30 November 2016

Manila North Cemetery Crematorium Stops Operation Pending Compliance with Environmental Requirements (Manila Commits to Make Crematorium Compliant with Clean Air Act and Other Regulations)

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watch group,  lauded the decision by Manila’s health authorities to stop the operation of the Manila North Cemetery Crematorium pending the implementation of required interventions to ensure compliance with Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act.

“The suspension of the crematorium’s activities will give the Manila City Government the opportunity to legalize its operation and undertake essential pollution mitigation measures to meet key environmental regulations,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We will keenly watch how Manila will mitigate the pollution from the city’s crematory to protect the public health and environment, especially in the adjacent communities” she added.   

At the Technical Conference held yesterday, November 29, at the office of the Environmental Management Bureau – National Capital Region (EMB-NCR) with the complainant EcoWaste Coalition and respondent Manila North Cemetery Crematorium in attendance, Clemente San Gabriel, Jr., Chief of the Sanitation Division of the  Manila City Health Department committed to undertake a six-point set of corrective measures.

These corrective measures include the following:

1.Stop the crematorium’s operation until such time the necessary repair is completed to control  emissions to acceptable levels.
2. Renew the Permit to Operate (PO), and comply with the submission of quarterly Self-Monitoring Reports (SMRs).
3. Improve the smoke stack to meet the required standards within 45 days.
4. Assign an accredited Pollution Control Officer.
5. Register as a Hazardous Waste Generator.
6. File a reply to the Notice of Violation (NOV) within 10 days.

The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier lodged a complaint at the EMB-NCR against the facility for emitting black smoke and for operating without a valid PO. 

Responding to the group’s complaint, the EMB-NCR personnel conducted a field investigation on November 7, which provided the basis for an NOV issued by Regional Director Vizminda Osorio on November 25.

The NOV, among other things, cited the facility’s violation of R.A. 8749, specifically for operating an air pollution source installation without a valid PO that expired on May 13, 2014, for not submitting the required SMRs since 2009 and for emitting black smoke into the surroundings.

The crematorium was also found in breach of DENR Administrative Order 2013-22 for failing to register as a hazardous waste generator since the facility generates mercury-containing fluorescent lamp waste.   
Pursuant to R.A. 8479 and the DENR Department Administrative Order 2013-22, offenders shall be fined in the amount of P10,000 but not more than P100,000 for every count of violation, the NOV stated.

“It’s most important for the Manila crematorium to clean up its acts considering the proposal to establish more state-funded crematories nationwide. Other local government units will surely look up to this facility as a good or bad example,” Lucero said.

House Bill 135 filed by Ako Bicol Party-List Representative Rodel Batocabe, along with Representatives Christopher Co and Alfredo Garbin, Jr., seeks the establishment of more crematorium facilities in the country to address the prohibitive cost of customary burial. 


EcoWaste Coalition: Marcos Not A Hero!

We, environmental leaders and activists belonging to EcoWaste Coalition, lament and deplore the burial of dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani last 18 November 2016.

The shameless burial of tyrant Marcos in the pantheon honoring the nation’s heroes and patriots is a gross disrespect and insult to the countless Filipino women and men of courage who toppled the dictatorship and restored our rights and freedoms as a sovereign people.

We reject the hero’s burial for despot Marcos who saddled our people with odious debts, looted our national coffers and engaged in environmentally destructive development projects, including the infamous Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

As green advocates and defenders of our Mother Earth, we stand in unity with other sectors in upholding democracy, human rights, justice and truth and call upon the Filipino people to make a stand in pursuit of such values amid the challenging times.
Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition/IDEAS
Rene Pineda, Secretary, EcoWaste Coalition/CRSF
Mon San Pascual, Treasurer, EcoWaste Coalition/HCWH
Froi Grate, Auditor, EcoWaste Coalition/GAIA
Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition
Von Hernandez, Founding Convenor, EcoWaste Coalition
Manny C. Calonzo, Former President, EcoWaste Coalition
Joey C. Papa, Bangon Kalikasan Movement
Noli Abinales, Buklod Tao
Ochie Tolentino, Cavite Green Coalition
Yeb Saño, Greenpeace SEA (Philippines)
Albert Gavino, Green Stage Filipinas Maskara
Sonia Mendoza, Mother Earth Foundation
Tootsie Moreno-Vicente, Mother Earth Foundation
Marie R. Marciano, Saniblakas para sa Inang Kalikasan (SALIKA)
Dr. Ma. Encarnita B. Limpin, FCTC Alliance Philippines (FCAP)
Rommel R. Arriola, Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) Philippines
Beau Baconguis
Thony Dizon
Merci Ferrer
Cherry Pareja
Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos

29 November 2016

Consumer Groups Push for Issuance of IRR for Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act

Two public interest consumer groups today pressed for the immediate issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for a landmark toy and game safety labeling law enacted in 2013.

