana sa SONA.”

For a green and just recovery from the deleterious impacts of COVID-19, the environmental groups expressed the need to prioritize the adoption and eventual implementation of key pollution prevention laws and environmental justice policies, including:

1. The rejection of bills rescinding the ban on waste incineration under the Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and those espousing waste-to-energy incineration;

2. The enactment of a comprehensive ban on single-use plastics and the promotion of alternative product packaging and delivery systems;

3. The adoption of extended producer responsibility that will make manufacturers, importers, and distributors responsible for the retrieval, recycling, treatment or disposal of post-consumer products;

4. The ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment prohibiting the transfer of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries, and the imposition of a national ban on waste imports, including electronic waste, plastic waste, and other wastes;

5. The environmentally sound management of infectious COVID-19 waste sans the use of incinerators or crematories;

6. The propagation of urban container gardening/farming and household composting as practical solutions to waste, hunger and health woes;

7. The provision of secure, safe and sustainable jobs and livelihoods for the informal waste sector;and last but not least

8. The passage of a ”Rights of Nature” law that will provide the highest level of legal protection to the natural ecosystems and processes amid the climate, biodiversity, plastic, and COVID-19 crises.

“The SONA, we hope, will put in motion a roadmap to a green and just recovery where the interests of Mother Earth and her children rank first over and above ‘business as usual’ schemes,” the groups said.

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[Statement] EcoWaste Coalition Adds Its Voice to the Chorus Calling on PRRD to Veto Anti-Terrorism Bill

EcoWaste Coalition Adds Its Voice to the Chorus Calling on PRRD to Veto Anti-Terrorism Bill
(President urged to bin divisive and distracting legislative measure)
11June 2020

The EcoWaste Coalition, an independent and non-profit network of public interest groups dedicated to the pursuit of a zero waste and toxics-free society, roundly opposes the anti-terrorism bill that has been submitted by Congress on 9 June 2020 for the president’s signature.

As an advocate of the rights-based approach to societal development, we are disturbed and appalled by the proposed anti-terrorism law’s provisions that will curtail the exercise and fulfillment of the constitutionally-based rights of the Filipino people, including the rights to health and to a balanced and healthful ecology.

To reiterate, Section 4 of Article III of the Constitution states that “no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

While the bill says that “terrorism shall not include advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar exercises of civil and political rights,” the overbroad and vague definition of what constitutes terrorism under the bill can stifle the basic rights that the Constitution itself seeks to protect, including the right to free speech, right to assemble, right to organize, right to due process, among others. The bill’s all-encompassing definition of terrorism will make it open to abuse and misuse.

As open and democratic space is essential in the pursuit of a socially just and sustainable development, we, like many others, are wary that the approval of the anti-terrorism bill will affect the legitimate advocacies and services by the broad civil society, including grassroots communities and groups campaigning and organizing against environmentally destructive and polluting economic activities. The constitutional rights being eroded are essential components of the rights of the people to health and to a balanced and healthful ecology.

As what is at stake are sacred constitutional rights that we hold dear, we urge President Rodrigo Roa Duterte not to sign and to veto the bill that he has earlier certified as “urgent” in deference to the critical views aired by activists, lawyers, legislators, journalists, educators, businessmen, bishops, beauty queens, artists, netizens and other concerned citizens.

As the anti-terrorism bill has only divided us and created added anxiety among our people, amid the country’s efforts to rise and recover from the deleterious impacts of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to public health and the economy, we appeal to the president to bin the distracting legislative measure.

We further appeal to our government and our people to focus on what really matters: an inclusive and sustainable post-COVID recovery plan that will address livelihood, health, climate, waste, and toxic woes, and ensure positive health, environmental and economic outcomes, especially for the vulnerable members of the society.


EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Press Release] Group Hails Efforts to Bring Laudato Si to Life -EcoWaste Coalition

Group Hails Efforts to Bring Laudato Si to Life

15 May 2020, Quezon City. The EcoWaste Coalition has lauded the continuing efforts to bring Laudato Si, the groundbreaking encyclical letter of Pope Francis on “Care for Our Common Home,” to life amid the climate and coronavirus crisis.

