Tag Archives: Environment and Human Rights

[People] Saving the Forests is Saving the Planet | by Fr. Shay Cullen

#HumanRights #Environment

Saving the Forests is Saving the Planet
Shay Cullen
21 March 2021

The International Day of Forest is today, 21 March. Forests are of vital importance to the well-being of all creatures, the natural world, and especially humankind. They absorb most of the damaging CO2 that causes climate change. Their protection and restoration should be of the highest national priority of each nation to hold back global warming from rising above 1.5 degrees celsius and avert the catastrophe that is to come.

Forests are vital for retaining and releasing water the whole year-round, preventing draught and providing clean water and protection from landslides and soil erosion in the typhoon season. In the Philippines and other nations that have suffered deforestation, there is severe low crop yield that causes food insecurity due to massive rains and typhoons because of soil erosion. In some provinces, 50 percent of the rich topsoil has been washed away and more to come. There are no more forests to hold the water back. The Philippines, once self-sufficient in rice, now imports most of its rice.

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

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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] Customs Official Receives “Environmental Justice Award”-EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment

Customs Official Receives “Environmental Justice Award”

20 January 2021, Quezon City. The waste and pollution watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition presented the “Environmental Justice Award” to Bureau of Customs-Region 10 District Collector John Simon in a virtual ceremony held yesterday.

Simon, a customs official with 31 years of distinguished service in the government sector, is the lone recipient of the group’s first-ever “Environmental Justice Award” coinciding with the national observance of “Zero Waste Month” this January.

According to Eileen Sison, President of the EcoWaste Coalition, Simon is recognized “for his exemplary leadership, unfaltering dedication and focused action to protect public health and the environment from hazardous wastes from overseas, particularly in relation to the successful re-exportation in 2019-2020 of some 7,408 metric tons of illegal waste shipments from South Korea.”

“Simon’s decisive and unyielding action to uphold our country’s tariff and customs and environmental laws and the provisions of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal led to the completion of the re-exportation procedures last September 15 amid the COVID-19 challenges,” she said.

“I’m deeply honored to receive this special citation from the EcoWaste Coalition. This award from a non-profit watchdog group on chemicals and wastes will surely inspire my fellow customs officials and employees to persevere in our role as protector of our nation against foreign waste dumping,” said Simon.

“Environmental justice demands that we assert our sovereign right not to be treated as dumping ground for wastes from abroad that can put the health of our people and that of our ecosystems in harm’s way,” he emphasized. “This job is too big for one agency to accomplish, so I reach out to all sectors, especially to the environment department and Congress to take on this challenge and strictly ban waste imports like what other Asian countries have done.”

In a video message, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar hailed Simon as “a model in an office that most requires brave idealism.” He said: “One man stood to protest, fight and have the South Korean garbage returned to its country of origin. He braved diplomatic problems, armed with the law and port regulations, and consequently succeeded to uphold what is right by international and domestic practices and, most importantly, by what is just.”

Secretary Andanar likewise cited the EcoWaste Coalition: “We acknowledge the importance of the EcoWaste Coalition in its task of ensuring the balance of ecosystems with the unguarded effects of progress,” assuring the group of “sustained support with the information dissemination as needed.”

To prevent a repeat of foreign waste dumping incidents, Marian Ledesma, Campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines, pointed out that “a comprehensive waste importation ban is crucial for the Philippines as countries close their borders to foreign waste.”

“Exemptions and loopholes in our current regulation still allow the entry of dangerous substances. And so, Filipinos and the natural resources we rely on remain at risk for harms and contamination brought about by foreign waste. We cannot afford to become a prime destination for the world’s trash, as we end up shouldering the health and environmental costs of waste trade. To protect the country from future exploitation, the Philippine government must prohibit waste importation altogether,” she said.

To recall, contaminated waste shipments, falsely declared as “plastic synthetic flakes,” exported by Green Soko Co. Ltd. and consigned to Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp. arrived in Misamis Oriental in July and October 2018 without prior import clearance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Customs and environmental authorities found unsorted plastic materials, household garbage, used dextrose tubes, soiled diapers, and discarded electronics in the bulk and containerized waste shipments in violation of national and international laws.