In a joint press statement, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Laban Konsyumer, Inc. emphasized the need to enforce Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, by promulgating its Implementing Rules and Regulations without further delay. 

R.A. 10620, a consolidation of House Bill No. 6529 and Senate Bill No. 3367, was passed by both chambers on June 5, 2013.  Then President Benigno S. Aquino III approved it on September 3, 2013.

“The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in consultation with the Department of Health (DOH), duly completed the IRR for R.A. 10620 some time in 2015, which was subsequently submitted to the respective department secretaries for approval.  With the yuletide season upon us, we hope that the authorities would fast track its promulgation for the sake of our children’s safety and well-being,” said Atty. Victor Dimagiba, former DTI Undersecretary and President of Laban Konsyumer, Inc.  

“The continued proliferation of misbranded and mislabeled toys in the market, including those that contain undisclosed hazardous chemicals, justifies the immediate issuance of R.A. 10620’s IRR.  Its promulgation will be an excellent Christmas gift that the Duterte administration can give to all children across the country,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.  

“The enforcement of the general and specific labeling requirements for toys and games manufactured, imported, exported, donated, distributed and sold in the country will go a long way in protecting our children against unsafe toys that can harm their minds and bodies,” he added.

According to Section 2 of R.A. 10620, “the State recognizes that children, by reason of their physical and mental immaturity, need special safeguard and care. The State acknowledges its obligation to secure the right of children to proper care and special protection from all forms of neglect and other conditions prejudicial to their development.” 

“Towards this end, the State shall ensure the protection of children against potential hazards to their health and safety by requiring special labeling of toys and games. To guarantee the rights of children to protection and safety, the State shall provide a means of redress for violation of said rights,” it emphasized.

R.A. 10620 imposes a fine of not less than P10,000 but not more than P50,000, or imprisonment of three months to two years, or both, for any person found to be in breach of the law’s requirements.

The law requires the DTI to regularly publish every six months, the list of all manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers who failed to comply with the requirements of R.A. 10620.

Likewise, the law requires the DOH to publish every six months, the list of all misbranded or banned hazardous substances the sale, offer for sale and distribution of which shall not be allowed under R.A. 10620.



27 November 2016

EcoWaste Coalition Urges Erap to Rectify Environmental Pollution from Manila Crematorium

A waste and pollution watch group has urged the administration of Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada to initiate urgent measures that will make the Manila North Cemetery Crematorium compliant with Republic Act 8749, the Clean Air Act.

The EcoWaste Coalition sought Estrada’s help in improving the facility after obtaining confirmation from the Environmental Management Bureau – National Capital Region (EMB-NCR) last Friday, November 25, that the facility has no valid Permit to Operate.

The group had earlier notified Estrada that the crematorium’s Permit to Operate issued by the EMB-NCR on May 13, 2009 had expired on May 13, 2014.  The Clean Air Act, which then President Estrada signed into a law in 1999, requires all sources of air pollution covered by this law to have a valid Permit to Operate.

Photos taken by the group on October 25 and November 5 this year and submitted to both the Office of Mayor Estrada and the EMB-NCR showed thick dark smoke being emitted from the crematorium’s stack.

“While we have no idea on the actual toxicity of the gaseous emissions coming from the crematorium stack at the time when the photos were taken, studies have shown that crematories discharge various types of environmental pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, dioxins, furans, formaldehyde and mercury vapor, as well as minuscule particulate matters,” wrote Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition’s National Coordinator, to Estrada.   

“We are particularly concerned that mercury, a neurotoxin, is being emitted into the atmosphere from the dental amalgam of deceased persons being cremated,” she added. 

According to the “Mercury Inventory and Assessment in the Philippines” published by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the total mercury output or emission from crematoria is 1,530 kg of mercury per year.  This constitutes 0.65% of the 234,031 kg of mercury emitted to the country’s environment from different source categories.