In a press statement, the advocacy group for a zero waste and toxics-free society expressed its solidarity with the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM-Pilipinas) in celebrating the Laudato Si Week from May 16 to 24, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the said encyclical letter on the 24th, with the theme “Everything Is Connected.”

Pope Francis in a video message had earlier invited the church to celebrate Laudato Si Week while repeating his urgent call for a concerted response to the ecological crisis. “The cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor cannot continue,” he said as he urged everyone to “take care of creation.”

“Laudato Si is a compelling instrument that citizens can rely on for inspiration and guidance as we muster our strength to break away from throw-away culture and toxic production that is turning our planet, to quote Pope Francis, ‘to look more and more like an immense pile of filth’,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Amid the global climate and health emergency and the quest for a green post-COVID era, we urge everyone to participate in various efforts aimed at strengthening policies and practices to protect human health and the environment and ensure the quality of life and dignity for all,” she said.

The climate and health emergency, the EcoWaste Coalition said, provides a unique opportunity for the entire society to redesign wasteful and polluting systems toward achieving a just, sustainable and toxic-free future.

In his encyclical letter, Pope Francis noted that “we have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations, while limiting as much as possible the use of non-renewable resources, moderating their consumption, maximizing their efficient use, reusing and recycling them.”

Among the many ills facing the Earth, he called attention to the fact that “each year hundreds of millions of tons of waste are generated, much of it non-biodegradable, highly toxic and radioactive, from homes and businesses, from construction and demolition sites, from clinical, electronic and industrial sources.”

Laudato Si Week is sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and facilitated by GCCM and Renova+ in collaboration with a legion of Catholic partners.

Reference:

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-03/pope-francis-laudato-si-week.html

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[From the web] Groups Push for Consumer Protection from Misleading Product Claims amid the COVID-19 Crisis -EcoWaste Coalition

Groups Push for Consumer Protection from Misleading Product Claims amid the COVID-19 Crisis

14 May 2020, Quezon City. Two non-government organizations today reminded online consumers to be cautious of product advertisements that promise to prevent, treat, or cure the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a joint statement, Laban Konsyumer Inc. (a consumer protection group) and the EcoWaste Coalition (a zero waste and toxics-free advocacy group) called for consumer vigilance against deceptive or false advertising in the digital market amid the COVID-19 crisis.

At the same time, the groups urged the government and business sectors to monitor, filter, and remove such misleading product advertisements on a sustained basis, and to hold the offenders legally liable.

“Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, we urge all sectors, especially online shoppers, to be diligent and prudent when buying health products as the authorities have yet to approve specific treatments for this disease. As we call on the government to crack down on misleading product advertisements and promotions, we urge the public to follow the basic protective measures against the coronavirus as recommended by the Department of Health and the World Health Organization,” said Atty. Vic Dimagiba, President, Laban Konsyumer Inc.

“As the sale of unnotified or unregistered products, including those already banned for containing illegal ingredients such as mercury and other chemicals of concerns, proliferates online, we appeal to government regulators and the administrators of online shopping platforms to regularly monitor, filter and remove advertisements for such products and to act against their perpetrators,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

According to the monitoring conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition, some health products are advertised as “coronavirus protection” and marketed as highly effective as can be gathered from unsubstantiated claims like “can kill 99.9% of viruses,” “virus filtration of 99.7% and “inactivates coronavirus within 1 minute 99.99%.”

To discourage enterprising groups and individuals from taking advantage of the public health emergency for monetary gains, the groups called for heightened vigilance and action against unauthorized and misleading advertisements and promotions of COVID-related health products.

When buying any health product, the groups reminded consumers to read the product labeling information very carefully, check if it has a certificate of product registration (CPR), and if its manufacturer, importer, or distributor has the license to operate (LTO).

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Press Release] Environmental and Food Security Advocates Say Home Composting and Farming Should Form Part of the Post-COVID “New Normal” -EcoWaste Coalition

Environmental and Food Security Advocates Say Home Composting and Farming Should Form Part of the Post-COVID “New Normal”

11 May 2020, Quezon City. Advocates for environmental protection and food security cited the importance of home composting and gardening as the country grapples with the dire impacts of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on people’s lives and the economy.