Authorities confirmed the shipments as “misdeclared, heterogenous and injurious to public health” and in blatant violation of Republic Act 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, and DENR Administrative Order 2013-22, which states that “no importation of heterogenous and unsorted plastic materials shall be allowed.”

Following bilateral negotiations, the illegal waste shipments totalling 364 containers (equivalent to 7,408 metric tons) were returned to Pyeongtaek City in seven batches between January 13, 2019 to September 15, 2020.

According to both the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace, “ratifying the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and 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.”

The Basel Convention Ban Amendment, which entered into force on December 5, 2019, prohibits the export of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries.

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] 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

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] Waste trade persists because gov’t not doing enough to stop it: Greenpeace – EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment Waste trade persists because gov’t not doing enough to stop it: Green groups

QUEZON City — The Philippines will remain a preferred destination for waste shipments as long as the government continues to refuse calls to enforce a comprehensive ban on all waste imports, environment groups Greenpeace Philippines and EcoWaste Coalition warned today following the interception of US waste materials at the Subic Bay International Terminal on Wednesday.

A shipment of mixed waste from the United States was intercepted at Subic Bay International Terminal Corp last October 21, 2020, © Bureau of Customs

This latest waste importation incident involving containers loaded with mixed waste (including old cardboard, plastic packaging, and used face masks) which was missed declared as old corrugated cartons, shows how richer countries, like the US, continue to prey on the Philippines’ loose regulations on waste importation.

Data from The Last Beach Cleanup shows that while the volume of plastic waste imports from the US has decreased since 2019, the Philippines still imported over a million kilograms of plastic waste from the US from January to August 2020 alone [1]. However, this data does not include unreported or misreported waste imports which continue to hound the country.

“Waste trade continues to happen because it is permitted,” Greenpeace Philippines Campaigner Marian Ledesma said. “The fact that we continue to be a dumping ground of countries like the US shows that the government has not been doing enough to stop waste imports: the sad reality is that we don’t have strong policies in place to prevent it.”

Greenpeace and EcoWaste have been calling on the Duterte administration to ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment [2], which will align Philippine policies with global efforts to curb waste trade, as well as certify as urgent the pending bills calling for a comprehensive ban on waste importation. So far, there has not been significant movement on the two much-needed policy actions.

A shipment of mixed waste from the United States was intercepted at Subic Bay International Terminal Corp last October 21, 2020, © Bureau of Customs

“To put an end to foreign waste dumping, the government must see to it that these twin legal measures are acted upon without further delay. The ratification of the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and a total ban on waste importation will send a strong message that the Philippines is not a dumping ground and that rich countries must take full responsibility for managing their waste instead of exporting them to other countries,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

According to the two groups, there is now a greater imperative to ensure the two policy measures are enacted. The current COVID crisis has caused a tremendous increase in waste generation globally, which may translate to a rise in the volume of illegal waste imported to countries like the Philippines. In Southeast Asia, the Philippines may continue to be a likely destination; its neighbors have announced impending, or are already implementing, strong waste import regulations or bans [3].

Ledesma said that by continuing to accept garbage from other countries, the government is opening up our nation to exploitation, which aggravates the country’s health and environmental problems. “This is a great injustice to Filipino communities. Illegal shipments have resulted in added waste management costs shouldered by Filipinos, community exposure to hazardous waste, and environmental contamination. These injustices are bound to occur again and again until the Philippines bans waste imports completely.”

A March 2020 report [4], co-published by Greenpeace and Ecowaste, details the policy loopholes that turn the Philippines into a dumping ground for developed countries. Aside from ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment, the country must also streamline the definition of “waste” in the Philippine laws, as well as implement stringent monitoring systems to ensure the proper handling of imported waste, which are often exploited by origin countries and regions.

Notes to editors:

[1] The Last Beach Cleanup October 2020 Plastics Exports & Facts Briefing https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dRpL3kMN4gRIdHIMRkhfkKLKIQ5d9AKi/view

[2] The Philippines has yet to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits the export of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries.

