Tag Archives: EcoWaste

[Press Release] Environmental Advocates’ Plea: Stop Activist Killings | EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment #Killings

Environmental Advocates’ Plea: Stop Activist Killings

Responding to the brutal killings of nine activists last March 7, environmental advocates pressed the government to ensure that the lives and liberties of those peacefully exercising their constitutionally-guaranteed rights are upheld and protected.

“As the fight for Mother Earth is a fight for her children too, the EcoWaste Coalition condemns the spate of politically-linked killings that have claimed the lives of activists working for and with the marginalized sectors,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, including the nine activists who perished from the bloodbath last Sunday following joint police-military operations in CALABARZON.

Read more

[From the web] EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for LGU Inspection of Ice and Cold Storage Plants Following Ammonia Gas Leaks in Two Facilities

#HumanRights #Safety #Health

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for LGU Inspection of Ice and Cold Storage Plants Following Ammonia Gas Leaks in Two Facilities

The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for chemical safety and environmental health, pressed local government units (LGUs) to immediately conduct inspections of ice and cold storage plants following ammonia gas leak incidents in Metro Manila and Batangas province last Wednesday.

On February 3, an ammonia gas leak from an ice plant in Navotas City led to the death of two workers, the hospitalization of close to 100 people, and the evacuation of some 3,000 nearby residents. Leakage from an ice plant in Lian Batangas on the same day caused the plants at an adjacent creek to wither and the fish to die.

Ammonia, particularly anhydrous ammonia, is a common refrigerant used in commercial and industrial facilities such as those involved in ice making, dairy products manufacturing and cold storage.

According to material safety data sheets, exposure to ammonia, a colorless, corrosive and highly irritating gas with suffocating smell, can irritate or burn the nose, throat and respiratory tract, eyes and skin, and cause dizziness and nausea among victims. Exposure to a high concentration of ammonia can be fatal.

“We call upon LGUs to conduct immediate inspection of ice and cold storage facilities in their areas of jurisdiction to prevent the possibility of chemical accidents in the future, as well as to reduce harm on workers, residents and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Read complete article @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.

[Press Release] Celebrating Earth Day Meaningfully in the Time of Coronavirus: Five Ways to Give Back to Mother Earth- EcoWaste Coalition

Celebrating Earth Day Meaningfully in the Time of Coronavirus: Five Ways to Give Back to Mother Earth

21 April 2020, Quezon City. As the 50th year of the Earth Day is observed on April 22, an environmental health organization has put forward five ways by which Filipinos from all walks of life can help to address both the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the climate crisis.

“There are many practical ways that we can help Mother Earth heals from waste, pollution, and destruction while we struggle to control and beat the dreaded new coronavirus,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Like the acts of kindness and solidarity that we’ve been seeing throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, the small and big changes that we make in the way we treat, care for and defend our environment have the potential of spreading on a large scale starting with our families and communities,” she said.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit organization working for a zero waste and toxics-free society, cited five ways to give back to Mother Earth amid the COVID-19 upsurge and the climate crisis.

“Embracing these earth-friendly ways will help reduce your carbon footprint while protecting public health and the environment against preventable sources of chemical and waste pollution and disease,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.

1. Get started with a Zero Waste lifestyle as you stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19; know and cut back on what you throw away starting with single-use plastics that are designed and made to be disposed of after quick use.

2. Use your spending power to prevent and reduce the volume and toxicity of what you buy and discard during the COVID-19 enhanced community quarantine such as by picking non-toxic products with less packaging.

3. Segregate discards at source, and make composting of food waste and other organics a habit; plunge into home composting and gardening during the lockdown.

4. Properly dispose of used face masks, gloves, tissues, wipes, and other potentially infectious waste with care to ensure the safety of waste workers and to prevent the spillage of such waste into the beaches and the oceans, which can harm aquatic life.

5. Advocate for the enforcement of environmental and health laws and regulations from “no littering” to “no COVID-19 waste disposal in incinerators and crematories,” making sure your voice is heard, for example, through social media.

Home-based composting and gardening, the group pointed out, is a simple yet most meaningful way of giving back to Mother Earth.

“From my experience at home composting biodegradable waste using simple methods and finding ways of growing veggies and herbs even in small places makes me feel that this is one of the ways I can do my share. Each minute I care for the earth in mini ways I dedicate for the healing of everyone and our dear Mother Earth,” remarked Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

The group also echoed the global call for climate action, as well as for socially-just and sustainable solutions to the pandemic, as the Earth Day is observed in the face of a devastating contagion that has so far infected over two million people across the planet, killed more than 170,000 – and counting.

As stated by the Earth Day Network: “The coronavirus pandemic does not shut us down. Instead, it reminds us of what’s at stake in our fight for the planet.”

“If we don’t demand change to transform our planet and meet our climate crisis, our current state will become the new normal — a world where pandemics and extreme weather events span the globe, leaving already marginalized and vulnerable communities even more at risk,” the global network said.

Reference:

https://www.earthday.org/campaign/digital-earth-day/

https://www.coronatracker.com/

Note: We join the rest of the nation and the world in observing a meaningful Earth Day 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. – EcoWaste Coalition

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] EcoWaste Coalition Says No to Burning COVID-19 Healthcare Waste in Incinerators and Crematories

EcoWaste Coalition Says No to Burning COVID-19 Healthcare Waste in Incinerators and Crematories

The non-profit environmental health group EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the authorities to recall or revoke an advisory, which if enforced, would allow the burning of COVID-19 healthcare waste in incinerators and crematories.

Through a letter e-mailed to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) OIC-Director William Cuñado, the group sought the immediate withdrawal of the “Advisory on Alternative Modes for the Disposal of Pathological and Infectious COVID-19 Healthcare Waste” issued by the EMB last March 26, which lists “thermal treatment by incineration” and “the use of crematorium” among the methods permitted.

EcoWaste Coalition President Eileen Sison pointed out in her letter that the advisory is not aligned with the spirit and intent of relevant laws, especially Republic Act 8749, or the Clean Air Act, and Presidential Decree 856, or the Code on Sanitation of the Philippines.

To explain her point, she cited the phase-out of incinerators for a biomedical waste way back in 2003 in line with RA 8749. As stated in the Health Care Waste Management Manual published by the Department of Health (DOH), “incineration used to be the method of choice in treating health care waste. However, with the implementation of the Clean Air Act of 1999, the use of this method is no longer allowed.”

Among the incinerators decommissioned were the so-called “state of the art” incinerators in government hospitals that were subsequently found to emit pollutants such as dioxins way above the standards set by the DENR, the group recalled.

“The DOH manual does not make any reference to ‘thermal treatment by incineration’ and ‘the use of crematorium’ for healthcare waste requiring disinfection and treatment,” the group said.

The EcoWaste Coalition also strongly objected to the use of crematories for healthcare waste disposal stressing that “crematories are not designed and constructed to incinerate trash.”

Under the Sanitation Code, “crematorium (is) any designated place duly authorized by law to cremate dead persons.”

“From our perspective, it will be unlawful to use a crematorium for waste disinfection and treatment. Allowing it will be culturally inappropriate and will be frowned upon as our society does not consider human remains as ‘waste’ and crematories as ‘waste incinerators.’ It will be culturally insensitive to cremate people who have succumbed to COVID-19 and other diseases in crematories where trash is incinerated,” said Sison.

