27 February 2010

Public Interest NGO Representative Appointed to Waste Commission


Quezon City. The EcoWaste Coalition lauded the appointment of an experienced advocate and practitioner of sustainable development to an inter-agency body that is tasked by law to protect the public health and the environment from trash and pollution.

Eileen Belamide-Sison, 63, took her oath of office yesterday, 26 February, before Environment Secretary Horacio Ramos, as non-government organization (NGO) representative to the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC).

The NSWMC, which is under the Office of the President, is assigned to watch over the enforcement of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, particularly in overseeing the implementation of ecological waste plans and prescribing policies to
fulfill the goals of the law.

“Her appointment is a triumph for the out-of-the-box, people-centered Zero Waste approach to addressing our society’s garbage woes. As the lone voice of non-profit NGOs in the Commission, we intend to provide Eileen with the necessary support and invite other groups as well to assist her for a more effective representation of the public interest,” said Rei Panaligan, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“When you give the lone dissenting vote on critical environmental issues, which will likely happen more often than not, please be assured that we will back you up,” added Sonia Mendoza, Chairperson of the Mother Earth Foundation and former NGO representative to the Commission. “I wish you success in your present assignment, which is just a continuation of your advocacy.”

“Her experiences and insights on waste issues would be a clear value added to the work of the Commission, whose leadership and direction we hope should advance our goals to achieve a Zero Waste and toxic-free future,” stated Von Hernandez, Executive Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Sison is executive director of the Institute for the Development of Educational and Ecological Alternatives, Inc. (IDEAS), a non-profit organization involved in community research, education and trainings on sustainable development. She was President of the EcoWaste Coalition from 2005-07, and a member of the Council of Leaders of the Cavite Green Coalition and the Solid Waste Management Association of the Philippines.

She has extensive experience in people-oriented environmental and developmental work, spanning some 40 years, that has brought her to various parts of the country as researcher, educator and trainer on sustainable agriculture, ecological sanitation and solid waste management.

The NSWMC is composed of 14 members from the government sector and three members from the private sector, including a representative from NGOs promoting recycling and the protection of air and water quality.

As per R.A. 9003, the private sector representatives of the Commission shall be appointed on the basis of their integrity, high degree of professionalism and having distinguished themselves in environmental and resource management.

-end-


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

26 February 2010

Citizens’ Groups Seek “Pangulong PATOK” to Protect Children from Toxic Chemicals


Quezon City. “Wanted: Pangulong Ayaw sa Toksik” (President Against Toxics) or “Pangulong PATOK.”

This is the fervent plea of citizens’ groups from across the Philippines who challenged all the presidential candidates for the 2010 polls to stand up against toxic chemicals that are endangering the health of Filipino children.

In a statement endorsed by over 100 groups and individuals, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Save Babies Coalition sought a kid-friendly political leadership who will recognize the special vulnerability of children and act decisively to safeguard their health and well-being.

Signatories include health, environmental, social justice, women’s rights and children’s welfare advocates from the academe, church, community groups, non-government organizations and professional associations.

They cried out for a “Pangulong PATOK” at a grassroots gathering in Quezon City that the EcoWaste Coalition convened under its Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats).

“We need caring and judicious leaders who will take every step to ensure that Filipino children are born free of toxins and are able to grow, play, study and develop in a clean, safe and healthy environment,” the EcoWaste Coalition and the Save Babies Coalition stated.

“We need a ‘Pangulong PATOK’ who will defend children’s health first, uphold the precautionary principle and environmental justice, and enforce pollution prevention and reduction policies and regulations that will eliminate toxic body burden in children and in adults and in other organisms, too,” they said.

For the EcoWaste Coalition, Save Babies Coalition and other groups, children’s health is a legitimate electoral issue that aspiring political leaders should address head-on if they really want to eradicate poverty and hunger.

“It is not enough for politicians to cuddle and carry babies in campaign sorties,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition. “We want them to commit to protecting the integrity of the ecosystems from harmful chemicals to ensure quality living conditions for our children and the entire Filipino people.”

The groups cautioned candidates from getting campaign funds from pesticide, tobacco and infant formula milk companies that could affect their political integrity and independence to speak and act in favor of the public interest.

The also urged the candidates to run an eco-friendly campaign that will proactively prevent and reduce campaign trash.

Breastfeeding activist Velvet Roxas of Arugaan and Save Babies Coalition warned that babies across the globe are born pre-polluted with a cocktail of industrial chemicals in their blood that are passed from parent to child from the earliest phases of life development.

“Chemical contaminants creep stealthily into the developing fetuses that can seriously interfere with children’s right and ability to develop fully, enjoy their childhood and get ready for a productive adulthood,” Roxas said.

Studies show that children are born with over 300 industrial chemicals in their blood, including persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and other substances of concern that are linked to the rising incidence of reproductive and developmental disorder, cancer and other serious health problems.

These chemicals are found in consumer products, locally manufactured or imported, such as baby bottles, children’s clothing, toys, school supplies, cosmetics and personal care products, slippers and shoes, household furniture, electronic and electrical items, and countless other products in the market.

According to the groups, children living in poverty are more susceptible to ailments caused or aggravated by toxic chemicals as they eke out a living in streets, dumpsites and other high risk places and suffer from daily contact and exposure to chemicals.

Depending on the type of chemical, the degree and frequency of exposure and the child’s state of nutrition and health, chemical exposure can lead to asthma and other respiratory ailments, low IQ, mental retardation and developmental delays, immune and hormonal disorders, cancers and other grave health problems.

For a cleaner, safer and healthier future for our children, the EcoWaste Coalition, Save Babies Coalition and allied groups called on the presidential candidates to:

I. Pursue chemical policy reforms by translating the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) into a national chemical safety policy framework and action plan to achieve sustainable development, eradicate poverty and disease, and improve public health and the environment.

II. Promote robust policies that will identify, phase out and ban toxic chemicals of concern and bar the sale of products containing these chemicals, particularly, but not limited to, those known or suspected as persistent, carcinogenic, neurotoxic or endocrine disruptor, for which alternatives have been developed.

III. Implement mandatory product information labeling that will disclose all the chemical contents of products and their potential health and environmental effects as well as provide guidance on handling and waste management.

Specifically, the groups urged the candidates to

1. Enforce the Philippine Milk Code and promote and defend breastfeeding, ensuring that breastmilk – the first complete, ecological and Zero Waste food for humans – is protected from all types of contaminants and also from commercial assaults.

2. Proclaim schools, day care centers, hospitals and clinics, parks and play centers and others places frequented by children as “toxic-free zone.”

3. Support legislation that will keep toys, children’s articles and school supplies, and any material containing toxic chemicals out of the hands of children.

4. Direct the elimination of lead paints and push for a national partnership involving all stakeholders to accelerate its implementation.

5. Support the mercury-free school effort and declare February 16 of every year– in remembrance of the mercury spill at St. Andrew's School in Parañaque City - as “Mercury-Free Day.”

6. Endorse the “Green Health Covenant” towards an environmentally-responsible and climate-friendly healthcare system.

7. Support all tobacco control measures, including requiring graphic health warnings for all cigarettes and tobacco products.

8. Ban the aerial application of agro-chemicals in banana plantations and other commercial farms and promote a shift from chemical-intensive to ecological agriculture.

9. Push for the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment and ensure a coherent national policy to protect the country’s environment from foreign toxic chemicals and wastes.

10. Support the establishment of poison prevention and control centers in the various regions to effectively address cases outside of the National Capital Region.

11. Allocate resources for scientific research on the link between chemical exposure and health outcomes in different age groups and in different settings.

12. Implement the pollution prevention provisions of the Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, particularly the prohibition on open waste burning and waste incineration.