“We bring this matter to your urgent attention as the crematory may be operating in a manner that is jeopardizing the health of facility workers and other Manileños,” Lucero told Estrada.

The stack emissions may be affecting candle and flower vendors in the vicinity, the commuters passing through the Blumentritt Road, Dimasalang St. and Aurora Boulevard and residents of Barangay 370 and other downwind neighborhoods, as well as the Chinese General Hospital and Chinese General Hospital Colleges, the group observed.

Based on the probe conducted by the EMB-NCR in response to the notification made by the EcoWaste Coalition, the Manila North Cemetery Crematorium violated Section 1, Rule X1X of RA 8749 for operating its cremation furnace without a valid Permit to Operate and for its failure to submit self-monitoring reports of its emission rates.

The facility also violated Section 2, Rule XXV for emitting black smoke comparable to Shade No. 4 on the Ringelmann Chart, which is a scale used for comparing the density of smoke rising from stacks.

The facility was also found to be in violation of Section 3, Chapter 3.3.3 of DENR  Administrative Order 2013-22 for failure to register as hazardous waste generator, and Section 11 of DENR Administrative Order 2014-02 for failure to designate a Pollution Control Officer and to apply for his/her accreditation.  

"Upgrading the Manila North Cemetery Crematorium and making it compliant with the Clean Air Act will be consistent with Mayor Estrada's desire to clean up the capital.  The right to breathe clean air is a fundamental right that must be protected," the EcoWaste Coalition noted.  

Estrada last week said that he envisions a clean and orderly Manila to be his legacy when he retires from public service.


16 November 2016

Waste and Pollution Watch Group Bucks BNPP Revival

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit watch group on waste and pollution issues, urged the government to junk the plan to activate the “monster of Morong,” a monicker for the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

“We urge our policy makers not to wake up the sleeping ‘monster of Morong’ from its 40-year slumber.  It’s better to keep the plant idle rather than to create a highly toxic problem that our nation cannot handle,” said clean air and renewable energy advocate Rene Pineda of the EcoWaste Coalition.

On top of the safety issues that have haunted the controversial facility, Pineda pointed to the country’s lack of capacity to manage the plant’s byproduct nuclear waste if ever it is operated.

“How do BNPP pushers intend to manage, store and dispose of the tons of highly toxic waste that will be generated when we cannot even effectively deal with our ordinary household discards?,” he asked.

“Where will they store the radioactive waste that is totally secured from any seismic or volcanic damage knowing that the BNPP is sited on an earthquake fault line and near Mt. Natib, a potentially active volcano?,” he further asked,

“Nuclear waste disposal is a huge problem even in highly industrialized countries like the USA,” he pointed out.

The Union of Concerned Scientists based inUSA has warned that  “the resulting waste disposal problem has become a major challenge for policymakers”  as “nuclear fuel remains dangerously radioactive for thousands of years after it is no longer useful in a commercial reactor.”

According to Greenpeace USA,“there is still no safe, reliable solution for dealing with the radioactive waste produced by nuclear plants. Every waste dump in the U.S. leaks radiation into the environment, and nuclear plants themselves are running out of ways to store highly radioactive waste on site.”

While reiterating its opposition against nuclear energy – dubbed as the most costly and most dangerous source of power-- the EcoWaste Coalition renewed its support for clean energy sources that are safe, non-toxic, climate-friendly and sustainable.

“Instead of going nuclear, the Philippines should go all-out for clean, safe and renewable energy sources that are plentiful in our country,” it said.

Considering the Duterte government’s commitment to freedom of information, the group likewise appealed to the  authorities to publicly disclose the results of a confidential study on the BNPP commissioned by the government in 1988-92. 

The study purportedly did not support the activation of the plant due to safety issues.


14 November 2016

Animal Welfare and Environmental Health Groups Join Forces vs. Firecrackers (Groups Appeal to Families: Protect Animals against Firecrackers)

CARA's "ambassadogs" Ginger (left) and Kimchi (right) tell humans that firecrackers hurt them, too. 

Civil society groups engaged in promoting animal welfare and environmental health today issued a common plea in anticipation of the usual firecracker-related New Year’s mayhem.

