22 July 2017

Toxics Watchdog Urges QC Government to Enforce Ordinance Banning Illegal Sale of Poisonous Oxalic Acid


The EcoWaste Coalition, a watch group on toxic chemicals and wastes, asked the local government, health and police authorities of Quezon City to clamp down on the illegal sale of oxalic acid, a poisonous bleaching and cleaning compound.

The group called for immediate law enforcement action following the tragic death of a graduating student from the University of the Philippines due to the ingestion of oxalic acid.

Fifth year B.S. Physics student Daniel Paningbatan, 21 years old succumbed last July 19 after ingesting the poisonous substance at the family residence in Barangay Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

“We are deeply saddened by this incident and we commiserate with Daniel's loving parents Dante and Elvira and others he left behind,"said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, Project Protect, EcoWaste Coalition, who visited the victim's wake yesterday.

“This incident should prompt the Quezon City Government to take decisive steps to ensure full compliance to Ordinance 2448,” he said.

The said ordinance, enacted on September 21, 2015, “prohibits the selling of oxalic acid by sari-sari stores, market vendors, sidewalk vendors, and other establishments located within the territorial jurisdiction of Quezon City except in authorized retail outlets or business establishments.”

The EcoWaste Coalition pushed for the adoption of the ordinance in the aftermath of deadly oxalic acid poisoning cases in 2015 that killed milk tea shop owner William Abrigo and customer Suzaine Dagohoy,, and couple Jose Maria and Juliet Escano.

After learning about Paningbatan's death, the EcoWaste Coalition’s AlerToxic Patrol went to the Commonwealth Market to do a quick investigation to determine if oxalic acid is sold illegally.  

As witnessed by the group, sidewalk vendors sell repacked oxalic acid in small clear plastic packets with zero product information or warning.   The group was able to buy 30 small packets of oxalic acid for just P10.

Inside the Commonwealth Market, a stall vendor sells repacked oxalic acid for P20 for ¼ kilo.
“As the sale of oxalic acid by sidewalk and market vendors is prohibited by the ordinance, we ask the authorities to hold those behind the illegal sale of this poisonous substance liable,” Dizon said.

Introduced by Councilor Dorothy Delarmente and co-introduced by 34 councilors, the ordinance provides for a fine of P5,000, or imprisonment of not less than one month but not exceeding three months, or both, to violators.

In addition, if the violator is a business entity registered with the Quezon City Government, the business permit of the said entity shall be automatically cancelled.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), oxalic acid is colorless crystals or white powder that can be absorbed into the body by inhalation of its aerosol and by ingestion.

The CDA warned that “the substance is corrosive to the eyes, the skin and the respiratory tract and exposure above the occupational exposure limits may result in death.”

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Reference:
http://qcpl-lawresearch-center.blogspot.com/2016/01/ordinance-nosp-2448-s-2015-regulating. html
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsn eng/neng0529.html
http://www.abante-tonite.com/s tudent-lumaklak-ng-asido.htm

21 July 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Urges the Government to Tighten Rules on Plastic Trash Imports

The looming ban on the importation of plastic trash in China provides a compelling reason for the Philippines to take strong measures that will prevent the banned imports from being diverted into our ports.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watch group, urged concerned officials from the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Trade and Industry and Finance and the Bureau of Customs to take their cue from China and consider banning the entry of scrap plastics  to the Philippines. 

“We have a serious plastic waste problem that is spilling to the seas and oceans.  We need not exacerbate the situation any further by importing scrap plastics in the guise of recycling,” said Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“The illegally imported mixed garbage from Canada misrepresented as recyclable scrap plastics, which are still in our territory, offers a dire lesson in the perilous global waste trade,” she said.

A government-sponsored waste characterization study showed that 63.94% of the unlawful Canadian trash imports were residuals not suitable for recycling and should be properly disposed of.  

“Barring the importation of plastic garbage should form part of the government’s efforts to improve existing regulations to avoid a repeat of the Canadian garbage saga,” she said.

“Imposing an import ban on scrap plastics may even prompt our industries to seek ways to retrieve locally-generated plastic discards,” she added, “which can help in reducing the amount of plastics leaking to water bodies,” she added.