13. Ensure that all waste disposal facilities comply with health and environmental laws and standards and do not discharge harmful substances.

Wanted: Pangulong PATOK (Pangulong Ayaw sa Toksik/President Against Toxics)

We, citizens’ groups from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, join the EcoWaste Coalition and the Save Babies Coalition in urging the presidential candidates for the 2010 polls - as well as other well-meaning political contenders - to stand up against toxic chemicals that are harming our children’s health and their future.

We now know that newborn babies already carry a cocktail of toxic substances in their blood that are passed from parent to child from the earliest phases of life development.

With the growing and unrestrained use and discharge of insidious chemicals into the environment as our society industrializes, we find these substances from the manufacturing processes, consumption of products and the ensuing wastes creeping silently into the developing fetuses during the critical pre-natal period.

Studies show that children are born with over 300 industrial chemicals in their blood, including persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and other substances of concern that are linked to the rising incidence of reproductive and developmental disorder, cancer and other serious health problems.

These chemicals are found in consumer products, locally manufactured or imported, such as baby bottles, children’s clothing, toys, school supplies, cosmetics and personal care products, slippers and shoes, household furniture, electronic and electrical items, and countless other products in the market.

Children are most vulnerable to chemical hazards primarily because their bodies are still developing. They are also very curious and explore their surroundings, picking at objects and putting them in their mouths. This activity frequently causes contaminants to be taken orally into their developing bodies.

Chemical exposure can interfere with a child’s ability to develop fully. Depending on the type of chemical, the degree and frequency of exposure and the child’s state of nutrition and health, chemical exposure can lead to asthma and other respiratory ailments, low IQ, mental retardation and developmental delays, immune and hormonal disorders, cancers and other grave health problems.

Chemical exposures and illnesses further worsen the dehumanizing cycle of poverty and poor health being faced by many Filipino children, and take away their opportunities to enjoy their youth and a productive adulthood.

For children living and working in the streets, dumpsites and other high risk places, the situation could be doubly worse because of the daily dose of environmental and health contaminants that they absorb from smoke-belching vehicles, toxin-filled mixed trash, burning dumps and landfills, and from the uncontrolled dismantling of discarded e-wastes, to name a few pollution sources.

Children likewise face dangers at home and at school, where they spend a great deal of their crucial developmental years, especially from toxic chemicals from plastics, fluorescent lights, electrical and electronic equipment, among others.

Now, more than ever, we need caring and judicious leaders who will take every step to ensure that Filipino children are born free of toxins and are able to grow, play, study and develop in a clean, safe and healthy environment.

We need a “Pangulong PATOK” who will defend children’s health first, uphold the precautionary principle and environmental justice, and enforce pollution prevention and reduction policies and regulations that will eliminate toxic body burden in children and in adults and in other organisms, too.

We therefore call upon all presidential candidates as well as others running for elective positions in May 2010 to recognize the special vulnerability of children, stop gambling with their health and decisively protect developing fetuses and children from harmful chemicals.

Specifically, we call upon them to:

ON 2010 ELECTIONS:

Decline campaign contributions from commercial and industrial sources such as pesticide, tobacco and infant formula milk companies that could affect their political integrity and independence to speak and act based on the public interest.

Observe the guidelines for “Waste-Free 2010 Elections” to prevent and reduce campaign trash and pollution, and promote an eco-friendly political exercise.

ON CHEMICAL POLICY REFORMS:

Pursue chemical policy reforms by translating the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) into a national chemical safety policy framework and action plan to achieve sustainable development, eradicate poverty and disease, and improve public health and the environment.

Promote robust policies that will identify, phase out and ban toxic chemicals of concern and bar the sale of products containing these chemicals, particularly, but not limited to, those known or suspected as persistent, carcinogenic, neurotoxic or endocrine disruptor, for which alternatives have been developed.

Proclaim schools, day care centers, hospitals and clinics, parks and play centers and others places frequented by children as “toxic-free zone” where children can be safe from the hazards of tobacco smoke, lead-containing paint and dust, mercury and mercury-containing products, and other toxic materials, with the vision of building a "toxic-free Philippines."

Support legislation that will keep toys, children’s articles and school supplies, and any material containing toxic chemicals out of the hands of children.

Direct the elimination of lead paints in the name of children’s health and safety, and push for a national partnership involving the government, paint industry, healthcare sector and the civil society to accelerate its implementation.

Support the mercury-free school effort by issuing a directive that will ban the use of mercury and mercury-containing products in all public and private educational institutions, particularly in
elementary and high school levels, and declare February 16 of every year– in remembrance of the mercury spill at St. Andrew's School in Parañaque City - as “Mercury-Free Day.”

Endorse the “Green Health Covenant” towards an environmentally-responsible and climate-friendly healthcare system, including action to phase out and ultimately ban mercury-containing
medical devices such as thermometers and sphygmomanometers.

Support all tobacco control measures as tobacco has absolutely no place in youth health and development, including raising taxes on all tobacco products, requiring graphic health warnings for all cigarettes/tobacco products, implementing smoke-free policies for all public places and conveyances, and stricter policies on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Ban the aerial application of agro-chemicals in banana plantations and other commercial farms and promote a shift from chemical-intensive to ecological agriculture.

Push for the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment and ensure a coherent national policy in this regard in order to protect the country’s environment from foreign toxic chemicals and wastes.

Support the establishment of poison prevention and control centers in the various regions to effectively address cases outside of the National Capital Region.

Allocate resources for scientific research on the link between chemical exposure and health outcomes in different age groups and in different settings.

ON THE ENFORCEMENT OF RELEVANT LAWS:

Enforce the Philippine Milk Code and promote and defend breastfeeding, ensuring that breastmilk – the first complete, ecological and Zero Waste food for humans – is protected from all types of contaminants and also from commercial assaults.

Implement the pollution prevention provisions of the Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, particularly the prohibition on open waste burning and waste incineration to prevent the formation and emission of toxic byproducts such as dioxin (a persistent organic pollutant), mercury (a heavy metal) and nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas).

Ensure that all waste disposal facilities, including “transfer stations,” landfills and treatment plants, comply with health and environmental laws and standards and do not discharge harmful substances that could threaten public health and safety.

Implement mandatory product information labeling that will disclose all the chemical contents of products and their potential health and environmental effects as well as provide guidance on handling and waste management.

Signed by:

1. Froilan Grate, Add Up Volunteers
2. Tom Villarin, Akbayan
3. Chin-Chin Gutierrez, Alaga LAHAT
4. Gina Mejia, Angkan ng Mandirigma
5. Dr. Leah Primitiva G. Samaco-Paquiz, Ang NARS
6. Ines Fernandez, Arugaan/Save Babies Coalition
7. Velvet Roxas, Arugaan/Save Babies Coalition
8. Neil Llorente, Ateneo Student Catholic Action
9. Silverio J. Cardona, Balay Dabar Sur, Inc.
10. Jaime Briones, Children's Helper Project
11. Joey Papa, Bangon Kalikasan Movement
12. Atty. Richard Gutierrez, Ban Toxics
13. Romeo Saclolo, Batangas Dos Fishermen's Association
14. Sorina Coles, Batong Sandigan Development Foundation
15. Noli Abinales, Buklod Tao
16. Conrado Loyola, Catechesis Ministry of St. Joseph
17. Ochie Tolentino, Cavite Green Coalition
18. Ines Basean, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines
19. Conrado Esemple, Columban Missionaries Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Ministry
20. Comm. Elsie De Veyra, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution
21. Grace Chua, Consumer Rights for Safe food
22. Alfredo Valenzuela, Cycling Residents of Industrial Valley
23. Jose Kwe, Ecology Ministry, Diocese of Kalookan
24. Fr. Allan V. Lopez, OP, Urban Poor Ministry, Diocese of Kalookan
25. Roy, Alvarez, Earth Renewal Project
26. Cha Bongat, Earth UST
27. Eloy Garcia, Ecology Ministry of Candelaria Parish
28. Elsie Retanan, Ecology Ministry of Resurrection Parish
29. Carmen Tapulado, Ecology Ministry of St. Joseph Parish
30. Antonio Claparols, Ecological Society of the Philippines
31. Javier Claparols, Ecological Society of the Philippines
32. Donna Reyes, Environmental Studies Institute
33. Rommel Ariola, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines
34. Manny Calonzo, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
35. Fr. John G. Leydon, Great Work Movement
36. Dr. Angelina Galang, Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy
37. Von Hernandez, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
38. Albert Gabino, Maskara – Green Stage Filipinas
39. Amie Fe Juane, Health Advocate for Nueva Ecija
40. Merci Ferrer, Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia
41. Florita Dumagan, HUGALNA - Albuquerque, Bohol
42. Egad Ligon, Initiative for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, Inc.
43. Lia Jasmin Esquillo, Interface Development Interventions, Inc.
44. Melinda Mallari, Isaiahville Home Owners Association
45. Fr. Ben Moraleda, Kaalagad Katipunang Kristiyano
46. Ray P. Abanil, KAISAMPALAD
47. Mila Boran, Kalikasan sa Kaunlaran
48. Nenita Ernacio, Koro ni San Jose
49. Neneng Jocson, Krusada sa Kalikasan
50. George Dadivas, Kupkop Kita Kabayan Foundation
51. Ma. Luz Lebrudo, Lay Minister of the Word St Joseph
52. Sigundina Aniano, Likhang Kalikasan - LIKAS
53. Sr. Aida Velasquez, Lingkod Tao Kalikasan
54. Allan T. Tura, Makabata para sa Bayan, Inc.
55. Melvin Saladino, MALAYA
56. Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying
57. Rogelio Abdulrachman Teves, Mindanao Regional Centre - Philippine Network of Rural Development Institutes
58. Tessa Oliva, Miriam P.E.A.CE.
59. Cathy Untalan, Miss Earth Foundation
60. Sr. Ma. Leonora Pataneg, Missionaries of Child Jesus
61. Sonia Mendoza, Mother Earth Foundation
62. Pamela Tapia, Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Maguyam - Cavite
63. Louie Lizano, Nagkakaisang Mananambakan sa Dumpsite Area
64. Rosario Ruado, Nagkakaisang Mananambakan sa Dumpsite Area
65. Amelou Benitez - Reyes, National Council of Women in the Philippines
66. Romy Hidalgo, November 17 Movement
67. Margie Lakanilao, Nueva Ecija Womens' Leader Coalition
68. Noemi L. Pisigan, OFM Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
69. Fr. Pete Montallana, OFM, Save Sierra Madre Network
70. Belinda Formanes, Partnership for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development Services
71. Rene Pineda, Partnership for Clean Air
72. Arturo Nuera, People’s Alternative Study Center for Research Education for Social Development
73. Dr. Romy Quijano, Pesticide Action Network – Philippines
74. Rogelio Abdulrachman Teves, Mindanao Regional Centre, Philippine Network of Rural Development Institutes
75. Bong Garcia, Phase 6 Bahayang Pagasa Homeowners Association
76. Bernie Aragoza, Philippine Greens
77. Dr. Teresita Barcelo, Philippine Nurses Association
78. Gani Serrano, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement
79. Gean Puno, Philippine Women Christian Temperance Union
80. Troy Lacsama, Quezon City Public Library
81. Ester Sales, Quezon City Senior Citizens’ Association
82. Ben Galindo, Sagip Pasig Movement
83. Meth Jimenez, Sagip Pasig Movement
84. Bro. Martin Francisco, Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc.
85. Fr. Glenn Melo, Saint Pio Sustainable Agriculture, Diocese of Tandag - Surigao Del Sur
86. Marie Marciano, Sanib Lakas ng mga Aktibong Lingkod sa Inang Kalikasan
87. Charie Balaong, SARILAYA
88. Atty. Mon Salas, Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal-Mindanaw
89. Angie Katoh, SIAD Initiaves in Mindanao Convergence for Asset Reform and Regional Development
90. Frances Jan Maria R. Lozano, Indigenous Peoples Advocacy Program, SILDAP-Southeastern Mindanao
91. Remedios Baclea-an, Shoreline Kabalikat sa Kinabukasan, Inc.
92. Bang Palacio, Sining Yapak
93. Dr. Helen Mendoza, SOLJUSPAX
94. Dr. Carmen Soingco, Soroptomist International - Quezon City
95. Rose Reyes, Ternatenos Against Landfill
96. Lourdes Andres, WomanHealth Philippines
97. Lilia Granada De Guia, Women's Right Movement of the Philippines
98. Ofelia Panganiban, Zero Waste Philippines
99. Irma Parcela, Zero Waste Recycling Movement of the Philippines Foundation, Inc.
100. Patria Gwen M.L. Borcena, Alternative Research for Empowerment
101. Jodie Angeles, TFM - Negros
102. Edlyn Grace P. Corpuz, Atsitra Kalikasan
103. Nelia Manadus, Occupational Safety & Health Center
104. Keith Begona, Occupational Safety & Health Center
105. Engr. Mitzie C. Salvador, Manila Health Department
106. Myrna Ramirez, Occupational Health Nurses Association of the Philippines
107. Mrs. Evelyn Go, Innerwheel Club of the Philippines
108. Joseph Gandacilia, Buklod Kabataan
109. Ramon Guerero, Buklod Kabataan
110. Genilyn Gatil, Buklod Kabataan
111. Marco Bernaldez, Buklod Kabataan
112. Rechiel Mandigma, Buklod Kabataan
113. Shyra De Guzman, Buklod Kabataan
114. Shaira Ramos, Buklod Kabataan
115. Bena Rose Feliciano, Buklod Kabataan
116. Rizza Lei K. Giron, Buklod Kabataan
117. Margarita Mojica, St. Gregory the Great Ecology Ministry
118. Adelaida Samson, St. Gregory the Great Ecology Ministry
119. Elsie Retanan, Risen Christ Parish
120. Rogelio Loberiano, Brgy. Yakal Silang Cavite
121. Alip U. Mintu, Shoreline Kabalikat sa Kinabukasan, Inc.
122. Maria L. Mintu, Shoreline Kabalikat sa Kinabukasan, Inc.
123. Nilda Va. Salera, Shoreline Kabalikat sa Kinabukasan, Inc.
124. Virginia Abad, PRRM-NAMAMANGKA
125. Judie Ojena, PRRM-NAMAMANGKA
126. Rahon Reyes, PRRM-NAMAMANGKA
127. Leoner Batulayan, Stewards of God's Creation - AUP
128. Gilbert Sansa, Stewards of God's Creation - AUP
129. Sr. Shirley Agoo ICR, Ecology Ministry of Rosario Cavite
130. Eileen B. Sison, Institute for the Development of Education and Ecological Alternatives
131. Ronnel U. Lim, Health Care Without Harm - Southeast Asia
132. Erlinda B. Apigo, NSTP - Philippine Women's University
133. Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, Jr. D.D.
134. Dr. Cerilio Jalad, Mayor of Albuquerque, Bohol
135. Hitoshi Katayama
136. Marrio Mapanao
137. Atty. Amang Mejia
138. Atty. Golly Estenzo-Ramos
139. Dr. Lester Saguiguit-Lora
140. Danny James B. Tapales
141. Vic Tagopa
142. Prof. Angelina Nunag Tiotangco
143. Sheila Marie Samonte

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

25 February 2010

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes Effective Action to Combat Mercury-Tainted Cosmetics

Quezon City. An environmental advocacy group lauded the latest ban on mercury-laced cosmetics even as it pushed for heightened public and private cooperation to protect consumers from toxic harm.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-governmental network pursuing consumer safety from harmful chemicals in products, commended the latest move by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to ban China-imported facial creams and whitening cream products that were found to contain high levels of mercury, a highly toxic chemical.

