30 August 2017

Thousands to Join Pope Francis in Praying for the Care of Creation


Thousands of Filipino Catholics are expected to converge at the grounds of Burnham Green, Luneta Park this Friday, September 1, from 4:00-8:00 am, to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation as instituted by Pope Francis. The event will be highlighted with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 4:30 am, to be presided by His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

Dubbed as “Walk for Creation,” the event hopes to gather all people of goodwill to pray for and with creation, to encourage each other to live a simple lifestyle and to advocate to care and protect Earth, our Common Home.

The event is organized by the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM)-Pilipinas in cooperation with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-NASSA, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, Council of the Laity of the Philippines, Couples for Christ, Fellowship for the Care of Creation Association, Inc.,  Our Lady of Remedios Parish- Malate, Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc., Student Catholic Action of the Philippines,  Alyansa Tigil Mina, EcoWaste Coalition, Green Convergence,  Philippine Movement for Climate Justice and other faith and ecology groups.  Universities and schools like the  Adamson University, La Consolacion College Manila, Perpetual College, Philippine Women’s University and the St. Theresa’s College are also co-organizers of the event.

“We aim to promote and raise awareness about September 1 as ‘a significant occasion for prayer, reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate lifestyles’ as enunciated by Pope Francis in response to the ecological crisis that affects us all,” said Fr. John Leydon, Convener of GCCM-Pilipinas.

“It is our hope that this celebration will bring about unity, inspire one another and amplify the people’s commitment to take bold action together to hear both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor,” he added.

According to the Holy Father, “the annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

The observance of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation was instituted by Pope Francis in 2015 to mark the opening of the Season of Creation on September 1 as  has been the custom in the Orthodox Church since 1989.

This Friday’s “Walk for Creation” is a “zero waste” event.  As such, the organizers enjoin all participants to be mindful of their discards, which should be segregated and placed into their proper bins.



23 August 2017

Groups to ASEAN: Act on plastic pollution, push Zero Waste in the region

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – On the 50th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) celebrated this month, environmental groups urged the regional body to act on plastic pollution in the region.

“ASEAN member countries can stop plastic pollution and protect our oceans by instituting policies that will reduce the use of single-use disposable plastics, protecting the region’s borders from becoming dumping grounds of waste and polluting waste management technologies from other countries, and implementing ecological and real solutions to the waste crisis,” said Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) movement.

The groups urged the regional body to invest in Zero Waste solutions to drastically reduce demand and consumption of single-use disposable products and packaging.

“As demonstrated by many communities in Asian countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, China, South Korea, and India to name a few, Zero Waste is an economically-viable and sustainable solution to our region’s waste problem. But for it to work at the scale needed to solve the problem, we need our governments to promote and institutionalize it,” said Froilan Grate, Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).

Zero Waste is an ecological resource management and reduction model that involves waste separation at source, product redesign, and systematic waste collection and management.

In many Asian countries, Zero Waste may lean more heavily towards organic waste management because organics comprise more than 50% of the waste generated. Waste segregation allows households and communities to capture and manage different types of waste accordingly: recyclables are recycled and organics are managed through composting, biodigestion, and other methods of organics management.

What is left—the residual fraction—is then easier to see. Solutions for this fraction will be designed better to make sure that materials that can neither be truly recycled or composted are systematically reduced.

"By supporting ecological solutions, ASEAN governments not just turn around the issue of waste but also become global leaders and pave the way for creating lasting, climate-friendly, people-centered systems," Grate added.


Jed Alegado, +639176070248
Communications Officer – Asia Pacific
Break Free From Plastic Movement (BFFP)

Sherma Benosa, +63 9178157570
Communications Officer – Asia Pacific
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)


Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration. To learn more about GAIA, visit www.no-burn.org

Break Free From Plastic Movement (BFFP) is a global movement composed of various nongovernmental organizations working together to address plastic pollution. To learn more about BFFP, visit www.breakfreefromplastic.org.

18 August 2017

Waste Pickers Seek Inclusion in Formal Waste Management Systems

National and local authorities should acknowledge and tap the immense potentials of waste pickers and the rest of the thriving informal waste sector (IWS) in reducing the country’s garbage production estimated at 40,087 tons per day.

At a forum organized yesterday by zero waste advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition, the 60 informal recyclers in attendance drew attention to the sad plight of their often ignored sector, including the occupational health and safety hazards faced daily by the IWS, the lack of economic and social security, and the inadequate government support.

The participants from Caloocan, Malabon, Manila, Navotas, Quezon and Valenzuela Cities and Meycauayan and Obando, Bulacan hail from the different sub-groupings of the IWS such as waste pickers in dumpsites and garbage transfer stations, e-waste dismantlers, door-to-door waste collectors, and itinerant waste pickers.

“We created this opportunity for the IWS representatives from various communities to meet and find strength in each other’s experiences and aspirations,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. 