Their plea to all citizens regardless of economic or social status: Usher in the New Year sans deafening explosion and toxic pollution from firecrackers that could harm not only homo sapiens, but other animals, too.  

Speaking with one voice, the Animal Kingdom Foundation, Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA Welfare Philippines), Combined Animal Rescue Endeavor (CARE), Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the EcoWaste Coalition expressed optimism that families, especially households that have dogs, cats and other pets, would heed their plea and steer clear of firecrackers.

“It is common knowledge that animals, particularly cats and dogs, are easily terrified of loud bangs from firecrackers.  Because of their acute sense of hearing, what is loud to us, humans, is deafening to them.  With the warlike detonation of firecrackers, it is not hard to imagine the terror that our furry friends have to go through, especially on New Year’s eve.  They tremble with fear while we enjoy the boisterous festivity,” said Anna Cabrera, Executive Director of PAWS, a group that seeks “to prevent cruelty, alleviate paint, fear and suffering in animals.” 

“New Year is sadly a very stressful time for our pets,” observed educator Eric Suguitan, a speaker for CARA Welfare Philippines, which envisions “an animal compassionate country where all cats and dogs have good homes.”  “Besides the ear-piercing noise pollution, bursting firecrackers can make them very nervous.  Canine and feline anxiety to flashing lights and loud noises can lead to loss of appetite, stomach upset and decreased sense of direction.”

“Igniting firecrackers supposedly to drive away bad luck, by all indications, is cruel and traumatic to animals.  This horrific ordeal is not the way to reward dogs -- affectionately called as man’s best friend -- cats and other pets,” said Atty. Heidi Caguioa, legal counsel of AKF, which is in the forefront of the campaign against dog meat trade.

CARE for its part is calling on local governments to pass ordinances banning fireworks in order to prevent deaths and injuries and to protect the health of humans and animals. Merci Ferrer, spokesperson for CARE, noted that “the physical and psychological harm is not only inflicted on humans and their animal companions but also for many stray dogs and cats that require our urgent attention, as well as wildlife.” 

“The pain inflicted on animals due to the firecracker craze is real and warrants greater attention,” noted Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.   “Firecracker-related human injuries and deaths are monitored and reported every year, but seldom do we hear about the plight of animal victims. It is time to know and unravel the facts.  How many dogs and cats suffered from temporary or permanent hearing difficulties due to firecrackers?  How many got injured or killed?  How many have gone astray and were reported as missing?,”  she added.

AKF, CARA Welfare Philippines, CARE, PAWS and the EcoWaste Coalition believed that the adverse impact of firecrackers to the health and safety of animals provides another compelling reason why tougher regulations should be enforced to curb the senseless firecracker-related damage to life, limb, property and the environment at large.

On December 28, the groups will stage an advocacy parade to reiterate their plea against the detonation of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices for the sake of animals, including homo sapiens.


11 November 2016

EcoWaste Coalition Warns Consumers vs. Unregistered Cosmetics with Unauthorized FDA Logo

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit environmental group tracking harmful substances in products and wastes, advised consumers to shun unregistered cosmetics that may pose health and safety hazards to users.

The group repeated its call for consumer vigilance against such cosmetics after finding three types of unregistered face powder makeup with the logo of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the packaging.

“The FDA logo on the packaging gives the impression that the items have passed through the required cosmetic product notification scheme.  Impulsive buyers would think these products are safe to use.  It’s totally misleading as these products are marketed without authorization from the FDA,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.  

“The deceitful use of the FDA logo should not sway consumers from buying these potentially harmful products,” he reiterated.

Dizon was referring to the following unregistered cosmetics that the group obtained from Stall 1E-22 at the Divisoria Mall in Manila:  A&W Silky Pressed Powder (P22 each), A&W Two-Way Cake (P22 each) and A&W Wet & Dry Application Powder (P30 each).

The above cosmetics, which are “made in China” according to the labels, provided no information about their manufacturer, importer or distributor, as well as their ingredients.

Health authorities have time and again reminded consumers that “all cosmetic products that do not pass the FDA safety and quality evaluation do not comply with the requirements of the Code of Good Manufacturing Practice.”

Dizon agreed saying that “the dozens of lipsticks and skin whitening creams that we have found to be contaminated with dangerous levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury have no FDA market authorization.” 

