The monitoring initiative called “BANtay Endosulfan” was launched today to mark the second month of the sinking of the ill-fated vessel at the height of typhoon “Frank” last June 21.
The EcoWaste Coalition, Cavite Green Coalition (CGC), and the Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment (Sibuyan ISLE), together with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm and Pesticide Action Network, formed the group to ensure the environmentally-sound management and disposal of the toxic cargoes.
“No community is worth killing for,” the groups asserted, paraphrasing the famous statement of martyred freedom fighter Ninoy Aquino.
“We have set up BANtay Endosulfan to ensure that the salvaged hazardous cargo will not be buried or burned in an open dump, cement kiln or incinerator. Such disposal options merely transfer the problem from one environmental medium to another. Exposing communities to toxic releases associated with these options is not a solution, said Von Hernandez, representing both GAIA and Greenpeace.
“Our participation in BANtay Endosulfan is a clear signal that we will vigorously resist any plan to incinerate the toxic shipments in Cavite, which hosts a controversial waste disposal facility that has been a target of civil society and church opposition since 2003,” Ochie Tolentino, former Carmona vice-mayor and CGC coordinator, emphasized.
“For the people of Sibuyan, it is important that the recovered toxic cargo are secured and disposed in a way that will cause no further harm to our ecosystems. We have suffered enough and we do not want other communities go through the same toxic tragedy that befell us,” Rodne Galicha of the Sibuyan ISLE stated.
Aside from the 10 metric tons of endosulfan, the group also pledged to monitor the disposal of the other hazardous materials in the capsized ship.
According to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), MV Princess of the Stars also carried asphalts, paints, electric transformers and other agrochemicals such as Antracol WP70, Tamaron 600SL, Trap 70WP and Fuerza GR3.
The environmental groups have earlier demanded full disclosure of the comprehensive disposal plan for the toxic materials, a key action recommended by the European Union – United Nations team that surveyed the wreck site last month.
The toxic maritime disaster has attracted international attention to endosulfan, an organochlorine pesticide that is already banned in 55 countries. A global ban is being considered under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) to protect the public health and the environment.
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