At the forum, the IWS representatives eagerly affirmed their common goal to have decent, safe and secure jobs and livelihoods, and access to basic social services, including low-cost housing for the poor.

They emphasized the importance of the IWS, who are waste experts in their own right, in the development and implementation of solid waste management strategies and plans from barangay to the national level.

To achieve this, the participants pressed for the recognition of the IWS and their representation at the barangay solid waste management committees, provincial, city and municipal solid waste management boards and the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC).

Engr. Eligio Ildenfonso, Executive Director of the NSWMC, told the participants:  “Huwag maliitin ang papel ninyo sa lipunan. May importanteng serbisyo kayo na dapat kilalanin ng mga pamahalaang lokal para mabawasan ang basurang itinatapon sa landfill na dapt ay latak lamang.” ("Do not underestimate your role in the society. You render an important service that local governments should recognize to reduce the volume of trash to be disposed of in landfills, which should be limited to residuals.)

Rey Palacio, also from the NSWMC, briefed the participants about the key features of the National Framework Plan for the Informal Sector in Solid Waste Management, as well as the National Solid Waste Management Strategy, in line with Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The forum also discussed the imminent threat to the IWS from waste disposal technologies that burn discards, including recyclables, in the guise of generating electricity.

“Our goal is to prevent recyclables from being wasted to feed the so-called waste-to-energy (WtE) incineration plants, undermining recycling efforts, and jeopardizing the economic livelihood of waste pickers and their families,” stressed Lora Abengoza, WtE Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The forum also sought to inform the IWS about the opportunities under Republic Act 10771, or the Green Jobs Act.

As discussed by Brenalyn Peji, Director of the Institute for Labor Studies of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), R.A. 10771 seeks to promote and incentivize green jobs such as jobs that help to protect the ecosystems and biodiversity, reduce energy, materials and water consumption, decarbonize the economy, and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution.

Aside from DOLE and the NSWMC, the forum was also attended by the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP).



16 August 2017

World’s First Health & Environment Global Treaty on Mercury Becomes International Law

The Minamata Convention, the world’s first legally binding global agreement to reduce mercury pollution, becomes International law on Wednesday, August 16th, 2017. Environmental health leaders from IPEN (a global network of NGOs in over 100 countries combatting toxic pollutants) celebrate the historical global health and environmental treaty and call on world governments to take the next steps to ensure “no more Minamatas.”

The treaty, say IPEN leaders, is the beginning of the end of mercury in the global economy. But to actualize the aim of the treaty—protecting the health of current and future generations, food chains and the environment from mercury pollution— requires stronger coordinated global action. Ending mercury use and emissions at its primary sources such as small-scale gold mining, coal fired power plants and cement kilns and halting the global mercury trade are key. Identifying and remediating contaminated sites are also essential to protecting human health from the highly toxic metal. 

The Minamata Convention, the first legally binding chemical treaty in a decade, recognizes that mercury is a global threat to human health, livelihood and the environment.  Currently 74 countries have ratified the treaty, exceeding the threshold of 50 countries that allows the treaty to enter into force.

“Mercury-contaminated sites have become a slow disaster in many countries, poisoning fish stocks and making communities sick. It is not enough to ban new industrial uses. To prevent mercury devastation for new generations, we need unified guidelines so that countries can identify and control risk from these sites and clean up communities where heavy mercury loads in the environment perpetuate harm to current and future generations,” said IPEN Mercury Policy Advisor, Dr. Lee Bell.

Use of mercury in gold mining and coal fired power plants are leading causes of mercury emissions on the planet. Small scale gold mining is an extremely hazardous process that sickens miners, their families and communities. According to the United Nations Environment Program, approximately 15 million people in over  70 countries engage in artisanal small scale gold mining (ASGM) activities for their livelihood, practices that mainly use mercury. Although declining, mercury from illicit sources have been and are still being used in many illegal small-scale gold mining practices.

“The tragedy of mercury causes profound health and economic impacts in some of the most impoverished communities around the world; communities that subsist through small scale gold mining. Unless we take global action to end the international mercury trade that dumps mercury into communities near gold mining sites, we will continue to poison some of the most vulnerable and marginalized people on our planet,” said IPEN lead for ASGM and Goldman Prize Winner Yuyun Ismawati.

To protect residents from adverse health effects, countries must improve their mercury monitoring, health measures, and food advisories, and increase the capacity of health practitioners to understand and tackle issues related to mercury poisoning.

IPEN Co-Chair and Goldman Prize Winner Dr. Olga Speranskaya says, “Monitoring of mercury levels in food products must be improved. The majority of developing countries, and countries with economies in transition, do not issue recommendations to pregnant women on daily intake limits of mercury-containing food products such fish and rice, with dire consequences. Most developing countries lack limits for mercury levels in fish. Those that have established limits, often set them lower than relevant limits of developed countries, thus reducing the level of protection of their residents from the adverse health impacts of mercury.”