At a webinar organized by the EcoWaste Coalition, environmentalist Noli Abinales and urban container gardening (UCG) pioneer Perfecto “Jojo” Rom, Jr. drew attention to the tremendous benefits of home composting and farming in preventing and reducing waste, restoring soil nutrients, and ensuring nutritious and safe food on the table.

As communities and families come to terms with the COVID-19 outbreak, both Abinales and Rom pointed to home composting and farming as worthwhile practices that should form part of the sustainable “new normal” following the pandemic.

“We need to separate household waste materials at the source instead of mixing them up. The non-biodegradable waste can be reused, repurposed, or recycled, while the bio-degradable waste can be processed into a natural fertilizer or soil amendment through composting,” said Abinales, founder of Buklod Tao, who also reminded the public to separate and safely manage household hazardous waste.

“Turning food waste and other organic waste into compost should be the norm in our post-COVID society as this will hugely reduce the volume of waste we produce and dispose of,” he pointed out, noting that biodegradables account for over 50 percent of the country’s solid waste composition. “Composting is as simple as ABC,” he said, adding there are various composting methods to choose from that will suit one’s living conditions and needs.

Rom, an avid gardener from Davao City and founder of Home Farmers Club, saw UCG as “the foundation of democratized agriculture” where available containers and spaces are used to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs for family consumption. Rom is the author of “UCG: The Home Farming Manual.”

UCG, a blend of ecological sanitation philosophy and natural farming system, is “emerging advocacy to simplify agriculture and involves all who are interested to grow what they eat and eat what they grow,” he explained. “It is the technology of home farming that is used to grow food in limited spaces in urban areas.”

As the “nutrition garden of the household”, UCG addresses the food and nutrition security issues and needs of a family while reducing food expenditures, he said.

“It is the cheapest and healthiest way of food production as it utilizes bio-wastes as sources of fertilizers in gardening,” Rom said, who also views home-based UCG as “an effective and doable climate change adaptation measure” that should be promoted and supported.

“We don’t need to become an environmentalist, a forester or an agriculturist to care and make this planet and its inhabitants healthy,” he said, “just make gardening a way of life starting with a single pot.”

For his part, Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, stated that “home composting and farming is down-to-earth solutions to our nation’s swelling garbage production and our families’ lack of access to adequate and nutritious food, especially during emergency situations like the coronavirus outbreak.”

“Our post-COVID roadmap will be incomplete if the promotion of home composting and farming, along with other sustainable practices, will be left out,” he concluded.

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Statement] of the EcoWaste Coalition on the Shut Down of ABS-CBN

Statement of the EcoWaste Coalition on the Shut Down of ABS-CBN
6 May 2020

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit environmental health organization, condemns the action by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordering the media outfit ABS-CBN to cease broadcast while the entire nation is engrossed on addressing the myriad of health and socio-economic problems brought about by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

NTC’s cease and desist order is grossly ill-conceived and reprehensively ill-timed as the people — from the highly vulnerable daily wage earners to the heroic medical workers and other front liners — make selfless sacrifices to combat the contagion. It sends a chilling effect on the exercise of the freedom of expression and civil liberties, especially by the marginalized sectors who avail of the service and network of ABS-CBN as a platform to discuss issues of public concern and safety. A shackled press is not what we need to “heal as one” and win the war against this ruthless coronavirus.

ABS-CBN, as countless beneficiaries can attest, has not only provided essential information service during the COVID-19 outbreak, but extended much-needed emergency food assistance to poor and hungry citizens in collaboration with local authorities.

As an advocate of the people’s right to know, we consider the silencing of the ABS-CBN as a severe blow to the freedom of speech and of the press and contrary to the state policy that “recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building.”

Our own experience as a non-profit organization aspiring for a zero waste and toxics-free society bears out the pivotal role of a free press in the pursuit of the people’s rights to health and to a balanced and healthful ecology as guaranteed by the Constitution.

We therefore question and deplore NTC’s contemptuous reversal of the commitment it made before lawmakers not to shut down ABS-CBN and to issue a provisional authority to operate while it waits for the House of Representatives to renew its franchise that lapsed on 4 May 2020.

In defense of the freedom of the press, in the interest of protecting 11,000 workers from unemployment, and for the sake of continuing public service in the time of coronavirus, we urge the government to immediately rectify this injustice and let ABS-CBN get back on the air.