At the same time, the group appealed to concerned government agencies, including the Bureau of Customs, National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police, to effectively enforce the ban and ensure that none of the mercury-tainted items are sold to innocent buyers.

“We laud the FDA for its latest advisory that will hopefully reach and inform all retailers and consumers of cosmetics and personal care products throughout the country,” said Thony Dizon of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats).

“To be really effective, the FDA has to embark on a sustained consumer information drive nationwide against toxics in consumer products and mobilize public and private partners, including all law enforcers, to ensure that toxic cosmetics are recalled, returned to manufacturers and ultimately eliminated,” he added.

"Our consumers are entitled to enjoy only non-toxic products that will not put their health and well-being at risk," Dizon stated

The latest recall of toxic cosmetics, the EcoWaste Coalition observed, should be supported by all government institutions in line with Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Protection Act, which requires the government to protect consumers against injurious, unsafe or dangerous
products by enforcing their immediate recall, ban or seizure.

FDA recently banned the following mercury-laced facial creams: Jiao Li Huichusu Whitening Speckles Removal Cream, Xin Jiao Li 7-Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream, Jiao Li 10-Days Eliminating Freckle Day & Night Set, Jiao Li 7-Days Eliminating Freckle AB Set, Jiao Liang Miraculous Cream, Xin Jiao Liang 7-Days Miracle Package for Spots Refining, and Jiao Mei Miraculous Cream.

It has also banned two whitening creams such as Jiao Li Extra Pearl Facial Cream and Jiao Yan Specific Miraculous Cream.

FDA director Nazarita Tacandong has deputized food and drug regulation officers “to seize immediately the above identified cosmetic products for custody from all outlets or establishments where they may be found.”

A fact sheet on mercury published by the EcoWaste Coalition describes mercury and its compounds as highly toxic. Exposure can cause adverse impacts on human health and the environment. The degree of toxicity to human and wildlife depends on the chemical form of mercury, the amount, the exposure pathway and the vulnerability of the person exposed.

22 February 2010

Chemical Safety Advocates Laud Global Effort to Eliminate PCBs

Quezon City, Philippines/Bali, Indonesia. Civil society groups promoting chemical safety welcomed the launch today of a global mechanism that will help the Philippines and other countries address a highly toxic industrial chemical pollutant called PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls.

The EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and the International POPs Elimination Network lauded the launch of the PCBs Elimination Network (PEN) at the start of the simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in Bali, Indonesia.

“The launch of PEN will complement and bolster our ongoing effort in the Philippines to safely manage and eliminate our own stockpiles of PCB oils and contaminated equipment such as electric transformers and capacitors,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

“The current public-private partnership to establish a closed-loop non-combustion facility, with support from the United Nations, to destroy the country’s stockpiles will be our best contribution to the global movement to purge the planet of PCBs,” he added.

Data from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources show that the Philippines has 6,879 tonnes of PCB containing equipment and wastes comprising about 2,400 tonnes of PCBs oil. The global estimate for PCBs is 5 million tonnes.

“The formation of PEN should assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition who lack financial and technical resources to identify, contain and destroy or irreversibly transform PCB wastes both in closed uses such as transformers and in open applications like paints and sealants,” said Alan Watson, IPEN representative to PEN and chair of PEN’s disposal working group.

PEN is a collaborative arrangement that seeks to promote the environmentally sound management (ESM) of oils and equipment containing or contaminated with PCBs in line with the goals and requirements of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

PEN will facilitate information exchange on the ESM of PCBs, promote research, technical assistance and technology transfer, foster networking and cooperation, raise awareness on successful ESM activities and establish annual awards for contributions to the ESM of PCBs.

According to the UN Environment Program, developing countries and countries with economies in transition suffer from the lack of capacities, poor inventories, limited resources and inaccessible information to ensure ESM of their PCBs.

-end-

For more information, please log on to:

http://chm.pops.int/Programmes/PCBs/PCBsEliminationClubPEC/tabid/438/language/fr-CH/Default.aspx

18 February 2010

Residents Unite to Clean-up Ondoy Debris Dumped in Marikina-San Mateo River

Marikina City – More than 150 residents living adjacent to the Nangka River unite to clean-up the debris, soil and mixed garbage brought by typhoon Ondoy but was later dumped by the local government of Marikina City into the said river.

Armed with shovels, rakes and other hand-made tools, the residents, mostly from the riverside Barangay Banaba of San Mateo, Rizal, excavated the debris and garbage and placed them in sacks in order to restore the water flow of the Nangka River. The community action was done from morning till the afternoon.

“Mayor Marites Fernando and the local government of Marikina committed a crime to our environment by dumping waste and typhoon debris into the Nangka River. Worst, they neglected the responsibility to clean-up their mess and to provide a clear rehabilitation program for the said river,” said Noli Abinales of the disaster-risk prevention group Buklod Tao.

A major tributary of the Marikina River, the Nangka River also serves as the boundary of the Marikina City and San Mateo, Rizal. Post-Ondoy debris and waste collected for many weeks in the streets of Barangay Nangka and nearby villages by the personnel of Marikina City and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) were dumped into the said river.

According to Abinales, the dumping of waste and debris caused siltation and narrowed the width of the Nangka River, thereby putting further at risk the residents living adjacent the said waterway.

“We decided to act and excavate the debris that we can remove to reduce possible risks that the rainy season may bring anew. We should have learned our lessons from Ondoy and we do not want a similar disaster to befall us,” said Abinales.

The clean-up is also a part of an ongoing program of Buklod Tao in partnership with Christian Aid, Community Organizing for Philippine Enterprise (COPE) and Swiss Interchurch Aid (HEKS).

Meanwhile the pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition challenged the administration of Mayor Fernando to take the responsibility of cleaning up and rehabilitating the Nangka River and other tributaries of the Marikina River.

“Our rivers are not dumpsites. It is a vital ecosystem that should be protected at all cost. Mayor Fernando should take ample steps to immediately address the clean-up and rehabilitation of the Nangka River and ensure that such environmental crime will never happen again,” said Rei Panaligan of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“The people took the initiative for the Nangka River. Our government officials should step up and ensure that similar efforts will be continued,” said Panaligan.


Environmental and Labor Groups Press for Impartial Probe of Deadly Toxic Incident in Batangas, Push for Chemical Safety in Workplaces

Quezon City. Groups working on environmental health and labor concerns called for an impartial investigation of a recent toxic incident in Bauan, Batangas that killed three workers and forced over 2,000 residents to flee for safety.

The Alliance of Progressive Labor and the EcoWaste Coalition, in a joint statement, sought for a just and thorough probe of the chemical tragedy as they urged the various government agencies, particularly the Environment, Labor and Health, to strengthen existing policies and programs on occupational safety and health to prevent exposure, injury and death from toxic and hazardous substances.

Last Tuesday, February 16, workers Junnel Almohera, Charmeil Allego and a certain “Waray” died after being exposed to toxic fumes from a barge undergoing repairs in Barangay Santa Maria, Bauan. Three other workers, namely Roger de la Peña, Guilberto Liverca, and Jayson Rodolfo, also got poisoned, but luckily survived.