FDA Memorandum Circular 2013-030 prohibits the “use of the FDA logo, the words “Food and Drug Administration” or “Philippine FDA,” the initials “FDA,” or any imitation of such words, initials or logo in print and other forms of broadcast media… in connection with any health product or merchandise… that convey that such use is approval, endorsement or authorization by the FDA.”

The EcoWaste Coalition has already alerted the FDA about the misuse of the agency’s logo in the said A&W products through an e-mail sent to the Center for Cosmetic Regulation and Research.


Additional Information:

1. A & W Silky Pressed Powder (No Product Notification)
Variant 5572 is not listed in CPN NN-1000000941731, which only covers variants 5573 (NO.1), 5573 (NO.2), 5573 (NO.3) (same variants listed in CPN NN-1000000940174).  No manufacturer, importer or distributor information. No list of ingredients.  No manufacturing and expiry dates.

2. A & W Two-Way Cake (No Product Notification):

Variant 5540 is listed in CPN NN-20140325091050 , but the listed product name is different (A&W Two Way Face Powder with UV Protection, not A & W Two-Way cake).  No manufacturer, importer or distributor information. No list of ingredients.

3. A & W Wet & Dry Application Powder (No Product Notification)

Variant 5547 is not listed in CPN NN-1000000940174, which only covers variants 5573 (NO.1), 5573 (NO.2), 5573 (NO.3).  No manufacturer, importer or distributor information. No list of ingredients.

08 November 2016

EcoWaste Coalition Urges Duterte Government to Ratify the Mercury Treaty as Well

While commending the government’s decision to finally ratify the Paris Agreement, which entered into force on November 4, 2016, a waste and toxic watch group reminded President Rodrigo Roa Duterte not to forget the other treaty awaiting for his signature.

Following the decision by the Cabinet to ratify the Paris Agreement, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the Duterte administration to also ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which the Philippine government signed on October 10, 2013.  Then Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje signed the treaty at a diplomatic conference held in Kumamoto, Japan

The treaty named after Minamata, a Japanese city where severe mercury pollution from an industrial source poisoned thousands of people, provides for controls and reductions across a range of products, processes and industries where mercury is used, released or emitted.  

The DENR, particularly the Environmental Management Bureau, actively participated in the three-year international negotiation of the Minamata Convention, noted the EcoWaste Coalition. The DENR has prepared a Ratification Dossier for the said treaty with assistance from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and the Swiss Confederation.

As of today, only 33 out of the 128 countries that signed the Minamata Convention have ratified it.  It will enter into force 90 days after the 50th ratification.  

“We support the DENR in pushing for the government ratification of the Minamata Convention and in obtaining the concurrence of the Senate.  Thus we appeal to President Duterte and his Cabinet to ratify it and back its early implementation, with full participation of public interest groups, to protect the public health and environment from toxic mercury pollution,” stated Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“To be among the first 50 countries to ratify the mercury treaty will bring honor and recognition to our nation and people,” she added.

According to the Ratification Dossier, by implementing restrictions on the importation and use of mercury and mercury-containing products, the Minamata Convention will reduce the amount of mercury consumption in the country, and therefore, minimize their subsequent release and adverse effects to the environment.

The implementation of the Minamata Convention will also increase public awareness on the effects of mercury exposure to human health and the environment, as well as on economically-viable alternatives, the dossier explained.

Yoichi Tani, representative of the Collaboration Center for Minamata Disease Victims, who visited Manila last month, had earlier encouraged governments in Asia and the Pacific to ratify the mercury treaty.

“As we have painfully experienced in Minamata, mercury emissions and releases can gravely contaminate the ecosystems and seriously harm public health, especially the health of vulnerable groups such as women and children.  Action is needed on a global scale to prevent Minamata disease from destroying lives and causing terrible human sufferings.  This is why it is important for governments to ratify the treaty,” he said.

As stated in the preamble of the Minamata Convention, parties “recogniz(e) the substantial lessons of Minamata Disease, in particularly the serious health and environmental effects resulting from the mercury pollution, and the need to ensure proper management of mercury and the prevention of such events in the future.”

“Mercury and its various compounds have a range of serious health impacts, including brain and neurological damage, especially among the young,“ according to the United Nations Environment Programme.




07 November 2016

EcoWaste Coalition Finds Dubious Christmas Lights without ICC Stickers in Divisoria (Watch Group Warns Consumers vs. Hazards in Buying Substandard Christmas Lights)

The EcoWaste Coalition today cautioned consumers against buying Christmas lights and lighting chains that may pose serious threat to public health and safety.