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Press release] EcoWaste Coalition Backs BOC’s Unyielding Action to Re-Export South Korean Garbage despite the COVID-19 Outbreak -EcoWaste Coalition

EcoWaste Coalition Backs BOC’s Unyielding Action to Re-Export South Korean Garbage despite the COVID-19 Outbreak

23 April 2020, Quezon City. The environmental health group EcoWaste Coalition lauded the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for its assurance to complete the re-export of the illegal plastic waste shipments from South Korea that entered the country in 2018.

Citing information from the website of the Department of Finance, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero reiterated BOC’s firm commitment to get the illicit wastes re-exported to their source, the group said.

“Rest assured that the Bureau will undertake all the necessary means, within the bounds of law, in order to expedite the re-exportation of these wastes,” Guerrero told Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

According to the BOC, the Philippines has so far succeeded in re-exporting 2,676 of the 5,177 metric tons of the illegal South Korean waste to their origin.

To date, 151 container vans of waste materials, amounting to 2,676 metric tons, have been returned to South Korea in batches. The latest batch, consisting of 50 containers, was dispatched on March 21, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

“We commend and support the efforts of the BOC, particularly Customs District 10, to pursue the re-export of the unlawful waste shipments as agreed upon with the government of South Korea despite the many hurdles that have to be crossed, including the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “We hope the overdue re-export of SoKor’s waste in the country will be completed soon.”

BOC-10 District Collector John Simon, the official behind the country’s relentless drive to re-export the South Korean wastes, had earlier explained that the container vans where the bagged wastes were supposed to be loaded arrived late due to the disruption of the international trade supply chain in China caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The remaining South Korean plastic trash in Misamis Oriental is a stark reminder of the country’s continuing problem with imported waste and the need for decisive measures to stem the tide of waste dumping into our ports,” Lucero said.

According to the report “Waste Trade in the Philippines” co-published by Greenpeace and the EcoWaste Coalition and released last month, “the country’s exposure to continued waste imports is concerning.”

“No waste importation ban or moratorium is in place—despite recent strong pronouncements regarding such measures by the President as well as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),” the groups lamented.

“Also, the government still has not undertaken steps to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, an international policy instrument that will additionally protect the country from the importation of all waste, including those shipped under the guise of recycling,” the groups pointed out.

According to the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace, “preventing the entry of all waste imports into the country (including waste labeled for recycling) is the best strategy for countries such as the Philippines to protect its citizens and the environment from the harmful impacts of waste dumping.”

Reference:

PHL returns 2,676 tons of wastes to South Korea

Click to access da311344-waste-trade-in-the-philippines-report-v2.pdf


EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[Press Release] Local Government Executives Urged to Heed Health Experts’ Advice against Misting or Spraying of COVID-19 Disinfectants -EcoWaste Coalition

Local Government Executives Urged to Heed Health Experts’ Advice against Misting or Spraying of COVID-19 Disinfectants

12 April 2020, Quezon City. A non-profit environmental health organization has urged local government units (LGUs) to heed the advice by health experts against the spraying of individuals and surfaces or the misting of large areas with disinfectants in a bid to ward off or kill the novel coronavirus.

Following the precautionary advice given by the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the EcoWaste Coalition urged city and municipal mayors, as well as barangay chairpersons, to reconsider the practice of spraying or misting as a method of disinfection against the dreaded novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“We urge our local government executives to pay serious attention to the precautionary advice issued by health experts and avoid the ineffective practice of misting or spraying disinfectants, which may even cause harm instead of protecting human health and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Through a recent Facebook post, the DOH stated “there is no evidence to support that spraying of surfaces or large scale misting of areas, indoor or outdoor with disinfecting agents, kills the virus,” emphasizing “DOH does not recommend spraying or misting.”

The DOH further pointed out that “spraying or misting can cause pathogens to be dispersed further during spraying, result in skin irritation and inhalation of chemicals, and cause environmental pollution.”

The EcoWaste Coalition also cited the guidance issued by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention as reported in the China Daily stating that “disinfection of the open air is listed as one of the improper measures,” saying further “it may backfire by polluting the air, earth, plants, underground water, and even human body.”