Engineer Melvin Arevalo, Municipal Planning Development Coordinator of Bauan, confirmed with the EcoWaste Coalition that the workers suffered from excessive carbon monoxide poisoning as per report by the Philippine Coast Guard.

The toxic fumes forced the Bauan local government to declare a state of emergency in the municipality that saw more than 2,000 residents of Barangays Santa Maria and San Pedro moving out to safety.

“Many of our workers are not aware of the risks and dangers of toxic and hazardous chemicals in their work environment. Thus the need for expanded programs that will promote chemical safety education among workers, provide adequate compensation and rehabilitation in case of work-related exposure to chemicals, and encourage industry shift to clean production,” said Josua Mata of the Alliance of Progressive Labor, adding that the parties behind the Bauan toxic incident should be investigated and held accountable.

“To safeguard labor and community health, we urge industries and businesses using chemicals that are capable of causing harm to people and the environment to duly notify their workers and adjoining communities and to implement a chemical accident prevention program, including toxics use reduction and substitution, and an emergency response plan in case anything goes wrong,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition.

The switch to clean production and the implementation of various measures to minimize, if not eliminate, the use of highly hazardous substances to prevent chemical accidents and exposures is in line with the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the APL and the EcoWaste Coalition stated.

SAICM, which the Philippines and over a 100 countries adopted in 2006, provides an overall strategy and plan of action to strengthen chemicals policies and prevent harm to public health and the environment due to exposure to chemicals and other toxic substances.

The groups also observed that the Bauan toxic incident should prompt a review of the government’s “Medium-Term National Occupational Safety and Health Plan 2005-2010” and lead to proactive interventions targeting local government units, vulnerable workers and communities, including those employed in the informal economy who have the least access to safety information.

The groups further noted the need to strengthen the Zero Accident Program of the Occupational Safety and Health Center under the Department of Labor and Employment and expand its implementation to all geographical regions and economic sectors, but with particular emphasis on workers that are most vulnerable to chemical exposure and harm such as the agricultural, industrial, mining, construction and waste workers.

-end-

For more information, please contact:
1. Engineer Melvin Arevalo, Bauan Municipal Planning Development
Coordinator, 043-7279285.

15 February 2010

RP Urged to Ratify Protocol to Combat Ocean Pollution

Quezon City. A waste and pollution watchdog today urged the Government of the Philippines to ratify and enforce an international agreement that bans waste dumping and incineration at sea.

The EcoWaste Coalition issued the call as public and private stakeholders converge for a workshop about the "London Protocol" on February 15-18 in Pasay City under the auspices of the Philippine Coast Guard in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“We urge the government to expeditiously ratify the 'London Protocol' and develop a national implementation plan that will protect the marine environment from deliberate waste disposal at sea,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

The 1996 “London Protocol” to the 1972 “London Convention” (or the “Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter”) entered into force in 2006 and will in time replace the Convention the Philippines ratified way back in 1973. The “London Protocol”has been ratified by 37 countries.

Citing information from IMO, the "London Protocol" prohibits all dumping, “except for possibly acceptable wastes and substances on the so-called reverse list" and subject to the observance of certain guidelines.

The "London Protocol" further bans altogether the practice of incineration at sea, except for emergencies, as well as bans the export of wastes or other matter to non-Parties for the purpose of dumping or incineration at sea.

“We hope that RP’s ratification of the 'London Protocol' will also see the Philippines leading the fight to protect the oceans from dumping and other potentially toxic human activities such as ship sinking, breaking and recycling,” he stated.

“The ratification should likewise elicit open, informed and meaningful debates and consultations on any plans to manipulate or geo-engineer the oceans to 'fix' climate change,” he added.

The "London Protocol" integrates the precautionary and polluter pays principles that are essential in halting the oceans from turning into depositories for damaging materials and contaminants, the EcoWaste Coalition observed.

The precautionary principle is enshrined in Article 3 of the Protocol, which requires that "appropriate preventative measures are taken when there is reason to believe that wastes or other matter introduced into the marine environment are likely to cause harm even when there is no conclusive evidence to prove a causal relation between inputs and their effects."

The same article states that "the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution,” further stressing that contracting parties should ensure that the Protocol should not simply result in pollution being transferred from one part of the environment to another.

-end-

For more information about the London Convention and Protocol, please log on to:
http://www.imo.org/home.asp?topic_id=1488

12 February 2010

Green Group Pleas for 'Tikoy' for the Poor, Not Firecrackers

Quezon City. To be Chinese and in love on February 14 of this year would be a double red letter day as the Chinese New Year will fall right on Valentine’s Day. The EcoWaste Coaliton, a group of eco-friendly lifestyle advocates, however, reminds the Filipino-Chinese community, to keep the celebrations as safe as they are happy.

The environmental group urges the Chinese community, known for their costly and elaborate firecrackers and fireworks, to forego the toxic ritual as they welcome the year of the metal tiger.

In addition to safety issues, firecrackers and fireworks also aggravate the poor air quality with smoke and dust loaded with harmful chemicals that can cause throat and chest congestion and other health problems, particularly for people with asthma and chemical sensitivities.

“Remember what the tradition of using firecrackers to welcome the new year is for: to drive away bad luck – so let us not deliver ourselves right to its doorstep by lighting up these dangerous things that pose more actual harm than any perceived good,” explains Aileen Lucero of EcoWaste’s Iwas PapuToxic Campaign.

“Instead of literally burning money away, we invite our Chinese friends to divert funds meant for firecrackers and fireworks to buy ‘tikoy’ and other goodies for indigent families and also to assist communities that were razed to the ground by recent fires,” suggest Lucero.

Says Commissioner Elsie De Veyra, Steering Committee member of the Coalition, a retired nurse. “Hindi lamang po kalusugan natin ang nailalagay sa panganib tuwing tayo’s nagpapaputok, pati po ang ating kapaligiran at klima ay nasasalanta sapagkat ang mga paputok ay lumilikha ng kalat at polusyon,” she adds.

-end-

Group Suggests Green Tips to Mark Red-Letter Day

Quezon City. There are as many ways to express love this Valentine’s as there are reasons to love – if only we’d use a little creativity. If you are tired of the usual bunch of roses, chocolates, and candle-lit dinners, environmental group, EcoWaste Coalition, offers practical alternatives to worn out clichés.

“The saying ‘there are a thousand ways to skin a cat’ can be adopted in celebrating Valentines,” says Ofelia Panganiban of the EcoWaste Coalition. “We can sow love in as many ways as our imagination will allow us and each one is certainly just as uplifting. Remember that love can be inward as well as outward; we ought to love ourselves as much as we can love others, and vice-versa” she adds.

In coming up with the Valentine tips, the group hopes that “green will become the new red” and that environmentalism becomes a way of life, not just a fashion statement.

“We hope that people get hooked in giving any of our tips a go; that in the near future, if they think ‘love’ they will think ‘green’,” says Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition's Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats).

LOVE YOUR HEART. Breathe fresh air and get some exercise to increase blood circulation. Stroll through a park or go outdoors. If you have more time, go camping. Take your date to a place where there are lots of trees and bask in nature’s reinvigorating energy together.

LOVE YOUR HEALTH. Eat healthy and try something new by having an all-green home-cooked meal. If you can go the extra mile, turn vegetarian to trim down your impact on the Earth’s ecosystems, as eating meat contributes significantly to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, freshwater scarcity and global warming.

RECIPROCATE NATURE’S LOVE. Cut your waste size by composting and starting your own mini-fertilizer factory in your backyard. Composting is no rocket science; a little effort can go a long way into reducing the emission of methane and other greenhouse gases from dumpsites, which threaten the long-term health of our communities and the climate.