The non-profit citizens’ watch group likewise urged consumers to invoke their right to product safety as popular Christmas decorations such as holiday lights enjoy brisk sales in Divisoria, the country’s top shopping hub for cheap goods.

“We remind consumers to be extra vigilant in buying seasonal items such as Christmas lights as some of these products have not undergone safety evaluation and may cause electric shock, fire and chemical exposure,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“For the safety of your family and the environment, please do invoke your right to be protected against harmful and poor quality products, which is guaranteed by the Constitution, all the time,” he emphasized.

Section 9 of Article XVI of the Constitution declares: “The State shall protect consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard or hazardous products.”

As part of the group’s campaign for a healthy and eco-friendly Christmas, the group last Sunday purchased Christmas lights from street and mall vendors in Divisoria to check if holiday lighting products conform with the regulatory requirements.

Pursuant to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) Product Certification Scheme, importers of Christmas lights are required to obtain an Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) certificate before putting their products for sale in the domestic market.  

The BPS last September 2, 2016 also issued Memorandum Circular 16-04 reminding importers that “to ensure that all Christmas lights/lighting chains are affixed with the appropriate ICC stickers or Philippine Standard certification mark before distribution in the local market.”

Out of the nine samples of Christmas lights procured by the group for P50 to P250 per set, none had a valid ICC hologram sticker.

Two of these products are included in the list of valid ICC certificates and stickers for Christmas lights issued by the DTI as of October 6, 2016 and could be counterfeit goods.  

None of the products gave information about their importers or distributors, which is important, especially if the consumer is to file a complaint and seek redress.

Out of nine samples, three  indicated voltage and wattage specifications, and four gave instructions for safe use.

Furthermore, the EcoWaste Coalition revealed that eight samples contained lead above the 1,000 parts per million (ppm) limit under the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS).

The top five products with the highest levels of lead based on the X-Ray Fluorescence screening conducted by the group were:

1.  Lucky House, 8,783 ppm
2.  Round Bead Lights, 7,188 ppm
3.  100% Copper Wire, 6,159 ppm
4.  Seven Star, 5,732 ppm
5.  JF, 5,681 ppm

These products would not be permitted for sale in Europe due to their non-compliance with RoHS, which limits the amount of lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, mercury, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in electronic and electrical equipment.

“The restricted materials are hazardous to the environment and pollute landfills, and are dangerous in terms of occupational exposure during manufacturing and recycling,” the RoHS warned.

Through a letter sent to the DTI-Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the government to take action against these non-compliant Christmas lights.

"As the public health and safety is at grave risk with the unlawful sale of substandard Christmas lights, we request your good office to undertake law enforcement action pursuant to the provisions of the DTI Administrative Order 2:2007, RA 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, and RA 4109 or the Product Standards Law," the group said..






06 November 2016

Environmentalists Back UNICEF’s Call for Action vs. Air Pollution for Children’s Health and Welfare

Local environmental leaders have aligned themselves with the call by UNICEF, the United Nations’ agency promoting the rights and well-being of every child, to cut air pollution for children’s health.

As the Clean Air Month is observed nationwide pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 1109, Series of 1997, representatives of the EcoWaste Coalition and the Partnership for Clean Air (PCA) backed UNICEF’s four-point call to “reduce air pollution, increase children’s access to health care, minimize children’s exposure and monitor air pollution.”

UNICEF last week released the report “Clear the Air for Children,” which “points out that around 300 million children live in areas where the air is toxic – exceeding international limits by at least six times – and that children are uniquely vulnerable to air pollution, breathing faster than adults on average and taking in more air relative to their body weight.”

The EcoWaste Coalition and PCA specifically drew attention to UNICEF’s warning that “open burning of waste is highly hazardous for public health.”

“The open burning of waste is a large source of toxic air pollutants such as particulates, carbon monoxide, black carbon, dioxins, furans and mercury. These are highly toxic and/or carcinogenic pollutants,” the UNICEF warned.

UNICEF also noted that “women and children often carry out hazardous disposal practices such as the open burning of waste in the absence of regular collection services.”  

On the other hand, “better waste management can reduce the amount of waste that is burned within communities,” the UNICEF said.