“The use of crematories other than for cremating human remains may result in an unwarranted delay in the cremation procedures for deceased COVID-19 victims,” she warned.

It would be imprudent to consider cremation as a disposal option as some crematories may not be operating in accordance with government regulations, the EcoWaste Coalition said, citing the suspension of operation of a public crematorium at the Manila North Cemetery in 2016 for various violations of DENR’s regulations, including the lack of valid Permit to Operate, as an example.

“In the greater interest of public health and safety, we urge the DENR and EMB to recall or revoke the said advisory without delay, and to duly consult and collaborate with the DOH and other stakeholders on matters affecting public health and the environment,” the group concluded.

Health care waste management experts Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, Merci Ferrer and Faye Ferrer have earlier assailed the EMB advisory as it “violates the law, undercuts safer and cheaper options, and poses a threat to public health and the environment.”

-end-

Reference:

Copy of EMB advisory in question:

Click to access Health_Care_Waste_Management_Manual.pdf

https://docplayer.net/15452700-Toxic-debt-the-onerous-austrian-legacy-of-medical-waste-incineration-in-the-philippines.html

Click to access Chapter_21_Disposal_of_Dead_Persons.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

Note: Signed copy of the letter we e-mailed today to DENR and EMB is attached for your reference. You can view the EMB advisory here: https://www.facebook.com/EMBRegion5/photos/pcb.2542200122551177/2542197802551409/?type=3&theater Thank you very much for your kind attention, and hope you find this one useful. Stay safe from COVID-19. – EcoWaste Coalition

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.

[Press Release] Hazard Pay for Frontline Environmental Workers Urged for the Duration of the COVID-19 Lockdown -EcoWaste Coalition

(EcoWaste Coalition, together with labor groups, backs hazard pay for garbage collectors)

7 April 2020, Quezon City. The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental health organization, has proposed to the government the provision of appropriate hazard pay for garbage collectors during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to stem the spread of the dreaded novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Through a letter sent via e-mail to four department secretaries, the group pointed to the need to provide assigned garbage collectors, particularly household waste and healthcare waste collectors, with some kind of hazard compensation due to the heightened health and safety risks they face in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The calculation of the requested hazard pay should begin on March 17, 2020 until the ECQ is terminated.

While President Rodrigo Roa Duterte through Administrative Order No. 26 has authorized the provision of hazard pay to government employees who physically report for work during the ECQ period, the same entitlement may not apply to most garbage collectors who are often hired by waste management companies contracted by local government units (LGUs), the group said in their common letter to Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, and Budget Management Secretary Wendel Avisado.

“As frontliners from the environmental sector in the country’s determined efforts to prevent and control COVID-19, we believe that garbage collectors are entitled to hazard pay — regardless of their employment status – due to the risks they face in the performance of essential waste management services, which can be considered hazardous, especially under the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the coronavirus outbreak,” wrote Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

The lack of clear-cut regulations for the disposal of infectious waste from households, as well as the apparent increase in the disposal of infectious waste from healthcare facilities, justify the provision of hazard pay for these frontline environmental workers, the group said.

“Without their indispensable service, we may be faced with even more environmental and health hazards from uncollected waste,” emphasized Sison.

In the absence of a law requiring employers from providing their employees with hazard pay, the EcoWaste Coalition requested the four department secretaries “to use moral suasion to strongly encourage employers of garbage collectors — be they private companies or LGUs — to grant them daily hazard pay during the ECQ period.”

As some waste management companies and/or LGUs may be unwilling or financially constrained to offer hazard pay for garbage collectors, the group requested the national government to take on such responsibility with urgency as a humanitarian gesture in these most trying times.

“Such action will be in sync with Republic Act 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, particularly on the ‘provision of safety nets to all affected sectors’ of COVID-19. These can be factored in the social amelioration benefits, or the disaster funds of the LGUs,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Several labor organizations have supported the provision of hazard pay for garbage collectors that is being pushed by the EcoWaste Coalition through e-mails and text messages sent to the group.

Among the groups backing the proposed hazard pay for garbage collectors are the Associated Labor Unions – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP-NCR), Consolidated Council of Health and Allied Profession (CCHAP-PSLINK), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), National Public Workers Congress (PUBLIK), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), and the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO).

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.

[Press Release] EcoWaste Coalition Slams Latest Attempts to Import Toxic Waste from South Korea

The environmental health watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition deplored the entry into the country of some 53,000 metric tons of radioactive phosphogypsum from South Korea that government agents intercepted last Friday.

The group also scored the importation of electronic waste, or e-waste, from South Korea in one 40-foot container that was falsely declared as used television and electrical spare parts

At the same time, the group commended the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for their swift action, which led to the seizure of the phosphogypsum shipments on November 22 at a wharf in Cabangan, Zambales and the subsequent arrest of the shipmaster, his crew and the crane operators. .

The group further lauded the Environmental Protection and Compliance Division of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for stopping the e-waste consignment, which arrived on November 6 at the Manila International Container Port.

“We deplore this most recent act to transfer into the country tons upon tons of phosphogypsum, a waste by-product of fertilizer production from phosphate rock, which is known to contain radioactive elements,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We also find the e-waste shipment equally detestable,” he added.

“We have yet to complete the re-exportation to South Korea of contaminated plastic waste stranded in Misamis Oriental and it seems that a new controversy involving these recent toxic shipments is looming,” he lamented.

“The decisive action taken by the PCG, NBI and BOC operatives amid intensified efforts to prevent hazardous waste exports to the Philippines must be supported. We hope they will hold their ground and get the toxic shipments out of the country as soon as possible,” he said.

These incidents should prompt the government into imposing a definite ban on the importation of hazardous waste and other wastes, and into ratifying without delay the Basel Ban Amendment prohibiting the export of hazardous wastes, including e-waste, from developed to developing countries for all reasons, including recycling. The said amendment to the Basel Convention will enter into force on December 5, 2019.

Dizon had earlier written to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) last November 12 to alert the agencies about the phosphogypsum shipments which the group learned about through an e-mail it got from an informant.

“As the country’s principal regulatory and law enforcement bodies in charge of controlling and preventing hazardous waste trade, we request both the EMB and the BOC to jointly investigate this matter,” he said.

As per news report published at the PCG website, combined PCG-NBI operatives intercepted the Liberian-flagged merchant ship from the Port of Gwangyang at the Cabangan Wharf in the municipality of Cabangan, province of Zambales.

The ship crew members and crane operators were already unloading the cargoes at the wharf when the law enforcers arrived.

Unable to present the proper permits, the PCG-NBI operatives ordered the shipmaster to stop unloading the cargo citing violations of Republic Act 6969, or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act, and Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The shipmaster, crew, and crane operators were subsequently arrested and brought to NBI Headquarters in Manila for the proper custody and further investigation.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): “Phosphogypsum, a waste product from manufacturing fertilizer, emits radon, a radioactive gas.”

“It also contains the radioactive elements uranium, thorium, and radium,” the EPA said, noting that “because the wastes are concentrated, phosphogypsum is more radioactive than the original phosphate rock.”