The group likewise cited the statement by the US Environmental Protection Agency saying it “does not recommend the use of fumigation or wide-area spraying to control COVID-19,” stressing “fumigation and wide-area spraying are not appropriate tools for cleaning contaminated surfaces.”

Through an advisory posted at the Facebook page of the UP National Poison Management and Control Center, the Infection and Prevention Control Unit under WHO’s World Health Emergencies Programme also advised against spraying individuals with disinfectants for COVID-19 prevention.

‘We strongly advise that the spraying of individuals or groups is not recommended under any circumstances. Spraying an individual or group with chemical disinfectants or detergents is physically or psychologically harmful and does not limit the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Maria Clara Padoveze, Infection Prevention and Control Expert, WHO.

“Even if a person is infected with the COVID-19 virus, spraying the external part of the body does not kill the virus inside the body and may worsen the clinical condition of the individual,” she explained.

“In particular, spraying of chlorine on individuals can lead to irritation of eyes and skin, bronchospasm due to inhalation, and potentially gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting,” she added.

Instead of disinfectant spraying or misting, “DOH advises to soak objects or disinfect surfaces to kill the virus,” adding “to kill the virus, objects and surfaces have to be wiped directly with 0.5% sodium hypochlorite/ bleach solution (1:10 solution).”

As for the WHO, the global health body is recommending “member states to improve hand hygiene practices widely to help prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.”

Toward this, the WHO has proposed:

1. “Providing universal access to public hand hygiene stations and making their use obligatory on entering or leaving any public or private commercial building and any public transport facility.” and

2. “Improving access to hand hygiene facilities and practices in health care facilities.”

-end-

Reference:

DOH announcement:

WHO advisory:

Chinese CDC statement:

http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/05/WS5e6039f8a31012821727c649.html

US EPA statement:

https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/can-i-use-fumigation-or-wide-area-spraying-help-control-covid-19

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

[From the web] Prayers of the Faithful for the Heroic Health Workers on the Frontline of COVID-19 Fight -EcoWaste Coalition

In response to the call for prayers today, 29 March 2020, by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for the country’s medical frontliners against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the women and men of the EcoWaste Coalition earnestly offer the following prayers:

1. For the doctors, nurses, clinical laboratory technicians, administrative personnel, ancillary staff, paramedics, funeral home and crematorium workers, as well as volunteers, that they may remain healthy — physically, mentally and emotionally — as they continue putting their own lives at risk to be of service to others in these troubled times (Lord, hear our prayer);

2. For the families of healthcare workers and other frontliners to have hope, serenity, and peace of mind that their loved ones will be spared of coronavirus infection as they perform their all-important services for society (Lord, hear our prayer);

3. For all healthcare frontliners to be provided with a continuous supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as medical-grade masks, face covers, goggles and gowns to protect themselves from being exposed to the dreaded coronavirus in the line of duty (Lord, hear our prayer);

4. For the bereaved families of healthcare frontliners who succumbed to COVID-19 to find solace in the fact that the whole nation is with them in spirit as they mourn the passing of their loved ones (Lord, hear our prayer);

5. For healthcare frontliners undergoing home quarantine not to develop symptoms of coronavirus infection and for them to be able to re-join their colleagues on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 outbreak (Lord, hear our prayer);

6. For more doctors, nurses and other medical professionals and volunteers to come forward to replace those who have fallen ill and to attend to the growing number of COVID-19 cases (Lord, hear our prayer);

7. For the stigma and discrimination being faced by some healthcare frontliners to come to an end, and for such paranoia to be replaced with love and respect that all frontliners deserve for their selfless and most courageous service in the face of an invisible enemy (Lord, hear our prayer);

8. For local government units, hotels, churches, and other institutions to open their facilities to healthcare workers and other frontliners where they can adequately and comfortably rest and recharge after work (Lord, hear our prayer);

9. For the government and hospital authorities to also look after the mental health of frontliners, ensuring their access to counseling services and other mechanisms to cope with fatigue and stress (Lord, hear our prayer); and

10. For us, the Filipino people, to express our deepest gratitude to all healthcare workers and other frontliners by staying at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, observing basic protective measures, and by caring for ourselves, our families and communities during these trying times.

Lord, hear all our prayers. Amen.