“We request our national and local authorities and the general public to actively back UNICEF’s call to clear the air for children’s health.  We call on all Filipinos not to add to the air pollutants in the environment by consuming responsibly, by reducing what we throw away and by not burning waste resources, which could be reused, recycled or composted instead,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.   

The genuine enforcement of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which bans the open dumping and open burning of trash, and the Clean Air Act, which bans the incineration of municipal, biomedical and hazardous wastes that emits poisonous and toxic fumes, will contribute tremendously to making the air safe to breathe for children and everyone else, the group said.  

For his part, Rene Pineda, President, PCA, said: “Aside from stopping waste burning in all its forms, action is needed to reduce air pollution from coal power plants and industrial facilities, as well as from vehicles, planes and ships.  Our children and their children will be better off if we invest more in zero waste resource management, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources rather than on fossil fuel combustion and waste-to-energy incineration.”

Pineda also stressed the need for the environmentally sound management of hazardous waste such as electronic waste or e-waste, which are often dismantled in uncontrolled conditions or burned to retrieve and recycle valuable materials such as aluminum, copper, iron, tin, etc. 

According to UNICEF, “children are more susceptible than adults to both indoor and outdoor air pollution as their lungs, brains and immune systems are still developing and their respiratory tracts are more permeable.” 

“The most disadvantaged, who already tend to have poorer health and inadequate access to health services, are the most vulnerable to the illnesses caused by polluted air,” it pointed out.

UNICEF said “studies have shown that air pollution is strongly associated with respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma, among others. It can also exacerbate underlying health issues and prevent children from going to school, and there is emerging evidence that it can disrupt physical and cognitive development.” 

“Left untreated, some health complications related to air pollution can last a lifetime,” it warned. 


PDI Editorial: Down and Dirty

Down and dirty
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:14 AM November 06, 2016

It’s common for Manila Bay to disgorge trash after a storm. When the rain dies down, the wind dissipates, and the churning waves are calmed, residents of and visitors to Manila are presented a most disagreeable sight: a mishmash of garbage that includes all the known detritus of human life, and then some. And the garbage trucks begin what has become routine, working well into the night: collecting and hauling the trash in long round-trips, ton upon ton of it.
As though to complete the theme of trash in this rainy season, the recent All Saints/Souls holidays were likewise sordidly marked: The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) hauled 168 truckloads, or 1,008 tons, of garbage from 23 resting places of the dead.
There seems to be no hope, and the Ecowaste Coalition, continuing its thankless mission of monitoring the metro’s level of squalor, was once again dismayed. Said its national coordinator Aileen Lucero: “The culture of throwing discards wherever and whenever it is convenient again spoiled our time-honored tradition of remembering our departed relatives. Many people still litter, rain or shine. The repeated reminders from government, church, and political and environmental leaders were no match for these hardened litterbugs.”
While the 168 truckloads appear to be an improvement from the reported whopping 308 truckloads in 2015, the number will most likely rise as it does not include the additional tonnage from the total cleanup operations up to yesterday, according to MMDA Metro Parkway Cleaning Group head Francis Martinez, as well as reports from the cities of Las Piñas, Malabon and Muntinlupa.
Of the 15 public and private cemeteries it monitored, the EcoWaste Coalition recorded “rampant littering” in the Bagbag Cemetery in Quezon City, Caloocan Public Cemetery in Caloocan City, Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, North Cemetery in Manila, and South Cemetery in Makati City.
Bagbag Cemetery was apparently the “most trashed.” It was, said Lucero, “the most pitiful sight we have seen during our ‘Undas’ trash monitoring this year.” In fact the EcoWaste Coalition identified it as among the dirtiest cemeteries in 2015, along with the North and South Cemeteries.
It’s the same old, down and dirty story of leftover food, disposable food and beverage containers, cigarette butts and soiled paper inundating what should be sacred grounds. The EcoWaste Coalition correctly points out that this liberal littering is senseless, inconsiderate, and dangerous to the health of the public, including the street sweepers and haulers who have to clean up the mess. Here’s EcoWaste Coalition campaigner Tin Vergara’s lament just last year: “Instead of leaving flowers and prayers, many cemetery visitors left their trash with no sense of environmental responsibility. Some may think doing this is tolerable as there are sweepers to clean up after them. We say this is not acceptable as littering desecrates the cemeteries and disrespects the dead as well as the living.”
Littering is the ugly side to Filipino religiosity, as witness the dismal aftermath of the yearly tumult that is the Black Nazarene procession, or “traslacion,” in Quiapo, Manila. One such “trash-lacion” generated 35 truckloads, or 367 tons, of garbage in only one day on a 7-kilometer stretch. To truly aggravate matters, some devotees damaged the portable toilets set up on Katigbak Street in the course of climbing over them to get a better view of the procession. And unbelievably, “despite the availability of portable toilets, we also found some plastic bottles filled with urine,” the EcoWaste Coalition’s Lucero said.
This is how bad it has become: As sure as sunrise, occasions of remembrance and piety are marked by the gross leavings of everyday existence. And we don’t seem to have a prayer that this wretched habit can be defeated.

