29 April 2009

RP Urged to Support Ban on Toxic Chemicals

Quezon City. Public interest groups appealed to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to actively support global action against nine extremely nasty chemicals that pose significant risk to human and ecological health.

The groups prodded the DENR delegation to the 4th Conference of Parties (COP4) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) scheduled in Geneva on May 4-8 to back the move to expand the original “dirty dozen” POPs chemicals.

DENR is the national focal point for the Stockholm Convention, a treaty ratified by the Senate way back in 2004 to protect human health and the environment from POPs. Usec. Demetrio Ignacio and Angelita Brabante will represent the Philippines at COP4.

“The COP4 next week will be a historic milestone as the international community considers the proposal of the POPs Review Committee to add nine unacceptably toxic chemicals for reduction and eventual elimination,” noted Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator (GAIA).

Both the EcoWaste Coalition and GAIA are active participants of the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), a US-based global NGO network working to eliminate POPs and other chemicals of equivalent concern so that they no longer contaminate our bodies, food and
environment.

“We urge the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to champion the precautionary principle at COP4 and support decisions against chemicals with POPs-like characteristics and the transition to safe and ecological alternatives,” Calonzo said.

POPs are highly toxic chemicals that persist in the environment for years or even decades, traveling long distances via air and water and accumulating in living things.

The initial “dirty dozen” POPs covered by the Convention includes pesticides (aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heltachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex and toxaphene), industrial chemicals
(hexachlorobenzene, which is also used as pesticide, and polychlorinated biphenyls) and unintentional chemical byproducts (dioxins and furans).

Up for approval at COP4 as additional POPs are flame retardants, pesticides and waste products such as 1) alpha and beta hexachlorocyclohexane, 2) chlordecone, 3) hexabromobiphenyl, 4) lindane, 5) pentachlorobenzene, 6) perfluorooctane sulfonate, 7) perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride, 8) components of c-octa, hexa and hepta bromodiphenyl ether, and 9) components of c-penta and tetra bromodiphenyl ether.

Listing these chemicals on the Stockholm Convention will ensure that these toxic substances are banned throughout the globe.


EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 329, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 441-1846
ecowastecoalition@yahoo.com

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