[3] Indonesia and Malaysia have both ratified the Basel Convention Ban Amendment. Thailand has announced its goal to end imports of waste by 2021, while Vietnam plans to ban plastic scrap imports by 2025. https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/trash-trade-wars-southeast-asias-problem-worlds-waste

[4] “Waste trade and the Philippines: How local and global policy instruments can stop the tide of foreign waste dumping in the country”


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] Environmental Health and Justice Groups Laud Removal of 7,408 Metric Tons of South Korean Garbage from Misamis Oriental -EcoWaste Coalition

Environmental Health and Justice Groups Laud Removal of 7,408 Metric Tons of South Korean Garbage from Misamis Oriental
(Protecting the Philippines from illegal waste traffic knows no pandemic, assert groups)

“Goodbye garbage from South Korea.”

The EcoWaste Coalition and other environmental health and justice groups expressed jubilation with the final re-shipment of the remaining containers of illegal trash imports from South Korea amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As confirmed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC-Region 10) with the EcoWaste Coalition last Friday, the re-exportation of the remaining 43 containers of illegal waste shipments from South Korea (equivalent to 1,036 metric tons) took place on September 15. The wastes were shipped back to Pyeongtaek City from the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT Port) in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental onboard container ship BH MAHIA.

The much-awaited repatriation of the remaining wastes raised to 364 the total number of garbage-filled containers returned to South Korea in seven batches starting in January 2019 amounting to a whopping 7,408.46 metric tons.

“We congratulate the Filipino people and government, particularly BOC-10, for successfully insisting on the responsibility of the exporter or the State of export, in accordance with the Basel Convention, to take back hazardous wastes or other wastes deemed to be illegal traffic. The completion of the re-exportation procedures shows that action against waste trafficking knows no pandemic,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“As we say goodbye and good riddance to these smuggled wastes, we say ‘bravo’ to the resolute fight waged by our customs and other government officials, together with the civil society, to overcome all the hurdles so as to secure our people’s dignity and well-being,” she said.

The EcoWaste Coalition also thanked the government of President Moon Jae-in for honoring its promise to have the illegally exported wastes repatriated as it urged South Korea to take decisive action to prevent the transfer of its waste to the Philippines, including ratifying the Basel Convention Ban Amendment, which forbids the export of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries.

Davao City-based Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) likewise welcomed the departure of the stranded South Korean waste in Mindanao stressing that such success has underlined the important role of local government units (LGUs) in preventing the dumping of waste from overseas.

“The persistence of the Tagoloan municipal government and the Misamis Oriental provincial government contributed a great deal to the concerted action by the public and private sectors to send back the illegal waste imports and to disallow their disposal locally. It underscores the important role of LGUs in thwarting waste dumping schemes,” said Chinkie Peliño-Golle, Executive Director, IDIS.

For his part, Dr. Joe DiGangi, Senior Science and Technical Adviser of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) noted that “the return of illegally exported South Korean waste demonstrates that regulatory enforcement can and must continue during the pandemic. Now the challenge for both the Philippines and South Korea is to ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment so that this sad history is not repeated.” The EcoWaste Coalition and IDIS are participating organizations of IPEN, a global movement for a toxic-free future.

“Countries should protect themselves from the possibility of adding to their COVID-19 healthcare and plastic waste crisis by doing two things. In the short term, countries should move quickly to ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment. In the mid-term, countries should enact a ban on the importation of all wastes,” DiGangi pointed out.

Environmental health and justice groups have strongly argued that ratifying the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and imposing a national ban on all waste imports, including electronic, plastic and other hazardous and toxic wastes, are essential to prevent the recurrence of waste dumping and trafficking incidents.

To recall, Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation imported the illegal waste shipments falsely declared as “plastic synthetic flakes” from South Korea, which arrived at the ports in Villanueva and Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental in July and October 2018.

Among the waste materials found in the containerized and bulk shipments were unsorted plastic materials, used dextrose tubes, soiled diapers, discarded electronics, and household garbage in violation of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal and national laws.

Assessed by the authorities as “misdeclared, heterogeneous and injurious to public health,” BOC-10 in 2018 then issued warrants of seizure and detention against the said illegal waste imports from South Korea.

BOC-10 further issued a re-exportation order citing violations of DENR Administrative Order 2013-22, which states that “no importation of heterogenous and unsorted plastic materials shall be allowed,” and Republic Act 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

In August 2019, the EcoWaste Coalition wrote to President Moon Jae-in requesting his government “to immediately act on this pressing issue and not allow the controversy to drag on like what happened to the infamous garbage from Canada that finally left the Philippines after six long years.”