Just as the treaty itself emerged from the work of hundreds of NGOs around the world to raise the alarm on far-reaching mercury impacts, the NGO community is resolved to ensure the treaty is effective.

“Our community of global environmental health, justice, and human rights NGOs will continue to hold the world’s governments accountable to uphold the spirit and intent of the treaty, to encourage more countries to ratify, and to advocate for governments to take necessary actions so that this important agreement successfully protects the many millions of humans threatened by mercury,” said Pamela Miller, IPEN Co-Chair.

For her part, Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition ( an active member of IPEN), said: “We appeal to our political leaders, particularly President Rodrigo Duterte, to cause the immediate ratification of the Minamata Convention.  Ratifying the mercury treaty and ensuring its effective enforcement, nationally and internationally, will be the just way to honor Minamata and affirm our commitment against a repeat of such catastrophic mercury poisoning tragedy in the Philippines and elsewhere.”

The historical treaty is named after the Minamata disaster in Japan in which industrial dumping of mercury into Minamata Bay killed and sickened tens of thousands of people.

Mercury exposure damages the nervous system, kidneys, and cardiovascular system. Developing organ systems, such as the fetal nervous system, are the most sensitive to the toxic effects of mercury, although nearly all organs are vulnerable. Human exposure to mercury occurs primarily through the consumption of contaminated fish and through direct contact with mercury vapor through small scale gold mining practices. Very small amounts of mercury, as little as 1 ppm measured in hair, has been recognized by the US EPA as a threshold above which mercury can cause brain damage in developing fetuses. New scientific literature is suggesting that mercury is even more harmful than previously understood, with negative neurological impacts noted at levels above 0.58 ppm. 

Coal fired power plants, the second greatest source of mercury contamination and a primary contributor to climate change, release atmospheric mercury which deposits into the world’s oceans and enters the food chain, accumulating in fish and burdening human health. 

IPEN is a network of non-governmental organizations working in more than 100 countries to reduce and eliminate the harm to human health and the environment from toxic chemicals.

15 August 2017

Over 100 Groups Clamor for PH Ratification of Treaty vs. Mercury Pollution

Civil society groups pressed the government to join the 74 countries that have so far ratified a historic global agreement to combat mercury pollution, which will enter into force tomorrow, August 16.

In an urgent letter sent last Monday to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, over 100 environmental, health and labor rights advocates urged the government to work for the immediate ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and to secure the required Senate concurrence prior to the First Conference of Parties (COP1).

The groups also sent the letter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu, and Energy Secretary Alfredo Cusi.

While the Philippines through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2013, the government has yet to ratify the historic treaty.

“We owe it to the people of Minamata, the Japanese city after whom the agreement was named, and to the Filipino people to ensure that the convention is ratified and enforced to protect public health and the environment against mercury pollution,” said Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

Minamata suffered heavily from decades-long dumping of mercury-tainted industrial wastewater from Chisso chemical factory into the Minamata Bay, poisoning the fish that people ate and leading to crippling illnesses known today as the Minamata disease.

To date, 74 governments have ratified the convention.  

The groups are pushing for the treaty’s expedited ratification so that the Philippines could attend the COP1 as a State Party and not as a mere observer. The COP1 will take place on September 24-29 this year in Geneva, Switzerland.

"Ratifying  the Minamata Convention on Mercury will further strengthen our nation’s efforts to prevent, if not eliminate, threats of  mercury pollution as this will allow the Philippines to effectively engage in the treaty processes, address gaps in existing regulations, and gain access to financial resources and beneficial technology transfer and capacity-building opportunities," the groups explained.

The groups noted that the Philippines actively and meaningfully participated in the mercury treaty negotiations from 2010-2013.

They also cited the country’s pursuit of progressive policies and programs to address  mercury pollution, including phasing out mercury-based medical devices in 2010 (DOH A.O. 2008-21), banning mercury use in mineral processing in artisanal and small-scale gold mining in 2012 (E.O.  79-2012), introducing extended producer responsibility for lighting products containing mercury in 2013 (Joint DENR-DOE A.O. 2013-09-0001),and prohibiting  over 135 mercury-laden skin whitening cosmetics since 2010 to date (various FDA advisories).

According to the Ratification Dossier prepared by the DENR with assistance from the Swiss Confederation and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, “the existing policies, programs and regulations have, to some degree, prepared the Philippines in terms of fulfilling the requirements of the Convention.”

“Despite the economic cost to comply with the provisions of the Convention, the long-term benefits of becoming a Party far outweigh the disadvantages,” the dossier said, stressing “the Convention is consistent with the country’s basic policy to protect and preserve the right to health of Filipinos, and the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology.”

Key highlights of the treaty include a ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing ones, the phase out and phase down of mercury use in a number of products and processes, control measures on emissions to air and on releases to land and water, and the regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

In line with Executive Order 459, Series of 1997, the DENR shall endorse the treaty to the Department of Foreign Affairs, which shall then transmit it to the President for his ratification.  Upon ratification, the DFA shall then submit the treaty to the Senate for concurrence.

While other key agencies like the Departments of Health, Labor and Employment, Science and Technology and Trade Industry have agreed to the treaty ratification, the DoE has yet to provide the DENR with its Certificate of Concurrence.

Among the groups who signed the letter to President Duterte and Secretaries Cayetano, Cimatu and Cusi were the Alyansa Tigil Mina, Arugaan, Associated Labor Unions, Bangon Kalikasan Movement, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Cavite Green Coalition, Center for Environmental Concerns, Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Green Convergence, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm, Interface Development Interventions, Inc., International Association of Oral Medicine & Toxicology, IPEN, Miriam College Environmental Studies Institute, Mother Earth Foundation, Oceana Philippines, Palawan NGO Network Inc., Pesticide Action Network, Public Services Independent Labor Confederation, Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, Teachers Dignity Coalition, The Climate Reality Project Philippines, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, World Wide Fund for Nature and the Zero Waste Recycling Movement of the Philippine Foundation, Inc.



14 August 2017

Caloocan City: Barangay 178 Ordinance on Toxic CRTs Gets Rousing Support from Residents

Residents of Barangay 178 in Camarin, Caloocan City threw their unanimous support behind a timely health and environmental measure banning the unlawful breaking and dumping of toxic cathode ray tubes (CRTs).

CRTs, the glass video display component of television and computer sets, contain dangerous levels of lead and other hazardous substances, including barium, cadmium and fluorescent powders that must be handled and disposed of in an environmentally-sound manner.

At a well-attended public hearing held on August 12 and presided over by Barangay Chairperson Editha Labasbas, close to 500 residents voted overwhelmingly for the adoption of Barangay Ordinance No. 004, Series of 2017, which prohibits and penalizes the illegal breaking and disposal of CRTs in their area of jurisdiction.

“We laud Barangay 178 for taking a decisive move to curb toxic threats in their community from the reckless destruction and disposal of CRTs,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Rosalinda Frias and co-authored by Councilor Nida Quiza was in response to a report filed by the EcoWaste Coalition alerting the barangay and city authorities about the danger posed by discarded CRTs to the residents’ health and their environment.

Last March 5, 2017, the EcoWaste Coalition found piles of broken CRT glasses in several spots by the creekside and at the creek itself, which the group immediately reported to Labasbas and Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan.

“The action taken by Barangay 178 should encourage other communities to tackle the menace of e-waste and to support the government-led drive to safely manage CRTs,” Dizon added.

Dizon was referring to the five-year project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Environmental Management Bureau, in cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and other partners, towards the safe management of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) for electric cooperatives, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in e-wastes.

The plastic casings of CRTs often contain PBDEs, a class of toxic flame retardant chemicals targeted for global elimination under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

The ordinance also noted that "the liquid-crystal display of some television and computer monitors are illuminated by cold cathode fluorescent lamps containing mercury, a chemical that is hazardous to human health and the environment."

"Barangay 178 is committed to preventing chemical pollution arising from the unsafe breaking and unlawful dumping of broken CRTs in the surroundings and waterways to safeguard the health and safety of its constituents and the ecosystems," the ordinance emphasized.

Violators of the ordinance shall pay a fine P300 and render three-hour community service for the first offense.

For the second offense, a fine of P500 shall be imposed plus five-hour community service.

For the third offense, violators shall be fined P1,000 and be required to do eight-hour community service. 

Barangay Ordinance 004-2017 shall take effect 15 days after submission to the Caloocan City Council for review and approval.



13 August 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Welcomes Industry Assurance that Latex Paints are Mercury-Free

The EcoWaste Coalition, a watch group on toxic chemicals, products and wastes, lauded the country’s paint manufacturers for assuring the public that latex paints being sold in
the market are free of mercury.

“We commend our paint makers for producing mercury-free water-based paint formulations. This augurs well for the industry’s progressive shift to lead-free solvent-based paints used for decorative and industrial applications.  This is really a good news for the Filipino family as both lead and mercury are known neurotoxins that are particularly dangerous for pregnant women and children,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Through a statement, the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM) said that paint makers “have not used or have long since halted the use of mercury-based preservatives in latex paint formulations.”

Boysen and Davies, for example, have been making mercury-free latex paints since the late 1970s, way ahead of the US ban on mercury in interior latex paint in 1990 and exterior latex paint in 1991.

“The use of phenylmercuric acetate and other mercury compounds as biocide, fungicide or mildewcide, particularly in latex paints, is a thing of the past as alternative paint preservatives to prolong a product’s shelf-life without causing serious health risks are available in the raw materials market,” the PAPM said.

The PAPM made the statement amid the ongoing work to update the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order (AO) 1997-38, or the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for Mercury and Mercury Compounds, in preparation for the country’s ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

The PAPM is one with the government, industry and the civil society in promoting the ratification and implementation of the Minamata Convention, a globally binding agreement that aims to prevent and reduce mercury pollution to protect public health and the environment, the statement said.

The PAPM, in particular, poses no objection to the removal of the use of mercury and mercury compounds in paint manufacturing as an allowable use under DENR A.O. 1997-38, which was promulgated almost 20 years ago.

“Our strong support for mercury-free paint and for lead-safe paint is consistent with the industry thrust to provide the market with eco-friendly paints,  and in line with the DENR AO 2013-24, or the CCO for Lead and Lead Compounds, and the international goal of eliminating lead paint by 2020 as declared by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint,” the PAPM said.

The PAPM also reiterated its “commitment to greener innovations and to meaningful collaborations with the DENR, the EcoWaste Coalition and IPEN (a global civil society network promoting safe chemicals policies and practices) for the benefit of our customers and our nation.”

The paint industry statement is very timely as the Minamata Convention on Mercury is scheduled to enter into force on August 16, 2017.


10 August 2017

Open Letter to PRRD: PH Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Photo by Lino Santos, MST

10 August 2017

Rodrigo Roa Duterte
Republic of the Philippines

Alan Peter S. Cayetano
Department of Foreign Affairs

Roy A. Cimatu
Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Alfredo Cusi
Department of Energy

cc: Geri Sañez, DENR-EMB; Amy de Guzman, DOE-ERTLS

Dear President Duterte, Secretary Cayetano, Secretary Cimatu and Secretary Cusi,


We, concerned groups and citizens, respectfully request your offices to work for the immediate ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and to secure the required Senate concurrence to its ratification prior to the First Conference of Parties (COP1).

The Minamata Convention on Mercury, a globally-binding treaty that seeks to protect human health and the environment from mercury emissions and releases, will enter into force on 16 August 2017 and will have its COP1 on 24-29 September 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

While the Philippines through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has already signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury on 10 October 2013, the government has yet to ratify this historic treaty named after the Japanese city that suffered heavily from decades-long mercury poisoning disaster.  To date, 74 governments, excluding the Philippines, have ratified the convention.

For the record, the Philippines actively and meaningfully participated in the mercury treaty negotiations from 2010-2013.  Also, our country has been pursuing progressive policies and programs to combat mercury pollution, including phasing out mercury-based medical devices in 2010 (DOH A.O. 2008-21), banning mercury use in mineral processing in artisanal and small-scale gold mining in 2012 (E.O.  79-2012), introducing extended producer responsibility for lighting products containing mercury in 2013 (Joint DENR-DOE A.O. 2013-09-0001),and prohibiting  over 135 mercury-laden skin whitening cosmetics since 2010 to date (various FDA advisories).

Ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury will further strengthen our nation’s efforts to prevent, if not eliminate, threats of mercury pollution as this will allow the Philippines to effectively engage in the treaty processes, address gaps in existing regulations, and gain access to financial resources and beneficial technology transfer and capacity-building opportunities. 

In line with Executive Order 459, Series of 1997, we, therefore, request the DENR to endorse the treaty to the Department of Foreign Affairs, which shall then transmit it to President Duterte for his ratification.  Upon ratification, the DFA shall then submit the treaty to the Senate for concurrence.

Your earnest support and firm resolve will ensure that the Philippines will attend the COP1 as State Party to the Minamata Convention, and not as a mere observer.

We thank you very much for your swift action.

Sincerely yours,

Eileen B. Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition

Endorsed By:
Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition
Fr. Max Abalos, Action for Nurturing Children and Environment, Inc.
Dr. Maricar Limpin, Action on Smoking and Health – Philippines
Bon Labora, Agimat
Dr. Leah Paquiz, Ang Nars
Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina
Bobot Madjos, Baganga Alumni Association, Davao Oriental
Ines Fernandez, Arugaan
Gerard Seno, Associated Labor Unions – TUCP
Michael Mendoza, Associated Labor Unions – TUCP
Doy Medes, Bahayang Pag-asa - Cavite
Joey Papa, Bangon Kalikasan Movement
Ronnie Royo, Bayay Sibuyanon Inc.
Joy Reyes, Better Country Community Foundation
Francis Manucdoc, Brotherhood Christian Businessmen and Professionals
Noli Abinales, Buklod Tao
Ghie Relova, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino – National Capital Region
Ochie Tolentino, Cavite Green Coalition
Owen Migraso, Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines
Fr. Robert Reyes, Center for Environment Network
Rei Panaligan, Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology
Elsie Brandes de Veyra, Citizen Organization Advocating for Philippine Environmental Sustainability
Rene Pineda, Consumer Rights for Safe Food
Alice Topacio Diocesan Ministry on Ecology - Cavite 
Abigail Bagnes, Earth-UST
Heidi Pandoy, Eco Marino
Antonio Claparols, Ecological Society of the Philippines
Marlon Pareja, Environmental Resource Management Center, DLSU-Dasmarinas
Roberto Del Rosario, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines
Merci Ferrer, Friends of the Environment Negros Oriental
Froilan Grate, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives - Philippines
Dr. Angelina Galang, Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy
Yeb Saño, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Pablo Sanchez, Gulayan People's Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Ramon San Pascual, Health Care Without Harm – Asia
Milagros S. Serrana, Hills of Maia Alta Homeowners Association
Cris Parungao, Integrative Medicine for Alternative Healthcare Systems
Chinkie Pelino, Interface Development Interventions, Inc.
Mitos Rivera, Institute for Reproductive Health Philippines
Dr. Lillian Lasaten Ebuen, International Association of Oral Medicine & Toxicology- Philippines
Manny C. Calonzo, IPEN
Evelyn Galang, Kapatiran Komunidad People's Coalition
Corazon Javate, KASAMA Cooperative
Betty Cabazares, Kinaiyahan Foundation, Inc.
Neneng Jocson, Krusada sa Kalikasan
Rosario Pareja, Lasallian Community Development Center
Victor Sumampong, Jr, Ligdung Sumbanan alang sa mga Kabataan sa Sugbo
Abet Gavino, Mascara GSF
Nancy Carlos, Ministry sa Pangangalaga sa Kalikasan – Divine Mercy
Aurea Gotopeng, Mother Butler Mission Guild
Sonia Mendoza, Mother Earth Foundation
Edith Capule, Nueva Ecija Development Exchange
Rodolfo Mendoza, Nueva Ecija Person With Disability Cooperative
Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, Oceana Philippines
Felina Delfin, Outreach Philipiines, Inc.
Palawan NGO Network Inc. (PNNI)
Atty. Girlie de Guzman, PANLIPI-Tanggapang Panligal ng Katutubong Pilipino
Vicky Segovia, Partnership for Clean Air
Dr. Romy Quijano, Pesticide Action Network – Philippines
Yolly Esguerra, Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc.
Mercy Donor, Piglas Kababaihan
Annie Geron, Public Services Independent Labor Confederation
Nipomoceno Bibon, ROTCHNA Daycare Center Inc.
Analyn Enungan, SACARBEMCO, Compostela Valley
Ben Galindo, Sagip Pasig Movement
Bro. Martin Francisco, Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society
Joyet Castor, Samahang Muling Pagkabuhay Multi-Purpose Cooperative
Angelito Ferreras, Samahang Muling Pagkabuhay Multi-Purpose Cooperative
Delia Camacho, Sarilaya Cavite
Rogelio Salgado, Save Maragundon River – Cavite
Armin Olores, Save Water of Indang Movement - Cavite
Josua Mata, Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa
Ma. Luz Antiga, Tanglaw Mindanao
Benjo Basas, Teachers Dignity Coalition
Rodne Galicha, The Climate Reality Project Philippines
Atty. Raymond Mendoza, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines
Jose Angelito Palma, World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines
Vicky Martires, Zero Waste Recycling Movement of the Philippine Foundation, Inc.
Orly Gallano, Zone One Tondo Organization
Sister Arnold Maria Noel, SSpS
Former Senator Nene Pimentel
Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan

DTI Urged to Promulgate IRR of Toy and Game Safety Labeling Law

Photo by Marianne Bermudez, PDI
With the ber months fast approaching, two organizations today reiterated their common appeal to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to promulgate the long-delayed Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013.

Laban Konsyumer, Inc. (a consumer advocacy organization) and the EcoWaste Coalition (an environmental and health organization) jointly urged DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez “to release without further delay” the law’s IRR to ensure children’s protection against unsafe toys.

“The apparent delay in the issuance of the IRR, which is deeply lamentable, does not serve the law’s objective of promoting children’s right to safe toys, particularly their right to adequate and truthful information to facilitate sound choice,” said Atty. Victorio Dimagiba, President,  Laban Konsyumer.

“The DTI should release the IRR as the actual enforcement of R.A. 10620 depends on it.  The honest-to-goodness implementation of the mandatory labeling requirements, we believe, will help in curbing the unrestrained trade of unsafe toys such as those that are laced with dangerous chemicals,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect. 

A study on toys sold in the local market conducted in July 2011 by the EcoWaste Coalition and IPEN (a global NGO network promoting safe chemicals policies and practices) found 29 percent of 200 toy samples to be laden with harmful substances such arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury above levels of concern.   None of the analyzed toys had labeling information about their chemical composition, and many had no cautionary statements. 

Subsequent studies revealed the prevalence of more unsafe toys in the market, which can pose chemical, choking, flammability, laceration, strangulation and other health and safety hazards, especially among young children. 

Legislators took notice of the problem and filed pertinent bills, including Senate Bill 3367 and House Bill 6529 which were consolidated into R.A. 10620, to protect children from unsafe toys through mandatory safety labeling requirements.

R.A. 10620 requires compulsory labeling for all toys and games in accordance with the appropriate provisions on safety labeling and manufacturer’s markings found in the Philippine National Standards (PNS) for the safety of toys.

It further requires cautionary statement to be displayed in its entirety on the principal display panel of the product’s package and on any descriptive material which accompanies the product.

R.A. 10620 provides for the removal from the market of toys and games that do not adhere to the labeling and packaging requirements.  Such non-compliant toys and games shall be considered misbranded or banned hazardous substance, and shall be withdrawn from the market at the expense of the manufacturer, importer, wholesaler or distributor.

For the guidance and protection of consumers, 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.

The law also 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.

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 violation of the said law. 




06 August 2017

Groups Weigh In On Permanent Payatas Dump Closure (Groups Back Dump Closure, Buck Incinerator Project)

Groups advocating for ecological solid waste management (ESWM) weighed in on the looming end of the Payatas dumpsite in December 2017, stressing that its closure is legally justified and is long overdue.

At the same time, the groups asserted shutting down the infamous dumpsite should not be used to justify the construction of a waste-to-energy incineration plant to burn Quezon City’s massive
garbage estimated at 2,700 tons per day.

“The permanent closure of the Payatas garbage dumpsite is long overdue,” said Joey Papa, President, Bangon Kalikasan Movement.

According to Section 37 of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, open dumpsites should have been closed in 2004, and the controlled dumpsites in 2006.

“It’s time barangay-based ESWM should be fully implemented by all local government units, as mandated by R.A. 9003,” Papa added.  “We have proof this can be done.  At the same time, the closed dumpsite should be rehabilitated.”

The Payatas open dumpsite was converted to a “controlled disposal facility” in 2004 and then closed in 2010.  The Payatas “sanitary landfill,” which started operations in 2011, will be closed in December this year as it is already near its carrying capacity limit.

“But Quezon City residents must be vigilant in opposing the plan to establish an incinerator plant to replace the dump,” Papa emphasized.

“Among a long list of concerns, waste incineration generates dangerous byproducts such as ash residues that should be strictly managed as hazardous waste.  Some 30 tons of ash is produced for every 100 tons of garbage incinerated.   We cannot allow such toxic ash to get dumped in Payatas, which is so near the La Mesa Dam and watershed reservation,” he said.

Section 48 of R.A. 9003 prohibits “the construction or operation of landfills or any waste disposal facility on any aquifer, groundwater reservoir, or watershed area.”

“Hauling garbage to the so-called sanitary landfills in Navotas City and in Rodriguez and San Mateo, Rizal offers no real solution to Quezon City’s costly garbage problem.  The only thing it does is to keep the ugly trash out of our sight, out of our minds, for Quezon City residents, that is, while further destroying another community where it will be dumped,” pointed out Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste
Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Over P1 billion is spent annually for garbage hauling and dumping. This should be spent, instead, for sustained waste prevention and reduction programs, public education and law enforcement action,” he suggested.

R.A. 9003 provides for waste avoidance and volume reduction through segregation at source, composting, recycling, reuse and other best practices in ESWM excluding the open burning and incineration of trash.



http://www.chanrobles.com/repu blicactno9003.htm

03 August 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for Bisphenol A (BPA) Ban in Baby Feeding Bottles and Sippy Cups

A public interest group promoting chemical safety and zero waste for the nth time urged the country’s health authorities to ban the substance Bisphenol A, or BPA, in feeding bottles and sippy cups. 

The EcoWaste Coalition reiterated its appeal for either the Department of Health (DOH) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prohibit the manufacture, importation, advertisement and sale of polycarbonate plastic feeding bottles and sippy cups containing BPA, a known endocrine disrupting chemical.   

A draft DOH Administrative Order on BPA has been pending since 2013, while a draft FDA Circular has been recently prepared.

“We support the immediate issuance of a government policy that will finally ban BPA-laden baby feeding bottles and sippy cups and eliminate the risks that such childcare products pose,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“The issuance of such policy will add to the list of progressive health measures adopted by the current administration, including President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Orders banning smoking in public places and limiting the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices,” he added.  

“We hope to see the signed policy soon for the sake of our babies who are most vulnerable to chemical exposures,” he said, stressing that “it is our shared task to safeguard our babies from harmful substances during the most sensitive phases of their development.”

The requested policy, if adopted, will make the Philippines the latest country to ban BPA in childcare articles like feeding bottles and sippy cups, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Africa, Thailand, USA and the 28-country European Union have already banned BPA, specifically in baby feeding bottles.

Fellow ASEAN member states Malaysia and Thailand banned BPA in baby feeding bottles and sippy cups in 2012 and 2015, respectively.  

China, the country’s major source of imported toys and childcare articles, banned BPA in baby feeding bottles in 2011.

Last June 2017, the Member State Committee of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) unanimously agreed on the identification of BPA “as a substance of very high concern  because of its endocrine disrupting properties which cause probable serious effects to human health.” ECHA had earlier said that BPA is “toxic for reproduction.”

As the World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated on August 1-7, the EcoWaste Coalition also reaffirmed its commitment to “defend the right of every baby to mother’s milk, the first complete and Zero Waste food, from the direct assault of deceptive advertising and promotion of artificial breastfeeding and chemical pollution.”



http://ibfan.org/ibfan-calls- for-coordinated-international- action-to-protect-against- toxic-chemicals
https://echa.europa.eu/-/msc- unanimously-agrees-that- bisphenol-a-is-an-endocrine- disruptor

02 August 2017

Green Group Asks Erap to Enforce Manila Ordinance on Plastic Bags (Toxic Lead Detected in 18 Brands of Yellow Plastic Sando Bags Sold in Manila)

Yellow plastic sando bags containing total lead content above 1,000 parts per million (ppm).
Yellow plastic sando that screened positive for lead in excess of 100 parts per million.
Yellow and orange plastic sando bags with no detectable lead.

Following the controversial cleanup drive last week in Manila Bay that prompted Mayor Joseph Estrada to publicly apologize and take full responsibility for the hullabaloo, a waste and pollution watch group asked the local chief executive to make up for the controversy by enforcing the city’s dormant plastic bag ban ordinance.

“Almost five years have lapsed since Mayor Estrada’s predecessor signed City Ordinance 8282 and Manila is still wallowing in plastic garbage due to its lack of enforcement.  The ordinance is sadly gathering dust,” stated Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Then Mayor Alfredo Lim signed City Ordinance 8282 on September 3, 2012, which prohibits the use of plastic bags for dry goods and regulates their use for wet goods.

“The unbridled sale, use and disposal of plastic bags in Manila is evident everywhere and we could not help but wonder why Ordinance 8282 was not implemented at all,” Alejandre said, noting “consumer demand for plastic bags continues to thrive without hindrance and the streets and esteros are forever strewn with plastics and other litter that ultimately pollute Manila Bay.”

As the problem is not only with the sheer volume of plastic trash that is visible to the naked eyes as shown in the waste audits conducted in Manila Bay by the EcoWaste Coalition and its partner groups in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2016, the group for the second time purchased plastic sando bags to screen them for their toxic content. 

The group bought 35 packs of assorted brands of yellow plastic sando bags on July 29 to August 1 from plastic wholesalers and retailers at Divisoria, Paco and Quiapo, Manila and screened them for lead, a toxic chemical, using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device.

As per Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-024, also known as the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, the use of lead in the production food and beverage packaging, particularly for packaging that comes directly in contact with food, is prohibited.

XRF screening revealed that 18 brands of yellow plastic bags, including five brands of oxo-biodegradable plastic bags, contain lead from 116 to 3,012 parts per million (ppm), way above the permissible limit under the European Union (EU) Packaging Directive.

Article 11 of the EU Packaging Directive provides a limit of 100 ppm by weight for the sum of four restricted metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium in packaging or packaging components.

The brands with total lead content exceeding 1,000 ppm are Mercury with 3,012 ppm, Capricorn 2,745 ppm, Sunshine 1,861 ppm, Pinoy Brothers 1,092 ppm, Royal Jade 1077 ppm and Tulip 1,033 ppm.  

The other brands with varying levels of lead in excess of 100 ppm are: Astig, Batang Pinoy, Centrum, Crown, Flipper,  JB, Lupin, Mang Junior, Mr. Divisoria, Serv, Sonic and Star Bucks.  

Lead was not detected in 17 brands, namely, Bizon, Cheetah, Donewell, Global, Gold Star, JR. Jumper, Poker, Saturn, Sea Lion, Shure Ultra, Snowbird, Speed, Star Bag, Sun Moon, Tamaraw and Winner.

While lead was not detected in the said 17 brands, the EcoWaste Coalition emphasized that the unchecked use of single-use plastic bags, which are mostly made from petroleum, contribute to natural resource depletion and pollution that drives climate change, while reinforcing the ever growing throw-away culture.

The group stressed the need for Manila to enforce its plastic bag ban, and for Congress to enact a national law banning plastic bags, including the so-called oxo-biodegradable bags.

The group further emphasized the need for the government to adopt a legislation that will limit, if not remove, toxic metals such as  lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium in packaging materials to protect public health and the environment.

-end- tals/40/CCO%20for%20Lead.pdf lar%20for%20lead%20compounds%2 0clarifications.jpg

http://toxicsinpackaging.org/f aqs/#restrictions