04 September 2015

Catholic Relief Services to Enhance Ecological Waste Management in 15 Barangays

Photo Courtesy of CRS:

The Catholic Relief Services, the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, has embarked on a new initiative that seeks to cut the volume of trash that ends up in canals and rivers and aggravates the threat of floods.

The CRS Project SUCCESS (Strengthening Urban Communities Capacity to Endure Severe Shocks) aims to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities in project sites for them to better withstand the impacts of frequent flooding and other disasters.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development – Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID – OFDA), CRS has partnered with the EcoWaste Coalition for a comprehensive study on solid waste management (SWM) in 15 target barangays located in Malabon, Manila, Navotas, Angono, Rizal and Bulacan.

“With this endeavor, we hope to reduce the quantity of waste dumped on streets and waterways and promote sustainable SWM livelihoods in the target communities,” said Joseph Curry, CRS Country Representative.

Curry also said that the effort will not only improve current waste management practices, but also boost the asset base and financial resources of households which they can draw upon in times of crisis.

As the SWM contractor, the EcoWaste Coalition shall, among other things, prepare a comprehensive SWM situation of the target barangays, with the aim of assessing and improving the capacities of the benefactor communities toward an effective implementation of ecological solid waste management.

In collaboration with stakeholders, the group will facilitate the formulation of 15 barangay SWM action plans, as well as develop a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) plan in four chosen project sites.

“Ecological waste management will help build community resilience against perennial flood and sanitation woes as well as augment household income. We are also thrilled to be part of this CRS initiative that will surely energize the enforcement of Republic Act 9003 at the target barangays,”
stated Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, calls for the “adoption of the best environmental practice in ecological waste management excluding incineration,” and provides for the establishment of “MRF in every barangay or cluster of barangays.”


03 September 2015

Navotas Shuts the Door on Canada Garbage

The Navotas City Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution that will protect itself from becoming a dumping ground for trash coming from other countries.

Through a resolution filed by District 2 Councilor Ma. Lourdes del Rosario-Tumangan, the City Council conveyed its “strong opposition” to the disposal of imported garbage in the Navotas Sanitary Landfill or in any part of the city.

The councilors cited City Ordinance No. 2012-06 (the Environment Code of the City of Navotas) and Municipal Ordinance No. 2005-06 (the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Ordinance of the Municipality of Navotas) in opposing foreign waste disposal in the city.

“We congratulate Navotas City for its action to defend its right to a healthy environment in line with existing ordinances,” said Navotas resident Romy Hidalgo, NGO Representative to the National Solid Waste Management Commission.

Navotas City is the latest local government unit to forbid the disposal of the botched Canadian mixed trash imports disguised as plastic scraps for recycling after being rejected by other local government units (LGUs).

Tarlac and Bulacan provincial authorities had earlier blocked the disposal of the illegal trash imports from Canada in local landfills.  Quezon City last Tuesday held a public hearing to discuss a resolution that will foil any attempt to dump the smuggled trash in Payatas landfill.

“The message is clear as day that no LGU will accept the Canadian garbage.  It has nowhere to go but Canada,” he pointed out

For her part, Aileen Lucero, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, insisted that the national government should not burden LGUs with garbage not of its making.

“Responsible agencies should expedite the re-export of the illegal trash imports back to Canada to put this controversy to rest,” she said.

Between June to September 2013, 55 container vans of mixed garbage from Canada, consigned to Chronic Plastics, entered the port of Manila and subsequently intercepted by customs authorities.  After sitting in the port for months, 26 of these garbage-filled containers were illegally dumped in a private landfill in Capas, Tarlac  between June 26 to July 8, 2015 until exposed and stopped by the provincial board.

In May this year, customs authorities revealed the discovery of 48 more container vans of mixed garbage from Canada, consigned to Live Green Enterprises, bringing the total number of illegal Canadian trash shipments to 103 shipping containers.

02 September 2015

Toxics Watchdog Applauds QC Ordinance Banning Cyanide-Containing Silver Jewelry Cleaners

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, commended the Quezon City Council for its decisive action banning deadly silver jewelry cleaners containing cyanide and other toxic substances.

"We commend the City Council for enacting a life-saving ordinance that is consistent with the national goal of averting poisoning incidents, injuries and fatalities" said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition's Project Protect.

"Quezon City is the first local government unit (LGU) to pass such ordinance after Health Secretary Janette Garin urged LGUs last April 13 to criminalize the sale and dispensing of cyanide-containing silver cleaning solutions," he pointed out.

"The ordinance will help in preventing cyanide poisoning from the accidental and deliberate intake of this deadly potion that has killed so many people, including young children who mistook it for water and adults who drank it on purpose," he added.

The EcoWaste Coalition, which has been campaigning against this toxicant since 2010, noted the swift and welll-timed passage of the ordinance ahead of the National Suicide Prevention Week on September 9 to 13, and the World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.

On September 1, the 19th City Council led by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte unanimously approved on third and final reading Quezon City Ordinance CC19-311 introduced by District 1 Councilor Dorothy Delarmente.  Eighteen other councilors co-introduced the said measure.

The ordinance strictly prohibits the selling of silver jewelry cleaners containing cyanide and other toxic substances in all silver jewelry shops, street and sidewalk vendors and other retailers operating within territorial jurisdiction of Quezon City.

Violators, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than P5,000 and/or imprisoned for not less than 1 month but not more than 3 months at the  discretion of the Court.  If the violator is a QC-registered business entity, it’s business permit shall automatically be cancelled.