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

[People] Saving the Planet and Ourselves by Fr. Shay Cullen

Cologne, Germany – It’s hard  to imagine, 600 sq. miles of woodlands burned to cinders, that’s  about the size of Ireland or Northern Luzon, in the Philippines. It happened in Arizona, USA a few weeks ago. It’s the second worst fire in living memory. Gigantic cyclones and tornados have swept through the southern states and left entire towns devastated and hundreds dead. Massive floods in Australia, China and elsewhere have destroyed the livelihood of millions. Gigantic hurricanes have battered the Caribbean in recent months and above all, the Arctic ice caps and the glaciers of Greenland are melting like ice cream on a hot summer day.

Nothing like this has happened for millions of years and when it did, the earth was uninhabitable, even animals could hardly survive and thousands of species became extinct. It’s happening again all because of us humans, the species with the big intelligent brains who should know better. We do know better but action does not follow knowledge. Many politicians and corporate bosses especially in the developed economies refuse to face and admit the truth of global warming and dangerous climate change simply because of corporate greed, the love of comfort and money, and to retain political power and economic growth.

The near absence of political will and the blindness of denial are allowing the planet’s temperature to creep upward to the maximum allowable temperature increase of 2 degrees before disaster strikes. Even this, the experts say, is already a calamity. An increase of .75 degrees is causing the death of the coral reefs – the life giving food of thousands of species of fish upon which millions of families depend for a daily meal.

The wanton destruction of the Philippine black corals of Mindanao is shocking and is the result of corporate and local government corruption. Good the traders were caught but too late for a huge area of corals. They take a long time to recover. Besides, the oceans are absorbing all the CO2 they can and they are becoming more acidic. Global fish stocks are threatened as a result.

There will be more massive crop failures, drought, floods, rising sea levels, greater forest destruction and massive population migrations. The prices of food commodities are increasing at an alarming rate and as production drops, famine could once again kill millions in some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It sounds all gloom and doom, it is, and we have to take serious action to stop it. The deadline is 2016 before a tipping point of global temperature is reached that could make the warming irreversible.

Besides, the earth is already warmer and vast tracts of marsh lands in Siberia and near the Arctic Circle are melting releasing billions of tons of methane into the atmosphere adding to the blanket of gas that is insulating the planet and preventing the heat from escaping while the sun beats down cooking us like hams in an oven. Winters will be harsher, colder and more prolonged as happened this year again in the Northern hemisphere.

Here in Bonn, Germany, the experts and political negotiators at the Bonn Conference on Climate are trying to work out an international agreement for all counties to cut back on the rising level of emission of CO2 that is causing global warming. Before the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide levels were around 280 parts per million (p.p.m.), now the level is close to 400 p.p.m. An hour away from here in Bonn, corporate lobbyists are also trying to block progress in the interests of the oil and coal industry and others like auto-makers who benefit from burning fossil fuels.

If we humans continue destructive behaviors, like destroying forests and burning fossil fuels in coal plants to make electricity and populating the world with billions of methane-making cattle, we are going to make big trouble for ourselves and the rest of human kind. The forests are threatened. In Western North America, the warmer climate has allowed a wood-eating beetle to thrive and destroy up to 70 percent of the trees.

Ordinary humans can march, demonstrate and do much lobbying by letter-writing to push politicians and corporate tycoons to stop building more coal plants and turn to non-destructive and renewable ways of making electricity such as geothermal, solar and wind power.  We must persuade politicians and tycoons to stop blocking progress on limiting CO2 emissions by an international agreement.

We too can change our lifestyles by protecting our local environment, stop logging, planting trees, recycling, and establishing  organic food gardens to feed ourselves and eat less meat. We have to be good guardians of the planet and save it for the next generation. END

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times,
in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)
http://www.preda.org/main/archives/2011/r11061501.html

[Event] Forum on the Dangers of E-Waste, June 9 – www.ecowastecoalition.org

Friends,

Greetings!

Electronic waste or E-waste is a looming global crisis faced by many countries. In the Philippines, majority of Filipinos use various electronic equipments such as computers, televisions, MP3 players, etc., and since most of these products were designed to become obsolete in a short period of time, huge amount of these waste are being dumped or burned, releasing many toxic chemicals into the environment. The problem is worsened by the continuous influx of massive quantities of re-used or second hand electronic goods from developed countries, where use and obsolescence is far more frequent. For instance, 55% of surplus TVs and 76% of surplus refrigerators in the Philippines are imported from Japan.