“Domestic industries requiring scrap plastics as production inputs should source their supplies locally,” she suggested.

Additionally, the group stressed the need for industries to embrace waste and pollution prevention strategies, including product redesign for the environment, toxics use reduction and zero waste resource management, to cut, if not eliminate, the generation of wastes and pollutants.

Last July 18, the Government of China notified the World Trade Organization that it will prohibit the importation of scrap plastics by the end of December this year “to protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health.” 

According to the notification sent by the Ministry of Environmental Protection to the WTO, “large amounts of dirty wastes or even hazardous wastes are mixed in the solid waste that can be used as raw materials… pollut(ing) the environment seriously.”

“To protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health, we urgently adjust the imported solid waste list, and forbid the import of solid wastes that are highly polluted,” the notification said.

The import ban will apply to waste, parings and scrap of ethylene (HS Code: 3915100000), styrene (HS Code: 3915200000), vinyl chloride (HS Code: 3915300000), propylene (HS Code: 3915901000), and other plastics (HS Code: 3915909000).

Data released by International Scrap Recycling Industries in April 2017 showed that China imported over 7.3 million metric tons of scrap plastics in 2015, valued at $3.7 billion.
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Reference:

http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20170718/NEWS/170719892/ china-to-wto-scrap-plastic-imp orts-banned-by-year-end
http://www.recyclingtoday.com/ article/china-mixed-paper-plas tic-scrap-recycling-ban-2017/

12 July 2017

Drive for “Healthy Baon for Healthy Kids” Gains Ground in QC School (“Healthy Baon” contributes to waste reduction too, says group)





To commemorate this year’s Nutrition Month, an environmental watch group has teamed up with a public school to campaign for nutritious and waste-free snacks and lunches.

Through a joint activity held today, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Sto. Cristo Elementary School (Quezon City) promoted healthy meals that can help students go, grow and glow without denting the family budget.

With a banner that says "Nutritious Food, Healthy Kids, Zero Waste School" as backdrop, teachers and environmentalists drew attention to nourishing food and beverage choices in line with a recently-issued policy by the Department of Education (DepEd).

“Healthy diets at home and school will help our nation in curbing the number of overweight and obese among kids and adults, as well as preventing non-communicable diseases.  It will also help in reducing the volume of garbage knowing that unhealthy foods are mostly packaged in plastic and other single-use materials, which are hardly recycled or reused,” stated Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Our activity, we hope, will encourage schools to regulate the sale of foods and drinks in school canteens, while encouraging parents and their kids to go for healthy and waste-free baon that are low in fat, sugar or salt,” he added.

The group said that five percent of Filipino children (aged five to 10) and 31 percent of adults (aged 20 and above) are overweight and obese, while the national waste generation is estimated at 40,087 tons per day as per data from the Food Nutrition and Research Institute and the National Solid Waste Management Commission.

To hammer home their advocacy for healthy diets, SCES teachers prepared brown rice-based baon ideas such as pancakes, spring rolls, champorado bar, croquetas, spaghetti, and vegetable-rich viands such as malunggay-veggie mix, malunggay veggie patties, pinakbet, and dilis and kangkong embutido.   

Kitchen discards such as vegetable and fruit peelings were then brought to the school’s composting pit.

Also, the event saw students reciting the “10 Kumainments,” the popular version of the revised Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos (NGF).

According to the National Nutrition Council, “a healthy diet is able to satisfy one’s energy and nutrient needs for proper body functions, growth and development, daily activities and maintenance of health, keeping well within one’s caloric needs.”

On the other hand, “an unhealthy diet is composed of foods that are energy-dense yet nutrient poor and are high in saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates or sodium,” stated the NCC, the lead organizer for the Nutrition Month.  

DepEd Department Order No. 13, Series of 2017 provides for the “Policy and Guidelines on Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in Schools and in DepEd Offices” by making available healthy, nutritious and affordable menu choices, and for setting food standards.

It identifies healthier food and beverage choices and introduces a system of categorizing locally available foods and drinks in green, yellow and red categories.

Items included in the green category should always be available in school canteens; those in the yellow category should be served carefully; and those in the red cateogry are not recommended in canteen menu.

