11 November 2015

Toxics Watchdog Urges 2016 Political Aspirants to Integrate Chemical Safety in their Platforms


The EcoWaste Coalition, a watchdog group on wastes and toxic chemicals, urged aspiring public servants across the whole political spectrum to champion the right of all citizens, especially the most vulnerable populations, to chemical safety.

“As political parties, party list groups and independent contenders brace up for the election heat, we call on them to address the people’s right to live and work in a toxics-free environment in their
platforms,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“More often than not, politicians tend to put chemical and waste issues at the bottom of their campaign priorities and promises, if at all,” she observed.

“Needless to say, we need champions at all levels of the government who will initiate and support policy initiatives that will reduce human exposure to hazardous and toxic chemicals and wastes,” she
added.

With the adoption by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of “The People’s Right to Chemical Safety: A Fifteen-Point Human Rights Agenda,” the EcoWaste Coalition expressed confidence that politicians and their advisers will pay more attention to chemical and waste issues, which affect everyone, but especially the vulnerable sectors.

According to the CHR, among the most affected vulnerable sectors are women of child-bearing age, children, elderly, indigenous, peoples, farmers, workers, persons with disabilities, and persons with chemical sensitivities.

Adopted on November 14, 2014, the CHR advisory aims “to serve as guide in the matter of the people’s right to chemical safety… with toxics-free society as our ultimate goal.”

According to the CHR, the “15-point human rights agenda on chemical safety, by and large, reflect the paramount importance of applying the principles of precaution, pollution prevention, public participation, polluter pays, sustainable development, environmental justice and other key elements of chemical safety such as green design, toxic use reduction and substitution, ‘no data, no market,’ and freedom of information.”

The CHR emphasized the need for “health-based and human rights-based policies on chemicals” and provided recommendations, including promoting chemical accident prevention and preparedness, zero waste resource management, ban on toxic waste trade, as well as chemical safety in agriculture, healthcare and workplace.

“We hope that all presidential candidates and their respective slates will find it imperative to study, embrace and even bolster CHR’s chemical safety agenda and contribute to its realization from words to deed,” Lucero said.

Lucero confirmed that the EcoWaste Coalition has started popularizing the CHR’s chemical safety agenda among public interest groups in Mindanao and then in the Visayas.

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