In line with the growing concern over E-Waste, the EcoWaste Coalition (EWC) and Ban Toxics!, invite you to a forum on “The Dangers of Electronic Waste or E-waste” on June 9, 2011, Thursday, 8:30am-12nn at the PHALTRA Building, 139 Matahimik Street, UP Village, Quezon City.

The forum will elaborate on the dangers of E-waste and also showcase the new 20-minutes documentary film on the impacts of E-waste that was co-produced by the EWC and Ban Toxics!, and supported by the Foundation for the Philippine Environment.

RSVP. Please confirm your participation at <info@ecowastecoalition.org>

Thanks,

REI PANALIGAN
National Coordinator


Rei Panaligan
EcoWaste Coalition
Phone/Fax: +632-441-1846
Mobile: +63920-9062348
Unit 329, Eagle Court Condominium,
Matalino St, Quezon City
Email: rei@ecowastecoalition.org
http://www.ecowastecoalition.org

[In the news] Foot patrol mulled to curb illegal mining in Tampakan | Sun.Star

Foot patrol mulled to curb illegal mining in Tampakan | Sun.Star.

By Bong S. Sarmiento
Thursday, June 2, 2011

KORONADAL CITY — The local government unit in Tampakan, South Cotabato wanted regular foot patrols in a landslide prone illegal mining site where three miners were buried alive in April.

In a recent interview here, Tampakan Mayor Leonardo V. Escobillo said the patrolling of a composite police and military team would “deter small-scale illegal miners from returning” to Barangay Pulabato.

“We don’t have enough local police forces, so instead of setting up a detachment there, I proposed a regular foot patrolling in the area,” he said.

The mayor noted that with the measure, they hope to prevent another deadly landslide incident, which was blamed on the illegal sluice mining, locally called banlas.

South Cotabato Governor Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr. earlier said that an estimated two hectares of the mountains have reportedly been destroyed by guerilla banlas operations within the Tampakan project.

Banlas or sluice mining method employs the pouring of large amounts of water on a mountain’s surface to extract the rocks containing the gold ore.

Banlas mining was first uncovered in T’boli town, another gold rush site in South Cotabato, and has invaded Tampakan town a few years ago despite the crackdown ordered by the Provincial Government.

Escobillo said that checkpoints have been set-up in the roads leading to the mountains also in line with the efforts to curb illegal mining activities in the town, host of the massive Tampakan copper-gold project of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc.

Critics had earlier criticized Sagittarius Mines for failing to keep illegal mining activities away from its tenement.

Sagittarius Mines is controlled by Xstrata Copper, the world’s fourth largest copper producer, with Australian firm Indophil Resources NL as minority equity partner. Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp. owns a stake at Indophil.

The Tampakan copper-gold project represents the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in Southeast Asia. If developed, the mine could be the biggest in the Philippines and among the largest copper mines in the world.

Current estimates indicate it could yield an average of 375,000 tons of copper and 360,000 ounces of gold per year over a 17-year life of mine, the company said in a study.

With a required capital investment of US$5.9 billion, the Tampakan project would be the largest foreign direct investment in the Philippines should it go on commercial stream in 2016.

The Tampakan project, however, is presently hobbled by the environment code of South Cotabato that bans open pit mining, the method Sagittarius Mines said it will employ in extracting the minerals. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 03, 2011.

[Event] World Environment Day – Launching of Save our Sovereignty—Yamang Minerales Nagsisilbi sa Bayan Network (SOS-Yamang Bayan)

One hundred bikers together with environmental advocates in Congress and religious groups will do seven (Jericho) rounds along QC Memorial Circle for the environment, and launching of Save our Sovereignty—Yamang Minerales Nagsisilbi sa Bayan Network (SOS-Yamang Bayan)! On June 6.

Read more

[In the news]Only 1% of country’s coral reefs remains pristine — WWF | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features

Only 1% of country’s coral reefs remains pristine — WWF | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features.

Public-private partnership needed to eliminate rape of seas’

MANILA, Philippines – The public and private sector should work together to finally stop the rape and plunder of the country’s marine resources, said the World Wide Fund for Nature.