GIVE PURE LOVE. Ensure that the pretty gifts you give do not carry deleterious toxins, which could endanger your health and the environment. Avoid products containing lead, mercury, cadmium, toxic dyes, phthalates, formaldehyde and other chemicals of concern. To check on the toxicity and potential health hazards of chemicals in cosmetics, visit www.cosmeticsdatabase.com and www.bfad.gov.ph.

LOVE MORE, GIVE BLOOD. Be a blood donor. Give blood to the Philippine National Red Cross and impart gift of life and love to those in need.

DENY PLASTIC LOVE. Refrain from patronizing products in multi-layered packaging and simply say no to plastic bags. Bring a reusable bag when you shop and pick items in minimal packaging, or those packed in recycled paper, jute, raffia and hemp twine, and other natural, renewable fibers, which takes a lot of weight off the environment.

SPURN DISPOSABLE LOVE. Let us veer away from single-use items. They may seem inexpensive but, in reality, they are more environmentally costly since their production consumes lots of energy and takes up much of the planet's raw resources, and simultaneously create too much residual garbage.

SOW SEEDS OF LOVE. Choose a gift that will last forever but not as luxurious as a diamond. Plant a tree as a couple. This way you can bond as you nurture something that will last beyond your lifetimes. Alternative green gifts are potted plants or flowers, which can be used as substitutes to air fresheners.

SPREAD LOVE. Speak out. Blog, email, text, call or write an actual letter to share these tips with all the people that you love, to show that you care for them. Never scrimp on telling those close to you that you love them, and extend that love to the one who has been nurturing you, our one and only home Earth.

-end-

Candidates Told: “Don’t Harm the Environment”

Quezon City. As the election campaign heats up, a waste and pollution watchdog today asked politicos, with the backing of a green prelate, not to trash Mother Earth as they woo the electorate to vote for them on 10 May 2010.

The EcoWaste Coalition appealed to all political aspirants to restrain themselves from wasting too much resources and from exacerbating the country’s garbage and pollution problems with environmentally-reckless campaigning.

“We urge all local as well as national candidates who are promising to lead the country to a new era of socio-economic, political and ecological renewal to seek voters’ support without harming the environment,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition.

The EcoWaste Coalition cited several “bad” campaign practices that are damaging to the environment such as nailing propaganda materials on trees, using excessive amount of campaign resources, exploding firecrackers in miting de avance, feeding campaign supporters in Styrofoam and littering campaign venues with trash.

The group’s drive for environmentally-sound poll campaign has drawn the support of Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr. who implored the candidates to “care for Mother Earth.”

“A clean and green campaign will minimize the environmental costs of the 2010 polls as well demonstrate the candidates’ commitment to ecological governance and to a sustainable development path for our people and society,” said Bishop Iñiguez.

“Please heed the call of the EcoWaste Coalition for a clean and green campaign, forge a compact with your fellow candidates and show the people that you truly care for Mother Earth,” stated Bishop Iñiguez, who also heads the Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

To assist candidates, political parties and party-list groups campaign in a non-wasteful way, the EcoWaste Coalition has come up with practical guidelines for a ‘clean and green’ campaign.

To get started, the EcoWaste Coalition proposes that all those running for May 2010 polls should assign a person or team in the campaign structure who will be responsible for greening the campaign strategies and activities.

Candidates should refrain from using excessive campaign materials such as leaflets, pamphlets, posters, stickers, decals, cloth and tarpaulin streamers, and other campaign paraphernalia.

As much as possible, propaganda materials should be in post-consumer recycled paper and carry a friendly reminder that says “para sa ating kalusugan at kalikasan, huwag pong ikalat, itambak o sunugin” or its equivalent in local languages.

Candidates should refrain from using campaign materials that are hardly reused or recycled such as confetti, buntings and balloons, which often get burned or discarded in waterways, seas and dumpsites.

Politicos should spare the trees of propaganda materials that can harm and even kill them, and reject graffiti or vandalism to popularize themselves.

For litter-free campaign meetings, sorties and related activities, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends the following:

• Shun throwing confetti, exploding firecrackers or releasing balloons in campaign events.

• Refrain from using Styrofoam, plastic bags and other single-use containers for volunteers’ meals and drinks.

• Set up segregated waste bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards in campaign assemblies.

• Designate “eco-volunteers” to look after the bins and guide the public in the proper separation of their discards.

• Clean up right after the campaign event.

• Hire eco-aides to handle the segregated wastes for recycling and composting.

The EcoWaste Coalition in May 2009 launched a campaign for Zero Waste polls with the support of COMELEC Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armand Velasco and Leonard Leonida, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. and the Miss Earth
Foundation.

10 February 2010

EcoGroups Warn Public Against Toxic Cosmetics


Quezon City. With days to go before Valentine’s Day, toxics and pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition, reminded consumers to love their health by passing up on toxic cosmetics.

To raise the concern of toxic chemicals found in beauty and cosmetic products, members of the EcoWaste Coalition led by Buklod Tao and Sagip Pasig Movement held a creative event in front of the Philippine Heart Center. They wore creative headgears depicting various cosmetic products such as lipstick, whitening lotion and make-up, and demanded that the use of toxic chemicals such as lead and mercury in these products be eliminated.

Lately, Chinese beauty and slimming products has been under tight watch as the Food and Drugs Administration discovered that they contain dangerously high levels of deleterious substances such as mercury and steroids. In an advisory the FDA issued last February 9, it warned against buying Zhen de Shou Fat Loss Capsule and Zhen de Shou Fat Loss Tea found to contain amphetamine, sibutramine or steroids, either singly or in combination with each other; and reiterated a warning it issued last month against three mercury-tainted cosmetic products like Jiaoli Miraculous Cream, Jiaoli Hulchusu Special Cut Genuine and Jiaoli 2+17 Days Clearing Facial Spots Suit.

The said event was part of the group's “AlertToxic Day” campaign that aims to inform the public of dangerous chemicals found in everyday products. EcoWaste demanded the government to enact and enforce an appropriate labeling policy requiring manufacturers to disclose the health effects of every ingredient in their products.

“As in the case of most products, manufacturers leave us customers in the dark regarding the health hazards of the things they sell. As consumers we must assert our paramount right to know and right to be healthy vis-à-vis the commodified right to be beautiful,” asserts Velvet Roxas, Deputy Executive Director of Arugaan, a women and children’s health group.

Republic Act 7394, also known as, Consumer Protection Act of 1992 ensures that consumers have access to safe cosmetics and more information about the articles available, and are protected against unreasonable risks of injury associated with their use. It compels the appropriate government agency to declare a consumer product to be imminently injurious, unsafe or dangerous, and order is immediate recall, ban or seizure from public sale or distribution whenever the departments find, by their own initiative or by petition of a consumer, that a consumer product is found to be injurious, unsafe or dangerous.

Studies of private consumer-interest groups in the United States and Canada, for years now, have shown that beauty and personal care products teem with hazardous toxins like lead and mercury. A recent investigation by the US Food and Drug Administration released in September 2009 revealed that lead was found in lipstick at alarming levels. Albeit withholding the brands, FDA found lead in all 20 lipsticks it tested, at levels ranging from 0.09 parts per million [ppm] to 3.06 ppm. Lead builds up in the body over time and, unfortunately, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no safe level of lead in the human body.

Unfortunately, such publicly beneficial study has yet to be effected in the Philippines.

Lead, one of the oldest known poisons, is a neurotoxin that adversely affect young and old alike. It is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. Lead exposure has been associated with high blood pressure, and studies have also found connections between lead exposure and coronary heart disease, and heart rate variability.

“It’s a huge contradiction for beauty products have an ugly side,” laments Cathy Untalan, Executive Director of Miss Earth Foundation. “Harmful cosmetics should be banned and their manufacturers should be made liable for all their detrimental health effects,” she adds.