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 336, Eagle Court, 26 Matalino St., 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone/Fax: 84411846 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org

Reference:

https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/11/23/ship-loaded-with-toxic-substance-from-south-korea-intercepted-in-zambales/

http://www.coastguard.gov.ph/index.php/11-news/3612-pcg-nbi-nab-ship-carrying-toxic-substance-from-south-korea-2

https://www.epa.gov/radtown/radioactive-material-fertilizer-production

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.

[Press Release] Groups Push for Children’s Safety from Hazardous Toys as Christmas Near -EcoWaste Coalition

Consumer and environmental protection groups today reminded the public to be watchful for hazardous toys in the market that can bring harm rather than a joy to children.

At a press briefing held on November 24, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Laban Konsyumer, Inc. rallied consumers to exercise their rights to product information and product safety amid the toy shopping spree as the traditional Christmas gift-giving nears.

“We appeal to all gift-givers to be extra careful when buying toys as the market is flooded with dangerous toys that are often unlabeled and unregistered,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“While toys are generally fun and safe to play with, there are toys out there that can pose various hazards from chemical poisoning, choking, skin laceration, strangulation and even injury to sensitive body parts like the eyes and ears,” he said.

“As children are vulnerable to the negative effects of poorly made and toxic toys, toymakers, distributors, and retailers must be responsible enough not to offer toys that have not passed quality and safety verification, including compliance to product labeling requirements,” he emphasized.

For his part, Atty. Vic Dimagiba, President of the Laban Konsyumer, Inc. pointed to the need for heightened monitoring of toys to rid the market of products that can put the health and safety of children at risk.

“As shoppers flock to their favorite stores, the government needs to assure consumers that toys being sold in the market are not only affordable but also properly labeled and of good quality,” he said.

“Sustained monitoring of the marketplace is needed to stop the sale of toys and other popular Christmas products that may inflict harm to children’s health,” he added.

Clinical toxicologist Dr. Bessie Antonio of the East Avenue Medical Center further stressed the consumer vigilance against toys that are laden with hazardous substances such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals, heavy metals, and persistent organic pollutants.

“Consumers should avoid toys containing hazardous chemicals. Lead in painted toys, in particular, may be ingested by children through normal hand-to-mouth behavior. Chronic exposure to lead can interfere with a child’s growth and development resulting in lower intelligence quotient (IQ), poor school performance, reduced attention span, and anti-social behavioral,” she explained.

According to the latest toy sampling conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition involving 156 products bought from toy retailers in Baguio, Manila, Cebu and Davao Cities:

a. 20 out of 156 toys had lead levels above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million; traces of other heavy metals such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium were also detected in some toys;

b. 85 of the 156 toys contain small parts that can pose a choking hazard; some toys were also found to pose eye injury, laceration, and strangulation hazards;

c. None of the 156 provided complete product labeling information as required by Republic 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

To reduce children’s exposure to harm arising from the purchase and use of dangerous toys, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends the following “Santa’s shopping tips” for safe toys:

1. Choose age-suitable toys. Check the recommended age on the product label and select the one that is appropriate to your child’s age, abilities, habits, and maturity level. Refrain from buying toys that are not labeled for age appropriateness.

2. Pick toys that are durable and well-made. A sturdily made toy will last longer and will be safe for parts that could break or fall apart with frequent use. Detached or shattered parts could injure or pose a choking hazard to a curious child.

3. Shun toys with small parts to reduce the risk of choking. Marbles, tiny balls and toys with button batteries and small components pose a choking risk. As a general rule, toys and toy parts should be bigger than a child’s mouth.

4. Avoid toys with a cord longer than 12 inches to prevent strangulation incidents. Toys with a cord or string longer than 12 inches can be deadly as it can wrap around the neck and asphyxiate a child.

5. Go for injury-free toys. Refrain from procuring toys that can injure a child’s ears, eyes, skin, and body such as toys with pointed parts, sharp edges and those that can eject small objects such as toy pellet guns.

6. Reject lead-painted toys. Refuse coated toys if there is no assurance that the paint used is safe from lead, a neurotoxin. Toys should be painted only with lead-safe paints to prevent a child from being exposed to this toxic chemical that can cause intellectual impairment and mental retardation, among other adverse effects.

7. Avoid toys made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. PVC plastic toys contain chemicals additives such as toxic phthalates that can leach out when a toy is chewed or sucked.

8. Patronize duly labeled and registered toy and childcare articles (TCCAs). Notified TCCAs have undergone quality and safety assessment by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

EcoWaste Coalition Slams Latest Attempts to Import Toxic Waste from South Korea

25 November 2019, Quezon City. The environmental health watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition deplored the entry into the country of some 53,000 metric tons of radioactive phosphogypsum from South Korea that government agents intercepted last Friday.

The group also scored the importation of electronic waste, or e-waste, from South Korea in one 40-foot container that was falsely declared as used television and electrical spare parts

At the same time, the group commended the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for their swift action, which led to the seizure of the phosphogypsum shipments on November 22 at a wharf in Cabangan, Zambales and the subsequent arrest of the shipmaster, his crew and the crane operators. .

The group further lauded the Environmental Protection and Compliance Division of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for stopping the e-waste consignment, which arrived on November 6 at the Manila International Container Port.

“We deplore this most recent act to transfer into the country tons upon tons of phosphogypsum, a waste by-product of fertilizer production from phosphate rock, which is known to contain radioactive elements,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We also find the e-waste shipment equally detestable,” he added.

“We have yet to complete the re-exportation to South Korea of contaminated plastic waste stranded in Misamis Oriental and it seems that a new controversy involving these recent toxic shipments is looming,” he lamented.

“The decisive action taken by the PCG, NBI and BOC operatives amid intensified efforts to prevent hazardous waste exports to the Philippines must be supported. We hope they will hold their ground and get the toxic shipments out of the country as soon as possible,” he said.

These incidents should prompt the government into imposing a definite ban on the importation of hazardous waste and other wastes, and into ratifying without delay the Basel Ban Amendment prohibiting the export of hazardous wastes, including e-waste, from developed to developing countries for all reasons, including recycling. The said amendment to the Basel Convention will enter into force on December 5, 2019.

Dizon had earlier written to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) last November 12 to alert the agencies about the phosphogypsum shipments which the group learned about through an e-mail it got from an informant.

“As the country’s principal regulatory and law enforcement bodies in charge of controlling and preventing hazardous waste trade, we request both the EMB and the BOC to jointly investigate this matter,” he said.

As per news report published at the PCG website, combined PCG-NBI operatives intercepted the Liberian-flagged merchant ship from the Port of Gwangyang at the Cabangan Wharf in the municipality of Cabangan, province of Zambales.

The ship crew members and crane operators were already unloading the cargoes at the wharf when the law enforcers arrived.

Unable to present the proper permits, the PCG-NBI operatives ordered the shipmaster to stop unloading the cargo citing violations of Republic Act 6969, or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act, and Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The shipmaster, crew, and crane operators were subsequently arrested and brought to NBI Headquarters in Manila for the proper custody and further investigation.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): “Phosphogypsum, a waste product from manufacturing fertilizer, emits radon, a radioactive gas.”

“It also contains the radioactive elements uranium, thorium, and radium,” the EPA said, noting that “because the wastes are concentrated, phosphogypsum is more radioactive than the original phosphate rock.”

