The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental watchdog with over 150 member groups nationwide, is deeply concerned with the reported dumping by MT Glenn Guardian of toxic liquid waste collected from visiting US naval ship Emory Land.
As reported by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Ecology Center, MT Glenn Guardian by the Malaysia-owned Glenn Defense Marine Asia dumped the untreated waste within the Philippine territory. Subsequent laboratory analysis of water samples by Subic Water and Sewerage Company showed high level of toxicity. The SBMA has yet to make public the exact results of the said water sampling.
In this regard, we specifically urge the SBMA, to disclose the full results of the water sampling it commissioned, ascertain with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) the environmental laws and standards violated, and file appropriate charges against the company. The SBMA, we hope, will remain vigilant and ensure the scandal is fully probed, formal charges lodged and just penalties meted out to the entity at fault.
Additionally, we suggest that concerned local government units (LGUs) to coordinate with the DENR and the SBMA and engage the citizens in the investigation, and if necessary, in filing the necessary action.
We reject the use of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to say that the SBMA has no jurisdiction to probe and act against the said toxic waste dumping incident. The defense that the VFA offers an exemption in cases like these should prompt a Senate review of the treaty. Does the agreement imply that US vessels or vessels contracted by the US government to service their ships can freely and without any encumbrances dump their toxic and possibly radioactive wastes in Philippine waters? We urge the Department of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Senate, to articulate their views on this matter - with the public health and the national sovereign interest in mind.
The deliberate disposal of waste at sea from ships and other vessels is most deplorable, and runs against the 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (or the London Convention) and its 1996 Protocol (or the London Protocol), which mandates that “all dumping is prohibited, except for possibly acceptable wastes” and "unless explicitly permitted."
In May 2012, the Philippine formally acceded to the London Protocol through the Instrument of Accession signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III and deposited to the International Maritime Organization. The London Protocol is binding on the Philippines effective on June 8, 2012.
We therefore urge the government to decisively act on MT Glenn Guardian’s toxic waste dumping, so that it does not happen again.