EcoWaste cited the legislative ban on mercury in the State of Minnesota as an example. In 2007, Minnesota spear-headed the banning of mercury, also a neurotoxin, in mascara, eye liners and skin-lightening creams. When applied, mercury is readily absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream.

“When we consider mercury along with steroids, glutathione, salicylic acid and hydroquinone – ingredients in skin cosmetics under fire in the media as of late, then we will begin to see the real price of superficial beauty. I hope we don’t sacrifice health in the name of vanity, as some deceitful manufacturers would want us to,” says Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition.

Mercury can retard brain development in children and fetuses, which are most vulnerable to the metal's toxic effects. But it can also cause neurological symptoms in adults. Further, it is also known to effect damage to the brain, kidney, and lungs. Direct links to tachycardia [persistently faster-than-normal heart beat] and hypertension [high blood pressure] have also been established.


06 February 2010

EcoWaste Coalition Promotes “Kuryentipid” Tips in face of Power Hike

Quezon City. As consumers brace for higher power rates this month, a waste and pollution watchdog has put out some practical tips that can help homes and offices cut their electricity charges and, at the same time, cool the planet.

“The judicious use of electricity is not only good for the purse, but also for the planet,” said Rei Panaligan, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, adding that “by saving energy we cut greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels like coal that is propelling climate change.”

The “kuryentipid” tips were contributed by sustainable lifestyle advocates from Ang Nars, Buklod Tao, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Krusada sa Kalikasan, Miss Earth Foundation, Mother Earth Foundation, Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Sining Yapak, WomanHealth and the EcoWaste Coalition’s Secretariat.

The tips range from simply turning off lights, unplugging appliances when not in use, opening the windows, organizing household chores and choosing not to iron clothes.

Environmentalist Rene Pineda stressed the need to “unclutter as much space as possible in order that natural light and ventilation can penetrate and circulate freely.”

“Uso naman ang ‘crumpled look’ kaya huwag ng plantsahin ang damit, pantalon at mga linen sa bahay,” suggested entrepreneur Baby Reyes.

“Huwag gamitin ang washing machine bagkus ay magmanu-mano sa paglalaba,” added Sierra Madre sentinel Bro. Martin Francisco.

Health rights advocate Dr. Leah Primitiva Samaco-Paquiz even went further with a suggestion for a weekly “one hour light off" nationwide to cut on power use.

Here are some commonsensical “kuryentipid” tips to bring your electric bill down, while saving the planet at one fell swoop:

1. Open the curtains and windows and unclutter your home or office to
let the natural light in.

2. Put skylights wherever possible to maximize the daylight.

3. Switch off lights when not needed.

3. Wipe lighting fixtures clean to improve illumination.

4. Don’t leave appliances, computers and gadgets on standby mode - unplug.

5. Open the windows and ventilate the natural way.

6. Use fans and air-conditioners sparingly, ensuring that blades and filters are kept clean.

7. Organize well your chores like cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing clothes and try to do these with lesser frequency.

8. Put leftover food on top of newly-cooked rice to warm it instead of using the stove, toaster or microwave.

9. Keep your washing machine loads at maximum; wash manually if possible.

10. Use just the right amount of detergent to avoid extra rinsing.

11. Hang clothes to dry instead of using the electric dryer.

12. Don’t bother ironing house, school and even office clothes.

13. Plan your refrigerator trips to avoid frequent opening and closing of the fridge.

14. Set fridge temperature at 5°C, and leave enough room around the top and back to let the heat escape.

15. Use the kulambo (mosquito net) instead of electric mosquito repellants.

"Spread the 'kuryentipid' tips and persuade your housemates, officemates and friends to live sustainably," the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public.

Note:
1. Rene Pineda is President of the Concerned Citizens Against Pollution
2. Baby Reyes is Vice-President of Mother Earth Foundation
3. Bro.Martin Francisco is President of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society
4. Dr. Leah Primitiva Samaco-Paquiz is President of Ang Nars


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

05 February 2010

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for Chemical Safety amid Rising HIV/AIDS Cases

Quezon City. Amid stern warning from health officials against potential HIV/AIDS “explosion,” a waste and pollution watchdog today pushed for vigorous action to prevent and control harmful chemicals that can further weaken and damage the immune system.

Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral and other officials have expressed concern over the alarming upsurge of HIV/AIDS cases that rose to 835 cases in 2009, the highest within a single year since 1984. The Philippines now has 4,424 reported cases of HIV/AIDS.

Reacting to the increased occurrence of HIV/AIDS in the country, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed the importance of preventing human exposure to toxic substances that are known to damage immunological functions and cause other serious health issues.

“A human body exposed to harmful chemicals will be more helpless against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).” said retired nurse Elsie Brandes-De Veyra of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“Harmful chemicals can have serious health effects, including damaging or killing cells, tissues and organs that protect the body from germs and other disease-causing invaders,” said De Veyra who also sits at the Philippine National AIDS Council and the Philippine Commission on Women.

Exposure to toxic chemicals such as cadmium, lead and mercury through inhalation, ingestion, dermal absorption and other pathways can lead to a weaker immune system and aggravate HIV/AIDS, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Cadmium, for instance, cuts the production of helper T cells leading to a weak immune system. While lead slows down enzyme activities, and mercury attacks and damages the brain and the nervous system.

“We therefore ask the government to consider chemical safety as an integral part of the country’s HIV/AIDS intervention program and push for measures that will safeguard public health and the environment against toxic substances,” De Veyra said.

The EcoWaste Coaltion is also concerned with human exposure to nasty chemicals that can cause cancer (carcinogens), birth defects (teratogens), developmental defects (developmental/reproductive toxicants), hormonal interferences (endocrine disrupters) and other serious health problems.

Citing information on chemical body burdens from the non-profit US-based Coming Clean Network, the EcoWaste Coalition said that toxic chemicals can be prevented by 1) eliminating the most dangerous persistent chemicals that bioaccumulate, 2) developing alternative production methods that use non-toxic materials, and 3) ensuring that the precautionary approach is applied when it comes to chemicals released into the air, water, and soil.

The EcoWaste Coalition through its Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing Against Toxic Chemical Threats) promotes human and ecological health by raising awareness and action against harmful chemicals in processes, products and wastes.

-end-

Website of the Coming Clean Network: http://www.chemicalbodyburden.org/

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes Chemical Safety amid Rising HIV/AIDS Cases

Quezon City. Amid stern warning from health officials against potential HIV/AIDS “explosion,” a waste and pollution watchdog today pushed for vigorous action to prevent and control harmful chemicals that can further weaken and damage the immune system.

Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral and other officials have expressed concern over the alarming upsurge of HIV/AIDS cases that rose to 835 cases in 2009, the highest within a single year since 1984. The Philippines now has 4,424 reported cases of HIV/AIDS.

Reacting to the increased occurrence of HIV/AIDS in the country, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed the importance of preventing human exposure to toxic substances that are known to damage immunological functions and cause other serious health issues.

“A human body exposed to harmful chemicals will be more helpless against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).” said retired nurse Elsie Brandes-De Veyra of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“Harmful chemicals can have serious health effects, including damaging or killing cells, tissues and organs that protect the body from germs and other disease-causing invaders,” said De Veyra who also sits at the Philippine National AIDS Council and the Philippine Commission on Women.

Exposure to toxic chemicals such as, for example, cadmium, lead and mercury through inhalation, ingestion, dermal absorption and other pathways can lead to a weaker immune system and aggravate HIV/AIDS, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Cadmium, for instance, cuts the production of helper T cells leading to a weak immune system. While lead slows down enzyme activities, and mercury attacks and damages the brain and the nervous system.

“We therefore ask the government to consider chemical safety as an integral part of the country’s HIV/AIDS intervention program and push for measures that will safeguard public health and the environment against toxic substances,” De Veyra said.

The EcoWaste Coaltion is also concerned with human exposure to nasty chemicals that can cause cancer (carcinogens), birth defects (teratogens), developmental defects (developmental /reproductive toxicants), hormonal interferences (endocrine disrupters) and other serious health problems.

Citing information on chemical body burdens from the non-profit US-based Coming Clean Network, the EcoWaste Coalition said that toxic chemicals can be prevented by 1) eliminating the most dangerous persistent chemicals that bioaccumulate, 2) developing alternative production methods that use non-toxic materials, and 3) ensuring that the precautionary approach is applied when it comes to chemicals released into the air, water, and soil.

The EcoWaste Coalition through its Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing Against Toxic Chemical Threats) promotes human and ecological health by raising awareness and action against harmful chemicals in processes, products and wastes.


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

03 February 2010

Green Group Backs “Basura-Free” Polls, Asks “Gibo” to Campaign Green

Quezon City. The environmental advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition has thrown its support behind an inter-agency drive to prevent and reduce campaign trash as the official campaign period for national positions and party-list groups commences on February 9.

The EcoWaste Coalition has conveyed its support to the “Basura-Free Elections 2010” to be launched by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in partnership with the Commission on Elections, Department of Interior and Local Government, National Solid Waste Management Commission, and the Philippine Information Agency.

Being a government-led initiative, the EcoWaste Coalition expects no less than former Defense Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, Jr., the pro-administration presidential bet, to lead and extend all out support to greening the political campaign.

The EcoWaste Coalition in May last year launched a similar advocacy with the support of COMELEC Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armand Velasco and Leonard Leonida, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. and the Miss Earth Foundation.

“We support all initiatives that will encourage those seeking elective offices to plan and manage their campaign in an environmentally-responsible manner,” said Rei Panaligan, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We hope that well-meaning candidates will abide by the DENR-led drive to cut campaign trash,” he stated.

Adding that “as pro-government standard bearers, we expect Gibo Teodoro and his running mate Edu Manzano and their entire slate and machinery to commit themselves to campaigning clean as enunciated by the DENR, a government agency.”

“The people will be watching how politicos and groups of every political hue will honor or trash Mother Earth,” he emphasized.

The EcoWaste Coalition has put forward some guidelines that can help candidates, political parties and party-list groups campaign in a non-wasteful way.

To get started, the EcoWaste Coalition proposes that all those running for May 2010 polls should assign a person or team in the campaign structure who will be responsible for greening the campaign strategies and activities.

Candidates should refrain from using excessive campaign materials such as leaflets, pamphlets, posters, stickers, decals, cloth and tarpaulin streamers, and other campaign paraphernalia.

As much as possible, propaganda materials should be in post-consumer recycled paper and carry a friendly reminder that says “para sa ating kalusugan at kalikasan, huwag pong ikalat, itambak o sunugin” or its equivalent in local languages.

Candidates should refrain from using campaign materials that are hardly reused or recycled such as confetti, buntings and balloons, which often get burned or discarded in waterways, seas and dumpsites.

Politicos should spare the trees of propaganda materials that can harm and even kill them, and reject graffiti or vandalism to popularize themselves.

For litter-free campaign meetings, sorties and related activities, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends the following:

• Shun throwing confetti, exploding firecrackers or releasing balloons in campaign events.

• Refrain from using Styrofoam, plastic bags and other single-use containers for volunteers’ meals and drinks.

• Set up segregated waste bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards in campaign assemblies.

• Designate “eco-volunteers” to look after the bins and guide the public in the proper separation of their discards.

• Clean up right after the campaign event.

• Hire eco-aides to handle the segregated wastes for recycling and composting.

As per Commission on Elections (COMELEC) resolution 8646, the campaign period for Presidential, Vice-Presidential and Senatorial positions and for party-list groups taking part in the party-list system of representation will commence next Tuesday, 9 February 2010.

01 February 2010

Green Group Urges Consumers to Cut on Water Use and Waste

Quezon City. Following Malacanang’s order directing government agencies to implement water conservation measures, the environmental group EcoWaste Coalition today urged all consumers to do their share by cutting water use and waste.

The EcoWaste Coalition released its “Water Tipid Tips” in response to the declining level of water in Angat Dam, which provides 97% of Metro Manila’s raw water supply, due to the El Niño phenomenon.

The “tips” were contributed by environmental leaders and activists belonging to Alaga LAHAT, Buklod Tao, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Global Legal Action on Climate Change, Health Care Without Harm, Krusada sa Kalikasan, Maskara-Green Stage Filipinas, Miriam PEACE, Mother Earth Foundation, Sanib Lakas ng mga Aktibong Lingkod ng Inang Kalikasan, Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Sining Yapak and the EcoWaste Coalition’s Secretariat.

As a first step, the environmentalists emphasized the need to check and repair at once all leaking faucets, pipes, tanks and toilets to stop wasting water.

They likewise stressed the value of recycling wastewater, or what is also referred to as “graywater” from bathing, laundering, cooking and washing dishes, which can be used to water the plants, wash cars, rags, floors and tiles, clean the garage and to flush the toilet.

They further highlighted the need to harvest rainwater that can be easily done by placing a drum to the end of the alulod (gutter drain spout), but ensuring that the container is fully covered to prevent breeding of dengue mosquitoes.

Conserving water is not only a knee-jerk response to the dry spell, but an essential one to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gases from the use of fossil fuels used to pump out and deliver water into our homes and neighborhoods, the EcoWaste Coalition stated.

Here are the 20 “Water Tipid Tips” of the EcoWaste Coalition:


1. Every little drip counts. Repair faucet leaks. Replace worn out sapatilya (washers) and fix all leaky pipes, water containers and toilet tanks.

2. Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth, shave, or wash your face and hands. Use a glass of water when brushing your teeth.

3. Take shorter showers and turn off the tap when soaping or shampooing. Use timba (pail) and tabo (dip) when taking a bath and use just enough water.

4. Place a brick, a jug with stones or a bottle filled with water inside the toilet tank to cut on water used in every flush.

5. Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Put discarded tissues in the bin rather than in the toilet bowl.

6. Collect water dripping from air conditioners; use it to wash your mop, water the plants or flush the toilet.

7. Reuse towels and wear clothes such as pants twice or more before washing.

8. Organize your laundry schedule and wait until you have a full load before you use the washing machine.

9. Use laundry water for cleaning used bottles, cans and other recyclables, blinds, rugs, doormats, and car wheels.

10. Keep a bucket in the bathroom and laundry area for the grey water. Use this water to flush your toilet, clean the laundry area and car port or to dampen dusty road.

11. Use the walis tingting (broomstick), not the water hose, to sweep the driveway or footpath clean.

12. Wash fruits and vegetables in a palanggana (pan) instead of running water from the tap; reuse the water for watering the plants.

13. Do not throw rice wash down the drain; use it for washing dishes or watering plants.

14. Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator overnight, not on running water.

15. Use fewer cooking and dining utensils and dishes to cut down on the water needed for dishwashing.

16. When boiling water, fill the kettle with just enough for your needs.

17. Never waste water served during meals; drink it up!

18. Don’t let the water run when you wash the dishes by hand, and collect the graywater for other purposes.

19. Water your plants after 5:00 pm when temperature is cooler to minimize evaporation. Water them only when necessary. Spread a layer of mulch around plants and trees to retain water and reduce evaporation.

20. Harvest rainwater through the alulod (gutter) and use the water collected for your essential needs.