09 September 2014

Zero Waste Advocates to Visit Pioneering Lamp Waste Recycling Project



Photos by EcoWaste Coalition showing current disposal practice for mercury-containing lamp waste in Metro Manila and elsewhere.

Civil society advocates for public health and zero waste will visit a facility that is expected to advance the environmentally-sound management of mercury-containing lamp waste.
 
On Wednesday, September 10, a 12-person delegation from the EcoWaste Coalition will visit the Lamp Waste Management Faciity (LWMF) in Taguig City, which is operated by the Department of Energy (DOE) during the pilot phase.

The “lakbay-aral” is organized by the EcoWaste Coalition’s Clean Production Committee in coordination with DOE’s Energy Research and Testing Laboratory Services under Director Amelia de Guzman.

“We are keen to see how discarded fluorescent lamps can be safely recycled through the LWMF to ensure that their mercury content does not poison waste workers, the environment and the food chain,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Joining the “lakbay-aral” are members of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Secretariat,  Ban Toxics,  Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm,
International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT)-Philippines, International POPs Elimination Network, Mother Earth Foundation, Nagkakakaisang Mananambakan  sa Dumpsite Area, and Zero Waste Philippines.

Early this year, the EcoWaste Coalition published a photo investigative report entitled “The Toxic Silence of the Lamps” illustrating how busted or spent lamps are unsafely disposed of in Metro Manila’s 17 local government units, and the need for a practical system for the safe collection, storage and recycling of such lamps.

According to the report, “the indiscriminate disposal of busted or spent fluorescent lamps as common trash  is not only polluting the surroundings, but is also exposing waste handlers, informal recyclers and the  public to mercury, a potent neurotoxin, which can lead to acute and chronic intoxication even at low  levels of exposure.”


The group submitted the report to the DOE, as well as to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), to push for the speedy implementation of an extended producer responsibility system for lighting products under the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2013-09-2001 of the two departments.
 
The DOE purchased the LWMF equipment in 2013 from the Mercury Recovery Technology (MRT) System International based in Karlskrona, Sweden for US$1.37 million, inclusive of taxes and customs duties.

The facility is comprised of a lamp processor, high-density discharge processor, batch process distiller, drying oven and vapor monitor.

The LWMF, according to the DOE, is “a facility where all spent mercury-containing lamps shall undergo recycling to recover mercury and other by-products (to) avert residual mercury from entering the food chain through landfill leaching into ground water.”

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