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com/2020/03/prayers-of-faithful-for-heroic-health.html

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[Press Release] Green Group Encourages Households to Reduce Waste during the COVID-19 Lockdown -EcoWaste Coalition

The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocacy group for a zero waste and toxics-free society, has appealed to all households to cut down on trash produced and disposed of during the novel coronavirus contagion.

While the volume of commercial waste has declined as expected due to the closure of most establishments in a bid to keep the contagion in check, the amount of household waste may increase with more people staying at home, consuming more perishables, or ordering ready-to-eat food wrapped in single-use packaging, the group said.

“As we need to reduce what we throw away in normal and even in abnormal times, we appeal to each and every household to take concrete steps to avoid the production of garbage,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

According to the group, preventing and reducing the generation of household garbage during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak will yield a number of benefits for human health and the environment such as the following:

1. Protecting residents and waste workers from being exposed to disease-causing germs.
2. Depriving disease-carrying pests such as mosquitoes and rats of places to breed and live.
3. Avoiding the disposal of useful resources that can be repaired, reused, recycled or composted.

4. Minimizing single-use plastic packaging waste.
5. Reducing greenhouse gases formed in disposal sites, such as methane from food and yard waste, that contributes to climate change.
6. Preventing the leakage of waste and chemical pollutants into the marine ecosystems that can threaten aquatic life.

The group also emphasized the importance of separating discards as a key measure to control potential coronavirus infection of formal and informal waste workers who often handle waste with minimal protective masks, gloves, and garments.

“While the coronavirus is transmitted mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets, it is also possible for a person to get infected by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching his mouth, nose or eyes. This is why we need to be extra careful on how used face masks, tissues, and wipes are disposed of, which are often mixed with other trash and collected by unprotected waste workers,” he said.

To curb wasteful and unhealthy practices, as well as to keep trash safe for waste workers to handle, the EcoWaste Coalition has come up with these 25-point ecofriendly suggestions in the time of coronavirus:

1. Prepare a list of things you need before heading out to the grocery, supermarket or public market to avoid frequent trips outside, as well as the long queues due to the physical distancing being enforced.

2. Plan ahead, write out your daily and the weekly meal plan and stick to your chosen menu as much as possible.

3. Shun single-use plastic bags; bring reusable bags for dry goods and reusable containers for wet purchases.

4. Ask the cashier or bagger to put your purchases in a box if you forgot to bring reusable bags and containers with you.

5. Refrain from buying products wrapped in wasteful single-use packaging.

6. Check the “best before,” “use by” or expiration date on the product label and pick items with a longer shelf life.

7. Buy healthy food for snacks like saba banana, cassava, sweet potato, fruits and vegetables, the peels of which can also be composted.

8. Eat more real foods, and cut back on overly processed foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar.

9. To reduce packaging waste that comes with food delivery, opt not to receive single-use utensils, straws, and stirrers.

10. Shun throw-away cups, plates and cutlery; wash reusable items thoroughly in between uses.

11. Strictly observe “zero food waste” at home; only cook or prepare food that can be consumed.

12. Create just enough home-cooked meals based on your weekly meal plan.

13. Make use of your freezer to extend the life of perishable foods.

14. Store food and leftovers properly in clean and labeled containers in the fridge or freezer.

15. Safely recycle food scraps and leftovers; turn excess vegetables into broth or stock.

16. Give leftovers to pets or stray animals; mind the chicken bones.

17. Sort and shred fruit and vegetable discards for home-based composting and gardening.

18. Collect and dry seeds for planting or giveaways; reuse empty containers for seedlings.

19. Combine vinegar and citrus peels into a homemade cleaning agent.

20. Use reusable rags to clean up rather than paper towels.

21. Conserve water; collect water from hand washing and use it for flushing the toilet.

22. Reuse water for washing rice, fruits and vegetables to water the plants.

23. Do not mix household waste; separate discards into different bins, repair, reuse or recycle the non-biodegradables, compost the biodegradables, safely store and dispose of hazardous waste.

24. Put soiled masks, tissues, wipes and other potentially infectious waste on a separate bag and keep them segregated from other discards.

25. Do not leave garbage bags or cans outside the door or gate; wait for the waste collection truck to arrive.

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

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