Foods and drinks in the green category include unsweetened milk, safe and clean water, fresh buko water, rice, corn, whole wheat bread, cassava, boiled sweet potato, boiled saba, boiled peanuts, suman, puto, fishes, shellfish, small shrimps, lean meats, chicken without skin, nuts, eggs and fresh fruits in season.

Foods and drinks in the yellow category include 100% fresh fruit juices, fried rice, bread, biscuits, banana cue, camote cue, turon, maruya, pancakes, waffles, champorado, pancit, arroz caldo, sandwiches, processed foods (subject to evaluation of saturated or trans fat and sodium content), stir-fried vegetables       

Foods and drinks in the red category include soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, sports waters, sports drinks, flavored mineral water, energy drinks, sweetened waters, powdered juice drinks, any products containing caffeine, any processed fruit/vegetable juice with added sugar of more than 20 grams or 4 teaspoons per serving, any jelly, ice crushes and slushies, any ice cream, ice drops and ice candies, cakes and slices, donuts, sweet biscuits and pastries, chocolates, hard/chewy candies, chewing gums, marshmallows, lollipops, yema, French fries, bicho-bicho, instant noodles, all types of heavily salted snacks such as chips or chichiria, chicharon, chicken skin, bacon, deep-friend foods including fish balls and kikiams, canned fruits in heavy syrup, sweetened fruits, deep-fried vegetables.

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Reference:



03 July 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Urges Filipinos to Break the Plastic Bag Habit

As the International Plastic Bag Free Day is observed today, a waste and pollution watch group asked Filipinos from all walks of life to kick the plastic bag habit for a trash-free land and marine environment.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a member of the global “Break Free from Plastic” movement, directed its appeal for action against the omnipresent plastic bags to consumers, commercial establishments, schools, local governments and the national legislature.

“Plastic waste prevention and the genuine enforcement of best practices in ecological solid waste management sans incineration and open burning is the way to go to tackle the plastic scourge that has now become a global malady,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We can reduce the amount of plastic garbage dumped into the oceans by taking decisive measures at various levels from voluntary lifestyle option as responsible consumers to mandatory legislation banning single-use plastic bags,” he added.

Consumers should bring bayong and other reusable bags for their purchases to reduce the volume of plastics burned in dumpsites or thrown in waterways eventually ending up and polluting our rivers and seas, the group suggested.

Commercial establishments like shopping centers should initiate mall-wide programs to encourage retail shops, restaurants and other tenants to offer incentives for customers who will bring their own reusable containers and halt the practice of handing out free plastic or paper bags, according to the group. 

The group added that public and private schools should restrict the use of plastic bags, as well as other non-essential plastic products such as drinking straws, inside the school premises.

Local government units (LGUs) with existing plastic bag bans should strengthen the implementation of existing regulations, while those lagging behind should quickly adopt effective ordinances, the group pointed out.

“It’s high time for Congress to enact a comprehensive legislation that will ban single-use plastic bags to expand and support the initiatives of the local authorities to deal with the plastic mess,” Alejandre said.

All LGUs also need to fully enforce the waste prevention and reduction provisions of Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the EcoWaste Coalition emphasized.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resouces and the National Solid Waste Management Commission should take the lead in implementing policies and programs in support of UNEA Resolution 2/11, the group further said.

UNEA, or the United Nations Environmental Assembly, in 2016 adopted a resolution on marine plastic litter and microplastics “stressing that prevention and environmentally sound management of waste is key to long-term success in combating marine pollution” and “calling on member states to establish and implement necessary policies, regulatory frameworks and measures consistent with the waste hierarchy.”

Waste audits conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace and Mother Earth Foundation in Manila Bay indicated alarming quantities of plastic litter, particularly in the famed Manila Bay.

In July 2016, for instance, a waste audit conducted by EcoWaste Coalition’s partner groups at Freedom Island in ParaƱaque City collected 1,482 kilos of trash, 79 percent of which were assorted plastic materials,  consisting of junk food wrappers and sachets (20 percent), plastic bags (17 percent), composite packaging (12 percent), food packaging (9 percent), polystyrene containers (7 percent), diaper liners (7 percent), hard plastics (4 percent), drinking straw 1 (percent) and plastic twine (1 percent).