In a statement, WWF Philippines Vice Chairperson and Chief Executive Jose Ma. Lorenzo said the response to the problem should be “national and systemic. The response can be no less.”

WWF released the statement amid news that the destruction brought about by the recent smuggling try of some P35 million worth of illicit shipments from the coast of Cotabato covered 5 times the size of Metro Manila.

Initial estimates showed that poachers only destroyed twice the size of Metro Manila to be able to harvest 196 kilos of sea whips corals, 161 heads of preserved hawksbill and green turtles, 7,300 pieces of seashells and 21,169 pieces of black corals.

For WWF, the confiscated hauls, including a recent one from Cebu, “are merely symptomatic of what has been happening throughout the country – illegal, unregulated and unreported extraction of marine wealth.”

WWF said the country sits at the apex of the so-called Coral Triangle. Over 27,000 square kilometers of coral reef cover the Philippines seas. A single square kilometer can produce over 40 metric tons of suno, talakitok and other forms of seafood.

However, 50 years of nonstop destructive commercial and poorly managed artisanal fishing has left only 5% in excellent condition. Only 1% remains “pristine.”

Lorenzo said: “Government can be a catalyst. However, it is private sector involvement that keeps sustainable efforts in place for the long term, maintaining supply chains throbbing and productive. Ultimately, legal and sustainable incomes for local communities are going to be the straw that will break this camel’s back.”

Malacanang earlier called for a boycott of the black coral items.

Lorenzo asked: “How much of the government budget assigned to [agriculture] is for sustainable fisheries and new formulas for food security? And, how much of those budgets filter down to the local governments who manage the front lines?  Is the private sector being engaged to establish sustainable formulas?  Are there any incentives and rewards in place for workable solutions?”

[Statement] Pagtutol ng Task Force Sierra Madre sa Kanan hydropower project

Kaming mga kasapi ng Task Force Sierra Madre, isang samahan sa Northern Quezon (Real, Infanta at Heneral Nakar) na ang pangunahing adhikain at pananagutan ay ang pangalagaan at ipagtanggol ang Inang Kalikasan at ang kanyang mga likas na yaman ay mariing nagpapahayag ng pagtutol sa Kanan Hydropower Project ng Kanan Hydroelectric Power Corporation na sinang-ayunan ng lokal na pamahalaan ng Heneral Nakar noong Agosto, 2009.

Una sa lahat, naniniwala ang aming samahan na ang proyektong ito na magtatayo ng isang dam na may taas na 91.4 metro at haba na 206.7 metro ay di makakalikasan. Sisirain nito ang kagubatan at tubig kanlungan at maaapektuhan nito ang buong sistemang ekolohikal o ecosystem. Alam nating ang kasiraan sa taas na bahagi ng sistemang ekolohikal ay magsasanhi din ng kasiraan sa ibabang bahagi nito. Sa pagkasira ng nasa itaas kung saan ilalagay ang dam, mawawalan ng tahanan ang samu’t saring anyo ng buhay na doon ay naninirahan at sa gawing ibaba naman ay makakaranas ng kakulangan ng kakailanganing nutrisyon ang mga samu’t saring buhay namang dito ay naninirahan. Dagdag pa dito, ayon sa mga eksperto, ang mga power stations ang pinanggagalingan ng pinakamalaking porsyento ng greenhouse gases lalo na ng carbon dioxide na naiipon sa himpapawid at siyang pangunahing sanhi ng patuloy na pagtaas ng temperatura at di normal na pagbabagu-bago ng klima sa mundo na nagsasanhi naman ng pagkasira ng kalikasan at pagkasawi ng maraming buhay na masidhi nang nararanasan na sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng mundo.

Pangalawa, naninindigan ang aming samahan na ang proyektong ito ay hindi para sa tunay na kaunlaran. Ang tunay na kaunlaran ay kinakailangang sustenable, ibig sabihin hindi lamang nito isinasaalang-alang ang pagtugon sa pangangailangan sa kasalukuyan kundi pati ang kapakanan at kinabukasan ng susunod na mga henerasyon. Ang pagkasira ng kapaligiran at mga likas-yaman ay hindi kailanman magdudulot ng sustenableng kaunlaran dahil nakaugat ang ating buhay at ang buhay ng mga susunod na henerasyon sa isang balanseng ekolohiya, sa malinis na kapaligiran at maayos na mga likas yaman.