At the prior public hearings, the EcoWaste Coalition drew attention to the human tragedy due to unlawful sale of the toxic mixture, including the death in January 2014 of a young mother from Barangay Sto. Domingo who drank a bottle of silver jewelry cleaner following a domestic quarrel.

The ordinance localizes a joint 2010 directive by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) "declar(ing) silver jewelry cleaning solution containing cyanide and other toxic substances as threat to health and safety and reiterate(ing) the strict prohibition on their sale in the market."

According to the DOH, "cyanide found in most silver jewelry cleaning solutions is classified as a poisonous substance liable to cause death or serious injury to human health."

Acute poisoning occurs through ingestion, inhalation or dermal absorption as cyanide is rapidly absorbed by the body, blocking the utilization of oxygen in all organs.

Despite the explicit ban, silver jewelry cleaners remain a top toxicant ranking sixth among top 10 agents for admitted poisoning cases at the Philippine General Hospital in 2014 for both children and adults.




01 September 2015

Quezon City Council Urged to Declare Canadian Garbage "Basura Non Grata" in Payatas

A Quezon City-based environmental watchdog group told councilors at a public hearing this morning to declare the smuggled rubbish from Canada as “basura non grata” in Payatas landfill.

The EcoWaste Coalition coined the term “basura non grata” to censure the illegally shipped garbage from Canada whose entry into the country is unwelcomed and in blatant violation of environmental and tariff and customs laws.

It will be recalled that 55 container vans of mixed garbage falsely declared as “plastic scraps” from Canada arrived at the Manila port from June to September 2013.   Forty-eight more containers of such illegal garbage shipments, also from Canada, entered the country in December 2013 to January 2014.

The 55 containers were consigned to Chronic Plastics located in Valenzuela City and the other 48 containers to Live Green Enterprises based in San Fernando City.

“We fully support Resolution No. 19CC-1131 and call upon the members of the City Council to rally behind this measure to preempt any foreign waste dumping in Payatas,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

District 1 Councilor Dorothy Delarmente introduced  Resolution No. 19CC-1131, which, if adopted, would  “express strong disapproval against any plan to dispose foreign waste at the Payatas Sanitary Landfill.”

“To hammer home the message that our country is not a global dumpsite, the Council should even declare the imported trash from Canada as ‘basura non grata’ that should be shipped back without further delay,” Lucero added.

According to the resolution, “the Quezon City Government stands firm on its commitment to protect the human  health and the environment in line with the state policy affirming the people’s right to health and to a balanced and healthful ecology as provided for in the Constitution.”

“The Quezon City Council finds the dumping of foreign waste into our country as  totally inexcusable and unacceptable and demands that such unethical and unlawful act be brought to a halt,” it stated.

Some 20 environmental, labor and women’s groups based in Quezon City had earlier expressed support to the said resolution.

These groups include Ang NARS, Arugaan, Associated Labor Unions-TUCP, Bangon Kalikasan Movement, Ban Toxics, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino-NCR, Citizens' Organizations Concerned with Advocating Philippine Environmental Sustainability, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Green Convergence, Greenpeace,  Health Care Without Harm, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Mother Earth Foundation, Oceana Philippines, Piglas Kababaihan, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, WomanHealth Philippines and Zero Waste Philippines.

The illegal garbage shipments were in violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order 1994-28 on the Importation of Recyclable Materials Containing Hazardous Substances, Republic Act 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act) and Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act).

The illegal shipments also contravened the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, which also includes “wastes collected from households.”


30 August 2015

Environmentalists Support “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation”

Source: http://topwalls.net/small-flowers-in-the-field/

Environmentalists urged Filipinos from all walks of life to stand for Mother Earth amid the unfolding climate and environmental crisis by partaking in the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” next Tuesday.

Pope Francis recently declared the annual observance of the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” on September 1, corresponding to the “Day for the Protection of the Environment” of the Orthodox Church.

According to the “green pope,” the yearly celebration “will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which He has entrusted to our care, and to implore His help for the protection of creation as well as His pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

“We are one with the Catholic Church in promoting awareness and action for environmental sustainability, which is threatened by irresponsible human behaviors, including the depletion of natural resources, inane materialism, throw-away culture and polluting practices,” said Sonia Mendoza, President of the EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental network espousing clean production and zero waste.

“We congratulate the Church for this latest ‘green’ initiative following the historic release of Laudato Si, which we hope will evolve into an ecumenical platform for global, national and local efforts leading to ‘ecological conversion’ within the church and society,” she added.

Environmental and spiritual leaders from other faith groups also welcomed the reiteration of the papal plea for “ecological conversion” during the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.”

Rene Pineda, an evangelical Christian, said: “Our common faith in the Creator of heaven and earth interconnects all forms of lives, spirits and things.  As we continue to sin, disrespect and desecrate all that is created, we displease God.  But as our God loves us eternally, please pray for the forgiveness of our sins and renewal of vow to respect, protect and conserve all that He has created.”  Pineda is President of the Partnership for Clean Air, a multi-sector network promoting better air quality management in the country.

Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) priest Fr. Jun Silvestre, stated: “The climate crisis affects us all, especially the poor.  We need to act together to push for ecological solutions, starting with simple things that we can do to lessen our impact on the environment.”  Silvestre is from the IFI Parish of La Purisima Concepcion in Malabon City.

The EcoWaste Coalition likewise commended the effort of the Redemptorists, together with the devotees, to turn the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran into a “green” zone.

Aside from declaring the church compound as a non-smoking area, Baclaran Church has put up large receptacles for the recycling of plastic bottles and other recyclable discards and has embarked on vegetable gardening as well.

Baclaran Church is also planning to tap solar power as clean, safe and renewable source of energy.