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/99002/down-and-dirty#ixzz4PBkXRYXE
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02 November 2016

EcoWaste Coalition Decries Perpetual Undas Littering in Cemeteries (Bagbag Cemetery in QC Bags “Basurapamore” Tag)

Note:  All photos above were taken at Bagbag Cemetery, Quezon City on 1 November 2016.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a watch group on waste and pollution, lamented the throw-away culture that again typified the annual observance of Undas.

“The culture of throwing discards wherever and whenever it is convenient again spoiled our time-honored tradition of remembering our departed relatives,” noted Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Many people still litter, rain or shine. The repeated reminders from government, church, political and environmental leaders were no match for these hardened litterbugs,” she added.

Based on the group’s monitoring of 15 private and public cemeteries in Metro Manila and in Cavite and Rizal, many visitors failed to bring home their discards for proper recycling and disposal at home.

The group bewailed the rampant littering in the Caloocan Public Cemetery in Caloocan City, Manila North Cemetery in Manila City, Manila South Cemetery in Makati City, Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City and the Bagbag Cemetery in Quezon City. 

Bagbag Cemetery garnered the “Basurapamore” tag from the group for being the most littered among the 15 cemeteries visited by the group.  Photos of Bagbag’s littered tombs, streets and alleys, copies of which were furnished to the Office of Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, can be viewed at the EcoWaste blog (http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com)

“Bagbag cemetery was filled with rubbish strewn all over the place.  In many cases, we saw people sitting next to piles of garbage.  It was the most pitiful sight we have seen during our Undas trash monitoring this year,” lamented Lucero.   

In an e-mail sent this morning to Mayor Bautista, the group requested the Quezon City Government to hasten the completion of Bagbag Cemetery's development plan and to enforce  a suitable system for ecological waste management in next year's commemoration of Undas.

Among the discards typically left by cemetery visitors in Bagbag and other cemeteries were disposable food and beverage containers (both paper and plastic), food leftovers, snack packs, cigarette butts and soiled papers.  The food offerings for the deceased only added to the inadequate sanitation in most cemeteries.

Sidewalks, street corners, vacant lots and desolated graves became instant dumping grounds for uncaring visitors, the EcoWaste Coalition observed.

On the other hand, the group described as “generally clean” the Malabon and Tugatog Cemeteries in Malabon City, Loyola Memorial Park and Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City, Hagonoy, St. Anne and Tipas Cemeteries in Taguig City, Carmona Public Cemetery and Santuario de Carmona in Carmona, Cavite and the Angono Municipal Cemetery in Angono, Rizal.

“Littering in these cemeteries was by and large minimal.  Thanks to caring visitors who chose not to litter and not to abandon their discards in the hallowed grounds of the cemeteries,” Lucero said.  

The group commended local authorities, cemetery administrators and the Metro Manila Development Authority for deploying more street cleaners who worked round the clock to remove the trash off the streets and sidewalks.

“We also thank the waste pickers and the eco-volunteers from the Tzu Chi Foundation and other civic groups for collecting valuable recyclable materials such as PET bottles and aluminum and tin cans, which further reduce the quantity of trash requiring final disposal,” Lucero further said.

The EcoWaste Coalition insisted that it is unacceptable to leave trash, big or small, in the final resting place of the dead.

“It’s OK to leave flowers in the cemetery, but not garbage,” Lucero said.

“The rising cases of Aedes aegypti-related diseases such as the dreaded Zika virus infection should discourage everyone from recklessly throwing water-holding containers where mosquitoes can breed,” she added.