01 March 2014

Toxics Policy Expert from Australia Visiting the Philippines

A policy specialist on chemical and waste issues from Australia is coming to the Philippines as resource person of the environmental health and justice watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition.

The environmental watchdog has invited Mr. Lee Bell of Western Australia to share his scientific and technical expertise and campaigning experience on waste-to-energy, incineration and other pollution issues  in a series of fora and meetings from March 4 to 7 in Quezon City and Cebu City.

Bell, who holds a master's degree in ecologically sustainable development from Murdoch University, has been involved in environmental research and campaign for around 25 years, working with communities impacted by contaminated sites, running campaigns to seek clean-ups and compensation and amend poor legislation.

Bell has provided advice on environmental legislation to members of the state and federal Parliament, and contributed to the work of the Hazardous Waste Act Policy Reference Group, National Pollution Inventory Reference Group, Stockholm Convention Reference Group and the National Dioxin Program.  He is also a participant of the Dioxin Expert Working Group of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Bell has extensive experience in community consultation on domestic and hazardous waste processes and policies running a three-year program as co-chair of the Core Consultative Committee on Waste or "3C" process in Western Australia, which began after a devastating chemical fire and other industrial incidents in the state.

The process included wide-ranging consultation among community, industry, government and interest groups and successfully developed some of the world's most stringent siting criteria and technology criteria for treating hazardous wastes. The process excluded any form of incineration or landfill and incorporated stringent European guidelines for waste handling, classification, treatment and recycling

Bell has also worked with the Alliance for a Clean Environment (Western Australia), National Toxics Network (Australia) and IPEN (a global civil society network for a toxics-free future), contributing technical and strategic advice on campaigns related to contaminated sites, waste incineration, e-waste, persistent organic pollutants and toxic metals.

Bell has worked with IPEN as lead author on the UNEP report, "Study on the Possible Effects on Human Health and the Environment in Asia and the Pacific of the Trade of Products containing Lead, Cadmium and Mercury" 2011.

More recently , Bell worked with groups across the globe in drafting of the IPEN Minamata Declaration on Toxic Metals that was finalized for the signing on the new global Mercury Treaty in October 2013 and is currently undertaking an update to an important publication called "An NGO Introduction to Mercury Pollution."

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