More than five hundred people trooped to the provincial office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to voice their call to the said agency to uphold the incineration ban as stated by the Clean Air Act, and permanently stop the operation of the incinerator plant being operated by the Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMI) and owned by the Lina Group of Companies.
The mass protest was spearheaded by the Catholic Church Diocese of Imus, United Churches of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Cavite and the ecogroups Cavite Green Coalition and EcoWaste Coalition. The protesters also handed a petition signed by more than five thousand Caviteños calling for the permanent closure of the dirty technology waste facility. Copies of the petition were also handed to the heads of the provincial and city government.
“The petition is to send a clear signal to the provincial leadership that the people of Cavite are displeased with the noncommittal attitude of the local government toward the issue. With this petition, we are calling for an end to the prevarication on this important issue," said Pastor Noel Roxas of the UCCP-Cavite.
Father Von Arellano of St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in Trece Martires said that the local Catholic Church is concerned that the operation of the incinerator exposes the surrounding communities to harmful emissions coming from the waste treatment facility.
"Poor communities are often the ones who pay the heaviest price for ecological deterioration," said Arellano.
The IWMI treated medical wastes of major hospitals of Metro Manila. In 2004, the operation of the plant was suspended by virtue of a cease-and-desist order issued by DENR for years of operation without a single pollution control device. The operation of the plant was again suspended in 2005 due to failure to submit the results of required emission tests.
In an independent test commissioned by the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) in 2005, the eggs of free-range chicken living near the IWMI were found to have levels of dioxin that exceeded more than three times the limit set by the European Union (EU). The level of polychlorinated biphenyl or PCBs, a highly-carcinogenic chemical, found in the eggs also exceeded the proposed EU limit.
“Incinerators are known to emit harmful pollutants like dioxins and furans, which are carcinogenic and are known to mimic the action of hormones in the human body. Repeated daily exposures to pollutants emitted by incinerators, even at low levels, can irreparably harm the immune system and cause developmental problems in children,” said Ochie Tolentino of the Cavite Green Coalition.
Meanwhile, Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of the Diocese of Imus also expressed his opposition to the resumption of the said waste facility and asked Trece Martires Mayor Melencio De Sagun Jr. to exercise his prerogative as the city head and deny the permit of IWMI.
Various environmental advocacy groups that joined the Caviteños to press for the enforcement of the incineration ban are the EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm, Mother Earth Foundation, November 17 Movement, and the Sagip Pasig Movement.
For more inquries, please contact Ochie Tolentino at 0918-4221769 or the EcoWaste Coalition at (02) 929-0376 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376