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 336, Eagle Court, 26 Matalino St., 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone/Fax: 84411846 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org

Reference:

https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/11/23/ship-loaded-with-toxic-substance-from-south-korea-intercepted-in-zambales/

http://www.coastguard.gov.ph/index.php/11-news/3612-pcg-nbi-nab-ship-carrying-toxic-substance-from-south-korea-2

https://www.epa.gov/radtown/radioactive-material-fertilizer-production

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.

[Press Release] “Iwas PapuToxic” Campaign Urges Kids to Desist Using Firecrackers to Avoid Injuries, Pollution -EcoWaste Coalition

“Iwas PapuToxic” Campaign Urges Kids to Desist Using Firecrackers to Avoid Injuries, Pollution

Environmental groups and health advocates led by the EcoWaste Coalition, together with about 2,000 students from Fernando Ma. Guerrero Elementary School in Paco, Manila, today jumpstarted the annual campaign against the use of firecrackers by staging an on-campus noise barrage simulating a festive welcome of the New Year using safe and eco-friendly noisemakers.

ecowaste-coalition

In lieu of high-risk firecrackers, the school assembly, led by Principal Corazon Garcia, showed how the New Year can be as lively by sounding alternative noisemakers fashioned from recycled materials such as shakers made from cans and plastic bottles filled with seeds, coins and pebbles; tambourines from flattened bottle caps; cymbals from pots and pans; as well as the perennial favorite torotot from cardboards.

The activity was held to relaunch the EcoWaste Coalition’s “Iwas PapuToxic” drive. Now on its ninth year, the campaign complements the Department of Health’s firecracker safety drive by encouraging the public, especially the youth, to refrain from blasting firecrackers throughout the holiday season, and instead opt for safer and eco-sensitive alternatives in ushering in 2015 that will not imperil life, property and the environment.

The EcoWaste Coalition held poster and slogan making contests with the theme, “Iwas PapuToxic: Buhay, Kalusugan, Klima Sagipin,” as students with the most ingenious anti-paputok posters and slogans were cited.

The most resourceful noisemakers made from recycled materials were similarly rewarded.

“Firecrackers jeopardize our children’s health and safety, as statistics identify these as the major source of accidental deaths, human injuries and chemical pollution during these times of the year. It is our responsibility as adults to protect our children from toxic exposure and injuries that could endanger their health and development,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“These kids present here today have shown us that with a little creativity, we can look forward to a joyous New Year sans health-damaging and environment-polluting firecrackers,” she added.

Data from the DOH showed that there were 1,018 fireworks-related injuries from December 21, 2013 to January 5, 2014, 997 of which were due to fireworks, with one reported casualty. Piccolo remains the top culprit especially among children with 359 registered cases.

Joining the students in the “Iwas PapuToxic” activity was newly-crowned Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrell, who, along with Santa Claus and a number of cosplayers, led the group in performing Kidz Bop Kids’ “Timber,” echoing the importance of an injury- and toxics-free holiday celebrations.

Also present at the launch were representatives from the Department of Health, Philippine National Police and Bureau of Fire Protection.

Considering the tragedy typhoon Ruby has brought to numerous provinces in Luzon and Visayas last week, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the general public to put off their plans to light firecrackers or conduct fireworks displays.
“We request our kababayans preparing for their annual pyrotechnic shows to abandon your plans and otherwise contribute the money you’ll save in rehabilitation efforts for the typhoon victims,” suggested Lucero.

“Aside from reducing toxic chemicals emission and preventing firework-related incidents, such warm-hearted and selfless actions will definitely help affected families and renew their hopes for a promising New Year,” she added.

For a toxics-free New Year celebration, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends the following eco-friendly and inexpensive noisemakers as alternatives to firecrackers and fireworks.

1. Save a finger, blow a torotot (Pinoy-style trumpets).

2. Clang cymbals from pot lids and pan covers.

3. Shake maracas made out of used tin cans.

4. Rattle the tambourine made from flattened bottle crowns.

5. Joggle “piggy banks” or “shakers” from paper box or plastic bottles with seeds, pebbles or coins.

6. Tap drums made of big water bottles, biscuit cans or buckets.

7. Create whistling sound or get a whistle and blow it.

8. Beat the batya or palanggana (washbasin) with a ladle or stick.

9. Knock empty coconut shells.

10. Switch on the radio or play your favorite music or musical instruments.

11. Ring the alarm clocks or play ringtones altogether.

12. Honk bicycle or car horns.

13. Clap your hands and stump your feet.

14. Laugh your lungs out and bid your worries goodbye.

15. Do the “Timber” dance, twist and shout “Happy New Year!”

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 329, Eagle Court, 26 Matalino St., 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone/Fax: 4411846  E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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.

[Press Release] EcoWaste Coalition Sounds Warning Bell Over Mercury-Laced Cosmetics from Pakistan

EcoWaste Coalition Sounds Warning Bell Over Mercury-Laced Cosmetics from Pakistan
(Watchdog Asks FDA to Thwart Trade in Mercury-Laden Pakistani Skin Cream)

5 August 2014, Quezon City. Beware: dangerous mercury-laden skin creams are not only coming from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but also from far away Pakistan.

ecowaste-coalition

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, made this shocking discovery during its market surveillance yesterday in Pasay City.

“This is the first time that we came across a skin whitening product loaded with toxic mercury from Pakistan, which is over 5,700 kilometers away from our country,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

On Monday, the group bought “Golden Pearl Beauty Cream” for P350 from Ammar Collections, a shop selling “made in Pakistan” garments at the second floor of Baclaran Bagong Milenyo Plaza, F.B. Harrison St., Pasay City.

Subsequent analysis using a portable X-Ray Fluoresence device detected 5,785 parts per million (ppm) of mercury in the product, way above the 1 ppm allowable limit for mercury under the Asean Cosmetics Directive.

“The product was obviously smuggled into the country as it is not covered by any market authorization from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA),” Lucero noted.

“If this illegal trade isn’t nipped in the bud, it will soon get out of hand, harm susceptible consumers and pollute the environment. We therefore ask the FDA, the Bureau of Customs and other agencies to thwart this unlawful traffic of mercury laden cosmetics from Pakistan,” she emphasized.

The group also revealed that the government of the United Kingdom in February 2013 ordered the withdrawal of Golden Pearl Beauty Cream from the market because “the product poses a chemical risk because it contains a mercury compound as a skin-lightening substance.”

According to the European Union’s RAPEX, the rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products, UK from 2009 to 2013 has withdrawn a total of 17 skin lightening products from Pakistan due to their mercury content.

“This should serve as a warning bell to consumers of skin lightening cosmetics from abroad with undisclosed mercury content that can spell serious trouble for human health,” Lucero stressed.

The World Health Organization has warned that inorganic mercury contained in skin lightening creams causes kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring, as well as reduces skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.

“Mercury and its compounds can enter the body by ingestion, inhalation or dermal contact, causing damaging effects that are not immediately obvious, but increasing and building up over time,” Lucero said.

As per the product insert, “Golden Pearl Beauty is the best skin whitening formulation… the only cream that clears pimples, wrinkles, marks, hives even shadows under the eyes and turns your skin white.”

The product promises to “make you much looking gorgeous that you won’t believe.”

“Don’t be swayed by these overstated claims. Don’t spend your hard-earned money to buy a perfect poison for your kidneys and skin. It is your right as consumer to have access to complete and truthful product information, including its chemical materials,” Lucero advised the public.

While the label lists a number of ingredients, it failed to mention that the product contains mercury, Lucero pointed out.-end-

Reference:
http://www.distancefromto.net/distance-from/Philippines/to/Pakistan

Click to access mercury_flyer.pdf


http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/rapex/alerts/main/index.cfm?event=main.search (search for “Golden Pearl Beauty Cream, 2013”

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.

[Press Release] Back-to-School Project Provides Non-Toxic, Lead-Safe Zippers for School Uniforms -EcoWaste Coalition

Back-to-School Project Provides Non-Toxic, Lead-Safe Zippers for School Uniforms

25 May 2014, Manila. Used school uniforms got a new lease of life through a practical “back-to-school” initiative involving a vibrant parish community, a toxics watchdog group and the world’s largest zipper manufacturer.

ecowaste-coalition

Through a collaborative project that brought together the Our Lady of Remedies Parish, EcoWaste Coalition and YKK Philippines, over 500 zippers of school shorts, pants and skirts that have seen better days were replaced with non-toxic and eco-friendly YKK Zippers at no cost to the delight of more than 100 mothers.

Dubbed as the “Palit Zipper na Ligtas sa Tingga,” the project sought to 1) draw public attention on the lead hazard in some zipper products, 2) encourage consumers to patronize quality lead safe zippers, and 3) help poor families cut their back-to-school expenses by offering to replace worn out zippers of school uniforms. The event was held Sunday at the Remedios Training Center.

“Back-to-school expenses can be a real challenge for many families living on a shoestring budget. Most will rely on cheap, low quality items that may contain harmful substances. Mothers who took advantage of this ‘palit zipper’ initiative can now breathe a collective sigh of relief for two reasons: first, they are learning another way to protect their children, and second, they know for certain that the zippers on their children’s clothes are safe from lead, a hazardous chemical,” said Fr. Leo Distor, Parish Priest, Our Lady of Remedies Parish, Malate,

“We are pleased to assure our customers that our zippers are compliant to standards and are globally accepted. By ensuring our proven product quality and safety through rigorous tests conducted by ourselves and via third party inspection, we give our customers a peace of mind and a real value for their money,” said Mr. Tadashi Koshio, Executive Vice-President for Sales and Marketing, YKK Philippines Inc.

“Zippers containing high levels of lead on the surface coating or the substrate should be kept out of reach of children who may be unwittingly exposed to such neurotoxin when they touch the puller and slider of lead-containing zippers of clothes, bags and accessories,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“There is no known amount of lead exposure that is considered safe, especially for a child’s developing brain. It is therefore imperative to get rid of all preventable sources of lead in a child’s environment, including lead paint and dust, and lead in school supplies, toys and other children’s products,”Dizon added.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

“Lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and is particularly harmful to young children.”

“Childhood lead exposure is estimated to contribute to about 600 000 new cases of children developing intellectual disabilities every year.”

“Lead exposure is estimated to account for 143 000 deaths per year with the highest burden in developing regions.”

Last December 2013, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, which prohibits, among other things, the use of lead in the production of school supplies and toys and sets a threshold limit of 90 parts per million for lead in paint.

While the said policy does not explicitly mention about zippers and other fastening devices, it is a fact that these items are accessible parts of things that children normally use such as bags and garments and should be lead safe, the groups insisted.

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.

[Press Release] EcoWaste Coalition Laments the Trashing of Streets as an Unholy Act of Penance

EcoWaste Coalition Laments the Trashing of Streets as an Unholy Act of Penance
(Group Commends Street Sweepers and Waste Recyclers for Picking Up after the Pilgrims)

Photo from Aileen LuceroFB

Photo from Aileen LuceroFB

18 April 2014, Quezon City. The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental watchdog, minced no words to criticize the widespread littering that again marred the annual Alay-Lakad to Antipolo City on Maundy Thursday.

“The massive littering of major streets by pilgrims who were supposed to fulfill an act of penance is unholy, unkind and unacceptable,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Why dirty the environment with garbage as we beg for forgiveness for our sins and renew our faith? Why spoil the air with cigarette smoke as we seek reconciliation with the Lord,” she asked.

“We respect our people’s freedom of belief and religion, but it should never be at the expense of the public health and the environment,” she pointed out.

The EcoWaste Coalition’s Basura Patrollers lamented seeing major thoroughfares leading to Antipolo City, particularly Ortigas Avenue Extension from Pasig City, littered with various trash.

“Garbage was most visible in areas where people congregate and rest such as the environs of churches, the areas surrounding the Stations of the Cross, as well as in street junctions, parking lots and open spaces in front of shopping malls,” the Basura Patrollers said.

Like in previous Alay-Lakad activities, the Basura Patrollers spotted cigarette butts, plastic bags, food packaging, polystyrene coffee cups, paper noodle bowls, “suman” wrappers, and soiled newspapers everywhere, “as if it was a feast day for disposables and litterbugs.”

As if the trashing of the streets was not enough, litterbugs shamelessly left a carpet of used newspapers and other discards on the ground of the Antipolo Cathedral and the adjacent Dimasalang Park despite constant reminder from the Oplan Semana Santa Command Post for the public to dispose of their trash in proper receptacles, the Basura Patrollers said.

A biblical reminder from 1 Thessalonians 4:7, which says “for God has not called us to uncleanness, but in holiness,” was repeatedly broadcast from the public address system to encourage the throngs of pilgrims to keep the area clean, but to little avail.

It is some consolation to note, the EcoWaste Coalition said, that dozens of informal waste recyclers were quick to see the livelihood opportunity in such a mammoth event as they collected paper and plastic recyclables and thus reducing the volume of discards to be hauled and sent to the landfill by the city’s waste personnel.

The group likewise commended the hundreds of street sweepers assigned by the city governments of Antipolo and Pasig and the municipal governments of Cainta and Taytay for the round-the-clock cleanup efforts along the penitential route.

“The garbage situation would have been far worse if not for the service rendered by the street sweepers and the waste recyclers who picked up trash by hand during and after the penitential walk,” Lucero said.

R.A. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, prohibits and penalizes acts that could put the public health and the environment at risk, particularly the littering, dumping and burning of garbage.

Litterbugs can be penalized with a fine of P300 to P1,000, compelled to render community service at the local government unit (LGU) where the act was committed or be required to pay the fine as well as perform community service.

Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition called the attention of the public to avoid some souvenir items sold in Antipolo City that may pose risk to human health for containing excessive amounts of lead, a potent neurotoxin.

The souvenir products were purchased for P130 to P15 each from street vendors on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Using an X-Ray Fluorescence screening device for toxic metals, the group detected lead up to 5,984 parts per million (ppm), way above the regulatory limit of 90 ppm for lead in paints, in some key chains and religious figures that are coated with paint.

An angel candle holder had 5,984 ppm of lead, while a statue of the Holy Child and a statue of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (also known as the Virgin of Antipolo) had 4,029 ppm and 1,794 ppm of lead, respectively.

A “suman” key chain had 5,409 ppm of lead, a pencil key chain had 4,282 and a cashew key chain had 2,017 ppm of lead.

“We hope that our discovery of toxic lead in some of Antipolo’s favorite mementos would encourage souvenir makers to stop the use of lead paint for consumer health and safety,” Lucero said.

Press Release

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.

[Blog] Ang pagbabawal sa paggamit ng mga plastic bag ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.

Ang pagbabawal sa paggamit ng mga plastic bag
ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.

ang pagbabawal sa plastic bag ni Greg Bituin

Greg

Nang dumaan ang maraming bagyo sa bansa, tulad ng Roming, Milenyo, Ondoy, Pedring, Quiel, Sendong, Maring, at iba pa, naalarma ang marami sa malawakang pagbaha. Bata pa ako, ang kalsadang España sa Maynila ay binabaha na. Hanggang ngayon, binabaha pa rin. Kahit sa Lungsod ng Baguio, na naroon sa napakataas na bundok sa lalawigan ng Benguet, ay binaha noong Agosto 2012 ng bagyong Helen. Napakataas na lugar ngunit binaha. Bakit? Isa sa nakitang dahilan nito ang basurang plastik na siyang bumara sa mga kanal sa City Camp Lagoon sa Lungsod ng Baguio kaya hindi agad nawala ang tubig-baha.

Sa nangyaring pagkabara ng mga daan ng tubig sa iba’t ibang lugar na binaha dulot ng malakas na ulan, nag-atas ang maraming lungsod at bayan na ipinagbabawal na ang itinuturing na dahilan ng pagbabara ng mga daanang tubig. Ito ang pagbabawal ng paggamit ng plastik sa kanilang mga lugar na nasasakupan. Nariyan ang Lungsod ng Makati at Quezon, ang bayan ng Calamba sa Laguna, sa Lungsod ng Cebu, at sa marami pang bahagi ng bansa. Gayunman, sa ulat ng GMA 7, may anim na lungsod ang hindi sang-ayon sa pagbabawal ng mga plastic bag, at ito’y ang mga lungsod ng Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, San Juan, Parañaque at Valenzuela. Sa anim na iyon, mapapayag man ang lima na ipagbawal ang plastik, hindi ito magagawa ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela dahil karamihan ng mga industriya ng plastik ay nasa lupaing nasasakop nila. Ayon sa mga datos ng City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) ng Valenzuela noong 2012, may 224 na kumpanya ng plastik at pagawaan ng goma sa lungsod. At ang mga kumpangyang ito ang mga malalaking nagbabayad ng buwis sa pamahalaang lungsod.

Gayunman, mas nakapokus ang kampanya laban sa mga bag na plastik, at hindi sa iba pang uri ng plastik. Ibig sabihin, ipinagbabawal na ang paggamit ng mga bag na plastik sa pamamalengke. Dapat mayroon nang dalang bayong o mga telang bag, kapalit ng plastic bag, ang mga mamimili.

Ayon sa grupong EcoWaste Coalition (Philippine Daily Inquirer, Hulyo 4, 2013), umaabot na sa siyamnapung (90) lungsod at bayan ang nagpasa ng ordinansa na nagbabawal o kaya’y nagsagawa na ng patakaran sa wastong paggamit ng mga bag na plastik. Madaragdagan pa ang bilang na ito bago matapos ang taon, ayon pa sa Ecowaste. Noong Hulyo 3, 2013, pinangunahan ng EcoWaste ang mahigit limangdaang (500) katao, na kinabibilangan ng mga estudyante, opisyal ng paaralan, mga opisyal ng samahan ng magulang at guro, mga beauty queens at mga makakalikasan upang gunitain ang ikaapat na “International Plastic Bag-Free Day” o “Pandaigdigang Araw na Walang Bag na Plastik”. Nanawagan din sila sa pambansang pamahalaan na magsagawa ng mga batas at patakarang nagbabawal sa mga bag na plastik sa buong bansa.

Nang magsimula ako sa kilusang makakalikasan, nakadaupang palad ko ang ilang mga taong naging bahagi ng pag-unlad ko sa gawaing makakalikasan. Isa ako sa naimbitahan noon sa bahay ni Odette Alcantara, noong nabubuhay pa siya, sa kanyang bahay sa Blue Ridge, kasama ang ilang dumadalo rin sa Kamayan Forum sa Edsa, at nakita ko kung paano ba pinagbubukod ang nabubulok sa hindi nabubulok. Ang mga nabubulok, tulad ng dahon, papel, at pagkain, ay ibinabaon nila sa lupa. Merong maliit na lote sa malapit sa kanila ang pinagbabaunan ng mga nabubulok. Iyon namang hindi nabubulok, tulad ng bote, lata, at plastik, ay ibinubukod at ibinebenta, ang lata ay pinipipi bago ibenta, at inihihiwalay ang plastik. Doon ko rin nalaman ang tungkol sa Linis Ganda, kung saan may mga kariton itong nangunguha ng mga hindi nabubulok upang magamit pang muli, o yaong tinatawag na resiklo.

Ngunit bakit nga ba sinisisi at itinuturong dahilan ang mga bag na plastik sa mga nangyayaring kalamidad, lalo na ang baha? Gayunman, pag nagbaha sa mga lungsod at bayan, hindi kaagad ang mga pagkakabara ng plastik ang sinisisi ng pamahalaan, kundi ang mga maralitang nakatira sa may tabing ilog, estero at ilalim ng tulay. Imbes na pagtuunan ang dahilan ng pagkabara ng mga daanang tubig na ito, agad sinisisi ang mga dukha at pinagbibintangang siyang nagtatapon ng mga basura, lalo na ng plastik, sa tubig. Kailangan nilang umalis sa lugar, kung hindi’y sapilitan silang idedemolis. Patunay dito ang planong paglilikas sa mga maralitang nakatira sa tabing-ilog, mula sa apat na malalaking ilog at apat na estero, ito ay ang mga ilog ng San Juan, Pasig, Tullahan, Manggahan floodway at mga esterong Maricaban, Tripa de Galina, Maypajo at Sunog Apog. Kung hindi kaya nakakababara ang plastik, sisisihin kaya ang maralita sa pagbaha? Sa bandang huli, plastik na ang sinisisi ng marami dahil sa baradong mga daluyan ng tubig, at binabarahan ito ng mga basurang plastik.

Bakit plastik? Dahil hindi ito nabubulok. Kaya pag nagbara sa kanal, sasaluhin nito ang mga tubig at pipigilan. Hindi tulad ng mga nabubulok tulad ng papel, karton, at dahon, na sa pagdaan ng panahon ay mabubulok na pag humalo sa lupa, ang plastik ay hindi nagbabago. Maaaring ito’y masira ngunit hindi ito nabubulok. Ngunit hindi lang simpleng plastik ang napapag-initan dito, kundi ang bag na plastik. Ito’y dahil ito ang pang-araw-araw na gamit ng tao na madaling itapon pag nagamit na. Ayon nga sa pahayag ni Gng. Sonia Mendoza, na namumuno sa Task Force on Plastics ng EcoWaste Coalition: “Plastic bags are the embodiment of an antiquated, throw-away mentality that we need to urgently address.” (Ang mga bag na plastik ang pinakadiwa ng isang pag-iisip na makaluma at ugaling tapon ng taon na kinakailangan nating tugunan agad.)

Throw-away mentality. Ugaling tapon ng tapon kahit saan. Ito ang dapat unawain at solusyunan. Tulad na lang ng simpleng pagtatapon ng balat ng kendi. Kukunin ang kendi, tatanggalin ang nakabalot na plastik sa kendi, isusubo, at itatapon na ang balat ng kendi kung saan-saan. Dahil marumi na raw iyon at basura na. Ngunit basura lang iyon pag naitapon, gayong pwede naman itong ibulsa muna. Bakit ibulsa? May dalawang bahagi ang biniling kendi. Ang laman at ang balat o ang balot na plastik. Hindi ito basura at hindi ito marumi. Bakit nang pinaghiwalay ang dalawa, isinubo ang laman, ay itinuring nang marumi ang balat kaya itinatapon na agad gayong nang may laman pa itong kendi ay hindi naman itinuturing na marumi? Dahil sa throw-away mentality. Yung wala nang pakinabang o wala nang silbi ay dapat nang itapon. Ang balat ng kendi, imbes na ibulsa muna dahil walang basurahang mapagtapunan, ay tinatapon na lang kung saan-saan dahil pinandidirihan na itong ibulsa. Pero ito’y sa usapin ng balat ng kendi pa lamang, at hindi pa sa plastic bag.

Sa mga malalaking tapunan ng basura, halimbawa, sa Payatas, kitang-kita ang napakaraming tambak ng basurang plastik. Sakali mang itapon ng wasto ang mga plastik, napakaraming taon ang bibilangin bago ito mabulok, kung mabubulok ito. Kung hindi naman ito maitatapon ng wasto, babara ang mga plastik na ito sa imburnal, kanal, at magpaparumi sa ilog, dagat, at iba pang daanan ng tubig, at nakakaapekto rin ng malaki sa tahanan ng mga hayop. Maaari ding akalaing pagkain ito ng mga hayop at isda sa dagat, na siyang ikamamatay ng mga ito. Ang matindi pa rito ay kung nagtatapon ng basurang nakabalot sa plastik, lalo na ng itim na garbage bags, sa dagat mula sa mga barko. Tiyak na apektado rito ang mga nabubuhay na mga isda’t iba pang hayop sa karagatan.
May mga balitang namatay ang isang balyena nang makakain ito ng isang plastik bag na puno ng basura. Dagdag pa rito, ang mga plastic bag ay nagmumukhang dikya o jelly fish na maaaring makain ng mga gutom na pagong at iba pang nabubuhay sa karagatan.

Ang mismong pagkakadeklara sa Hulyo 3 bilang “International Plastic Bag-Free Day” ay nagpapakitang matindi talaga ang negatibong epekto ng mga plastic bag sa ating kapaligiran. Kinakailangan pa ng deklaradong araw para lang sa kampanyang ito. Bakit pinag-initan ang bag na plastik at hindi ang iba pang klase ng plastik?

Alamin muna natin ang iba’t ibang klase ng plastik. Batay sa pananaliksik, may pitong klase ng plastik. Noong 1988, nagsagawa ng sistema ng pagklasikipa ng plastik ang Society of Plastic Industries (SPI) upang malaman ng mga bibili at ng mga magreresiklo nito ang iba’t ibang klase ng plastik. Ang mga kumpanyang gumagawa ng produktong plastik ay naglalagay ng kodang SPI, o numero, sa bawat produktong plastik, na karaniwang nakaukit sa ilalim ng produkto. Ito’y ang mga sumusunod:

1. Polyethylene terephtalate, o PETE. Ito ang uri ng plastik na ginagamit sa mga inuming nakalalasing, lalagyan ng medisina, lubid, hibla ng karpet at pananamit. Karaniwang nareresiklo ang mga bagay na yari sa ganitong uri ng plastik.

2. High-density polyethylene, o HDPE. Ito naman ang uri ng plastik na ginagamit na lalagyan ng langis sa makina, shampoo at kondisyuner, bote ng sabon, detergent at bleach. Karaniwan ding nareresiklo ang mga bagay na yari sa plastik na ito. Gayunman, hindi ito ligtas na gamiting muli ang mga boteng yari sa HDPE na lalagyan ng pagkain o inuman kung sa orihinal ay hindi ito ang gamit noon.

3. Polyvinyl chloride, o PVC (V). Ito ang ginagamit sa plastik na tubo, plastik na credit cards, frame ng bintana at pinto, gutter, mga produktong synthetic leather. Paminsan-minsan ay nareresiklo ito, ngunit ang ganitong uri ng plastik ay hindi ginagamit sa pagkain, dahil maaaring makasama sa katawan.

4. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Ito ang ginagamit sa mga plastik bag na pang-groseri, o yaong pambalot ng mga karne, isda, at gulay sa palengke, at plastik na pambalot ng tinapay sa panaderya. Paminsan-minsan ay nareresiklo ang mga ganitong plastik.

5. Polypropylene (PP). Matibay ang ganitong uri ng plastik at kayang tumagal sa mas mataas na temperatura. Ginagamit ito sa paggawa ng baunan ng pagkain (lunch box), lalagyan ng margarina, bote ng medisina at syrup, boteng pandede ng bata, istro, at mga plastik na tansan. Kadalasang nreresiklo rin ito.

6. Polystyrene, o iyong styrofoam (PS). Ito naman yung ginagamit sa pagkain, tulad ng plato, kutsara’t tinidor, at baso, plastik na lagayan ng itlog, mga tray sa fast foods. Karaniwan din itong nareresiklo, bagamat napakahirap.

7. At iba pang plastik (Other). Sa kategoryang ito pumapasok ang mga uri ng plastik na hindi nakapaloob sa naunang anim, at ito ang mga bagay na napapalamnan ng plastik na naimbento makaraan ang 1987. Sa kategoryang ito nakapaloob ang polycarbonate at polylactide. Kasama sa mga produkto nito ang mga sports equipment, mga gamit pang-medikal at dental, CD, DVD, at kahit na yaong mga iPods.

Sa mga klaseng ito, bagamat lahat ay maaaring makabara sa kanal, ang karaniwang itinatapon bilang basurang nakakabara sa kanal ay yaong plastik bag at mga pambalot ng bigas, karne, isda’t gulay sa palengke. Ang plastik na ito ang pinakapopular sa halos lahat ng uri ng tao, bata’t matanda, dukha’y mayaman, babae’t lalaki. Nakita ko mismo ang dami ng plastik na ito na nagkalat mismo sa gitna ng dagat. Grabe.

Noong Agosto 16, 2006 ay nakasama ako sa isang aktibidad ng SALIKA (Saniblakas ng Inang Kalikasan) at EcoWaste Coalition sa Roxas Blvd. sa Maynila, kung saan nagtanggal kami ng mga plastik na basura sa dagat, at pinaghiwa-hiwalay ang mga ito batay sa uri ng plastik. Pawang nakuha namin dito ay mga plastik na kabilang sa ikaapat na klase, o iyung LDPE (Low-density polyethylene). Pawang mga gamit sa pang-araw-araw ng tao. Bandang hapon ng araw ding iyon, sumakay kami sa nakahimpil na barko ng Greenpeace, ang MV Esperanza, sa daungan ng Maynila. Mula sa barko, nakita namin ang napakaraming basurang plastik na naglulutangan sa dagat. Naisip ko tuloy, napakaliit na bagay lang ang ginawa namin, ngunit kung laging gagawin araw-araw ay malaki na ang mababawas. Ngunit ang problema, patuloy namang nagtatapon ng basura at dumarami pa sa dagat, kaya paano ito mauubos. Habang nagbabawas ka ng paunti-unti, malaki naman ang nadaragdag na basurang plastik sa dagat.

Ipinagbawal din ang pagsusunog ng basura, dahil masama sa katawan ng tao ang amoy ng nasusunog na plastik. Sa mga bakuran o tarangkahan ng mga bahay-bahay, lalo na sa mga lalawigan, ay mahilig magsunog ng basura. Iipunin ang mga dahon-dahon at sisigaan tabi ng isang puno upang maalis umano ang mga peste at gumanda, lumago at mamunga ang puno. Ang problema ay kung may nasasamang plastik sa nasusunog na basura. Karamihan ng basura sa mga bahay-bahay ngayon ay napakaraming plastik at may mga papel na dumaan sa kemikal. Pag sinunog ito, nagiging polusyon ito sa hangin at madaling masinghot. Ang mga abo naman nito ay maaaring hanginin o kaya’y mahalo sa tubig sa ilalim ng lupa. May ibinubugang lason ang pagsusunog ng basura, lalo na’t may plastik. Nariyan ang dioxin na nagdudulot ng kanser, at nagpapahina ng immune system, dahil na rin sa pagkasunog ng mga basurang may halong PVC. Nariyan din ang nitrogen oxides at sulfur oxides na nagdudulot ng sakit sa baga, sa respirasyon, at sa central nervous system. Nilalason din nito ang mga lupa at tubig na dulot ng asidong ulan. Imbes magsunog ng basura, paghiwalayin ang nabubulok sa hindi nabubulok. Ibaon sa lupa ang mga nabubulok, at iresiklo ang mga hindi nabubulok.

Matagal na nating kasama ang plastic bag, ngunit paano ba ang dapat nating gawin? Bukod sa pagbabawal sa paggamit ng mga bag na plastik sa iba’t ibang lungsod at bayan, ano pa ang ginagawang inisyatiba ng pamahalaan at ng ating mga kababayan?

Marami nang nangangampanya laban sa plastic bag sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo. Nariyan din ang “Ban the Bag! – A campaign to end single use plastic bags in Portland” sa facebook. Nariyan din ang Ban the Bag Alliance sa Australia, http://www.banthebag.com.au. Ayon sa pahayagang Jordan Times, “UNESCO launches campaign against plastic bags”, ibig sabihin, kahit ang isang sangay ng United Nations, ay nangangampanya na rin laban sa paggamit ng mga plastik bag. Anupa’t sadyang pandaigdigan ang kampanyang ito. Sa Jakarta Post naman, ibinalita nitong may 150 boluntaryo sa Aceh ang nangangampanya sa mga Indones na bawasan na ang paggamit ng mga plastic bag upang mabawasan ang mga basurang plastik, at isa sa kanilang mga aksyon ay ang pagpapalit ng sampung plastic bag kapalit ng isang telang grocery bag. Sa ating bansa naman ay nariyan ang EcoWaste Coalition, Green Convergence, at iba pang grupo na ayaw sa plastik. Kailangan nating magpakatotoo sa kampanyang ito, dahil kung hindi, matuturing lang tayong plastik.

May iba’t ibang bansa na ang nagpasa ng batas sa kanilang bansa na nagbabawal sa mga plastic bag. Nariyan ang The Punjab Plastic Bags Control Act sa bansang India. Sa bansang Tasmania ay nariyan ang “Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Bill 2013. Sa ating bansa, nariyan ang panukalang batas sa Senado, ang Senate Bill 2759, na pinamagatang “Total Plastic Bag Ban Act of 2011” o AN ACT PROHIBITING THE USE OF PLASTIC BAGS IN GROCERIES, RESTAURANTS, AND OTHER ESTABLISHMENTS, AND PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF.

Mabubuod sa Seksyon 3 ang pangunahing nilalaman ng panukalang batas na ito: “Sec. 3. Prohibition. – Groceries, supermarkets, public markets, restaurants, fast food chains, department stores, retail stores and other similar establishments are hereby prohibited from.using non-biodegradable plastic bags. All aforementioned establishments shall only provide recyclable paper bags and/ or biodegradable plastic bags to its customers.”

Sa Mababang Kapulungan naman ng Kongreso, inaprubahan ng mga mambabatas ang House Bill 4840 o The Plastic Bag Regulation Act of 2011. Pinapatakaran ng nasabing panukalang batas ang wastong paggamit ng mga plastic bag, at paglikha ng isang “plastic bag recovery system”. Ayon kay Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro), isa sa may-akda ng panukalang batas, “The State must ensure that contaminants to the environment, such as plastic and plastic bags, be prevented from being introduced into the ecosystem.” Inirerekomenda sa HB 4840 ang pag-alis (phase out) sa mga di-nabubulok na plastic bag sa loob ng tatlong taon matapos itong maisabatas.

Sabi naman ni Rep. Aurelio Gonzales (3rd District, Pampanga), na isa rin sa may-akda ng panukala, “The phase-out of plastic bags is a practical contribution to the collective efforts of solving the country’s environmental problems.” (Ang pag-alis sa mga bag na plastik ay isang praktikal na ambag sa kolektibong pagsisikap na maresolba ang mga problemang pangkapaligiran ng bansa.) Ayon naman sa prinsipal na may-akda ng panukala na si Rep. Oscar Malapitan (1st District, Caloocan City), “the recovery system will lead citizens to exert effort and give their due share in protecting the environment by bringing used plastic bags to stores and commercial establishments which in turn shall provide the logistics for recovery of these plastic shopping bags.”

Hindi pa mga ganap na batas ang mga ito. Kaya bilang simpleng mamamayan, paano tayo tutulong sa kampanyang ito? Unang-una na, sa pamamagitan ng leadership by example, dapat makita mismo sa atin na hindi na tayo gumagamit ng plastic bag, sanayin natin ang ating sarili at pamilya na sa araw at gabi ay walang mga plastic bag sa ating tahanan at pinagtatrabahuhan, at pawang mga biodegradable bag na lang ang ating gagamitin. Ibig sabihin, may mga bag na tela na maaari nating dalhin. Hindi ito kagaya ng mga plastic bag na hindi naman natin nakasanayang iresiklo. Ikalawa, ikampanyang maisabatas ang mga batas na nagbabawal ng plastik. Ikatlo, libutin natin ang mga eskwelahan at mga pagawaan upang magbigay ng edukasyon laban sa paggamit ng mga plastic bags. Ikaapat, nasasa inyo ang desisyon, mga kaibigan, upang makapag-ambag sa pagresolba ng isang malawakang problema.

Marami pa tayong magagawa upang mabawasan ang paggamit ng mga plastic bag, at sa kalaunan ay tuluyan nang mawala ang mga ito. Mangyayari lang ito kung seryoso tayong kikilos upang maisakatuparan ang lahat ng mga adhikaing ito para sa kinabukasan natin at ng mga susunod pang henerasyon.

Mga pinaghalawan:

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/318144/news/specialreports/as-ban-on-plastic-bags-spreads-valenzuela-stubbornly-says-no

’Plastic ban Saturday’ ordinance takes effect this week

Environmentalists seek nationwide plastic ban


http://plasticbagbanreport.com/phillipines-legarda-files-total-plastic-bag-ban-act/
http://plasticbagbanreport.com/philippines-house-of-representatives-vote-to-regulate-plastic-bags/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic

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.