Karamihan sa aming mga kasapi ng Task Force Sierra Madre ay mga magulang, mga lolo at lola na nangangarap ng magandang bukas para sa aming mga anak at mga apo at para sa lahat ng kabataan. Bukod sa natatanaw naming pagkasira ng kapaligiran at mga likas na yaman, ang walang kasiguruhang katatagan ng itatayong dam na ito ay labis na bumabagabag din sa amin. Sa nangyaring trahedya sa bansang Hapon kamakailan lamang, isang bansang may mga teknolohiyang akala natin ay may sapat na kakayahan para maiwasan ang mga ganoong trahedya, kapanga-pangamba na maranasan muli dito sa aming lugar ang naranasan naming trahedya noong Nobyembre 29, 2004. Hindi kaila sa amin na ang dam na itatayo ay malapit sa Infanta-Marikina fault line. Bagamat hindi natin ninanais, paano kung magkaroon ng malakas na paglindol? Maaaring mas malagim pa sa nangyari noong Nobyembre 29, 2004 ang trahedyang mangyayari kung sa pagkakataong iyon ay naitayo na ang dam na ito. Hindi bale na kaming marahil ay ilang taon na lamang ang nalalabing buhay. Ngunit paano ang aming mga anak at apo at mga kabataang ating tinataguriang pag-asa ng bayan?!

Ikatlo, mariin din naming inihahayag na ang proyektong ito ay hindi ginagalang ang buhay, kultura at karapatan ng mga kapatid nating katutubo. Ang sustenableng kaunlaran ay isinasaalang-alang din ang likas na ugnayan ng ekolohiya at kultura o eco-cultural landscape. Samakatuwid, ang anumang proyekto sa lugar na kung saan may mga katutubong naninirahan, napakahalaga na isinasaalang-alang nito ang kanilang buhay, kultura at karapatan. Sinasakop ng lupang pagtatayuan ng dam ang mga lupaing ninuno. Para sa mga kapatid nating katutubo, ang lupa ay buhay. Ang kanilang kultura at buhay ay nakaugat sa lupa. Kapag sinira natin ito, para na rin nating pinatay ang kanilang kultura at kinitlan sila ng buhay. Kung kaya’t kinakailangan ang kanilang malayang pagsang-ayon o free and prior informed consent sa anumang proyektong sasakupin ang kanilang lupaing ninuno. Ito ay napapaloob sa batas IPRA o Indigenous People’s Rights Act. Ayon sa mga katutubong kasapi ng Task Force Sierra Madre, walang nangyaring malayang pagsang-ayon o free and prior informed consent hinggil sa proyektong ito.

Sa pangkalahatan, binibigyang diin ng aming samahan na ang Kanan Hydropower Project na aming mariing tinututulan ay hindi makaBUHAY! Nilalagay nito sa panganib ang buhay ng mga katutubo at ng lahat ng mamamayan at samu’t saring buhay na naninirahan sa mga bayan ng Real, Infanta at Heneral Nakar at maging ng mga karatig na bayan.

Ang lahat ay magkakaugnay. Ang anumang gagawin natin sa isang bahagi ng Kalikasan ay makakaapekto sa pangkabuuan. Ang pagsira sa isang bahagi ay pagkasira ng kabuuan. Ang pangangalaga at pagpapanatili ng kagandahan at buhay sa isang bahagi ay pangangalaga at pagpapanatili ng kagandahan at buhay ng kabuuan…

TUTULAN ANG KANAN HYDROPOWER PROJECT!

PANGALAGAAN AT IPAGTANGGOL ANG BUHAY NG
INANG KALIKASAN AT NG SAMU’T SARING BUHAY!

ITAGUYOD ANG TUNAY AT SUSTENABLENG KAUNLARAN AT BIGYANG SEGURIDAD ANG BUHAY AT KINABUKASAN NG MGA SUSUNOD NA HENERASYON!

IGALANG ANG BUHAY, KULTURA AT KARAPATAN NG MGA KAPATID NATING KATUTUBO!

IGALANG, PANGALAGAAN AT KALINGAIN ANG BUHAY NA HANDOG NG DIYOS SA SANGKATAUHAN AT SA BUONG SANGKALIKASAN!!!