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Reference:
https://www.plasticbagfreeday. org/
https://www.informea.org/en/de cision/marine-plastic-litter- and-microplastics#decision- body-field

01 July 2017

Group Pushes for Phase-Out of Triclosan and Triclocarban in Personal Care and Cosmetic Products



After calling on consumers to skip soaps and washes containing triclosan and triclocarban, a watch group on harmful chemicals is now training its gun on manufacturers of personal care and cosmetic products (PCCPs) that are still using these antibacterial substances.

“We call upon the manufacturers of PCCPs to cease from using triclosan and triclocarban in product formulations after scientists reached a consensus that these substances are environmentally persistent endocrine disrupting chemicals that bioaccumulate in and are toxic to marine organisms,” said Rene Pineda,  Representative, EcoWaste Coalition.  

“We likewise exhort our policy makers not to miss the writing on the wall and take precautionary action now to safeguard the public health, especially the health of pregnant women, developing fetuses and breastfeeding babies.  It is our common responsibility to prevent further human and environmental exposures to triclosan and triclocarban,” he added.


The group had earlier urged consumers through a press briefing with visiting expert Dr. Ann Blake last May 30 to shun soap and wash products with triclosan and triclocarban ahead of the US-wide ban on such products beginning September 6, 2017.  

Triclosan and triclocarban are among the 19 antibacterials being banned by the US Food and Drug Administration “because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections.”

The EcoWaste Coalition cited the historic statement by over 200 scientists and medical professionals  published in the June 20 issue of the Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), a monthly peer-reviewed journal of research and news published with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services of US.

Dubbed as the “Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban,” the statement documents a consensus of more than 200 scientists and medical professionals on the hazards of and lack of demonstrated benefit from common uses of triclosan and triclocarban.  

The signatories called upon “the international community to limit the production and use of triclosan and triclocarban and to question the use of other antimicrobials.”

Based on extensive peer-reviewed research, the statement concludes that triclosan and triclocarban are environmentally persistent endocrine disruptors that bioaccumulate in and are toxic to aquatic and other organisms. 

According to the statement:

---“Triclosan and triclocarban are used as antimicrobials, a class of chemicals present in >2,000 products.   In personal care products like hand soap, there is no evidence that use of triclosan or triclocarban improves consumer or patient health or prevents disease.”

---“Triclosan and triclocarban used in consumer products end up in the environment and have been detected in a wide variety of matrices worldwide.”


---“Triclosan and triclocarban persist in the environment and are a source of toxic and carcinogenic compounds including dioxins, chloroform, and chlorinated anilines.”

---“Triclosan, triclocarban, and their transformation products and byproducts bioaccumulate in aquatic plants and animals, and triclosan partitions into human blood and breast milk.”


---“Triclosan and triclocarban have detrimental effects on aquatic organisms.”

---“Humans are exposed to triclosan and triclocarban through direct contact with personal care products  and from other sources including food, drinking water, and dust.” 

---“Triclosan and triclocarban are endocrine disruptors and are associated with reproductive and developmental impacts in animal and in vitro studies.”

---“Human epidemiology and animal studies suggest triclosan exposure can increase sensitivity to allergens.”

---“Overuse of triclosan may contribute to antibiotic/antimicrobial resistance and may modify the microbiome.”

---“A number of authorities, including the US FDA, have restricted the use of triclosan and triclocarban in certain types of soaps. These and other antimicrobial chemicals are generally not restricted from use in other products.”

The Florence Statement lists several recommendations to prevent harm from triclosan, triclocarban and other antimicrobial substances with similar properties and effects.  These include:

---“Avoid the use of triclosan, triclocarban, and other antimicrobial chemicals except where they provide an evidence-based health benefit (e.g., physician-prescribed toothpaste for treating gum disease) and there is adequate evidence demonstrating they are safe.”


---“Where antimicrobials are necessary, use safer alternatives that are not persistent and pose no risk to humans or ecosystems.”


---“Label all products containing triclosan, triclocarban, and other antimicrobials, even in cases where no

health claims are made.”

---“Evaluate the safety of antimicrobials and their transformation products throughout the entire product life cycle, including manufacture, long-term use, disposal, and environmental release.”


-end-

Reference: