31 March 2018

The Trashing of the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in San Jose del Monte City



















Today, Black Saturday, the EcoWaste Coalition went back to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in San Jose del Monte City to check on the garbage situation at the religious park following the influx of pilgrims yesterday, Good Friday.   As anticipated, we were greeted with an upsetting sight:  garbage was strewn all over the site from the entrance to the Stations of the Cross where people flock to pray.  The hills, featuring life-sized images depicting the agony, death and resurrection of Christ, were dotted not with flowers, but with plastic trash.  The garbage left by picnickers turned the picnic area, which is next to the grotto, into a big mess unsuitable for picnicking.  From what we have seen, the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto could be a top candidate for the most-litter strewn pilgrimage site and this is largely due to the lack of discipline and indifferent attitude towards the environment by some of the pilgrims.  The limited number of the dedicated staff and volunteers of the Grotto Shrine Foundation, who could be seen picking up the litter and tidying up the site, was no match to the large number of pilgrims.

30 March 2018

Environmental Group Decries Mounds of Trash Left Behind by Lenten Devotees in Pilgrimage Sites in Bulacan and Rizal (Litterbugs Dared to Care for Mother Earth Next Time)


 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, 30 March 2018
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, 30 March 2018
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, 30 March 2018
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, 30 March 2018
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, 30 March 2018
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, 30 March 2018
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, 30 March 2018
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, 30 March 2018
 National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
  National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
  National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
  National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
  National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
  National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
 National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage

Littering again reared its ugly head leaving popular Lenten pilgrimage sites in Bulacan and Rizal provinces awash in trash.

The EcoWaste Coalition decried the perpetual littering that, for the nth time, tainted the traditional acts of devotion and penance performed by hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday at the said sites. 

The waste and pollution watch group monitored the trash situation at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in San Jose del Monte City and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City on Good Friday morning.  

“Just like in previous years, the Lenten pilgrimage to both religious sites left a trail of trash that is totally unbefitting of the spiritual journey that many devotees do to affirm their faith, ask forgiveness for past wrongs, and give thanks for blessings received,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

At the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, Lenten campers and picnickers left heaps of garbage on the lawns and sidewalks turning the serene site into a virtual dump.  “There’s literally trash everywhere,” the group observed. 

Mounds of trash were also seen at the patio of the Antipolo Cathedral, home of the venerated image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.  However, the nearby  Sumulong Park, M. L. Quezon Street and adjacent streets were found to be generally “clean” because of the around-the-clock cleaning operations by waste and sanitation workers of the Antipolo City Government.  

Carelessly discarded on the grounds, sidewalks, street corners and gutters were newspapers, corrugated boxes and other materials used by pilgrims for resting, picnicking and sleeping, snack packs, plastic bags, bottles and cups, food containers and leftovers, and cigarette stabs. 

“Some of the discarded stuff is in fact reusable and recyclable.  Luckily, enterprising waste pickers, especially in Antipolo City, were on hand to retrieve these valuable materials and sell them to junk shops,” Alejandre said.  


From the photos posted at the group’s blog and Facebook account, it was apparent that the plea for a trash-free Holy Week aired not only by the EcoWaste Coalition but also by church and government authorities again fell on deaf ears.

“We surely are not happy with what we saw, but hope springs eternal in the human heart.  We therefore reiterate our appeal to the faithful to care for Mother Earth, sustainer of all life, as they fulfill their religious vows.  Faith-inspired endeavors should set a higher benchmark for environmental stewardship,” Alejandre said.


Since 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the thought-provoking pastoral letter of the Catholic bishops on ecology entitled “What is Happening to Our Beautiful Land,” the EcoWaste Coalition urged church leaders to release a new statement that will re-mobilize the entire Church and  people to take further action to protect and preserve the integrity of creation, including the greening of faith activities.

Issued in 2008, the said pastoral letter was cited in the historic encyclical on the environment “Laudato Si” issued by Pope Francis in 2015.

In support of “Laudato Si,” the bishops in 2015 made a strong statement stressing: “We are not owners of the earth.  We are its stewards, to keep and cherish and nurture its resources not only for ourselves but for future generations.”

-end-



28 March 2018

Groups Observe Lent with “Dasal at Aksyon, Alay kay Inang Kalikasan”





Environmental advocates on Holy Wednesday converged at the historic Plaza Miranda to call attention to the anguish and grief of Mother Earth as she is disrespected and impaired by chemicals and wastes unendingly being dumped on her. 

Led by the EcoWaste Coalition and its community partners, the event dubbed as “Dasal at Aksyon, Alay kay Inang Kalikasan” brought to light the degradation of the environment due to the low compliance with pollution prevention and reduction laws such as the Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.


Among the groups that participated in the "Dasal at Aksyon"lenten event were the Aksyon sa Kahandaan sa Kalamidad at Klima, Buklod Tao, Global Catholic Climate Movement-Pilipinas, and the Samahan ng mga Mangangalalakal ng Scrap sa Capulong


With the façade of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene as backdrop, the participants carried on their shoulders a wooden carriage containing a globe depicting Mother Earth bearing a cross amid a sea of residual and hazardous wastes, including electronic, medical, plastic, and sachet wastes.  


Written on the cross are some of the top environmental issues facing our communities and their ecosystems such as open burning, waste-to-energy incineration, and toxic pollution of the air, soil and water from chemical and plastic pollutants.


Through prayers and songs, they expressed their hope that the stewardship of creation will prevail over the pervasive throw-away culture and pollution that dishonor and destroy Mother Earth.

During the event, the participants echoed the critical comment made by Pope Francis in his groundbreaking encyclical letter “Laudato Si” regarding the state of the global environment wherein he said “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”


“The dumpsites and landfills, which are bursting at the seams, polluted creeks, littered streets and beaches, and plasticized oceans is the Calvary of today where Mother Earth finds herself being crucified day in and day out,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.


“Mother Earth has to bear this heavy burden caused by society’s failure to embrace sustainable consumption and production patterns resulting in the unbridled exploitation of nature and the  generation of too much and too toxic wastes,” he added.


As noted by Pope Francis in “Laudato Si,” “each year hundreds of millions of tons of waste are generated, much of it non-biodegradable, highly toxic and radioactive, from homes and businesses, from construction and demolition sites, from clinical, electronic and industrial sources.”


To stop the daily crucifixion of Mother Earth, the EcoWaste Coalition urged all sectors to heed the call for conversion and action to save the environment and allow the current and future generations to meet their needs and enjoy a better quality of life.


Meanwhile, EcoWaste Coalition’s partners in Cebu are also set to stage today a “Pagbasa ng Pasyon para sa Kalbaryo ng Kahirapan” involving 100 activists.  Organized by the Cebu chapters of the Bukluran ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Freedom from Debt Coalition and Sanlakas, the event will highlight the people’s continuing objection to the waste-to-incineration facility in Lapu-Lapu City, and the negative impacts of workers’ contractualization and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN).  The “pagbasa” will commence at  Malacañang sa Sugbo, pause at Cebu City Hall and conclude in the vicinity of Metro Gaisano in Colon.  

-end-

Reference:



26 March 2018

EcoWaste Coalition Warns vs Mercury-Contaminated Cosmetic Imports from Pakistan (Group Detects High Levels of Mercury in 5 Pakistani Skin Whitening Products)


Photos of mercury-containing Aneeza Gold Beauty Cream, Aneeza Saffron Whitening Cream, Face Lift Whitening Beauty Cream, Parley Beauty Cream, and Parley Whitening Cream – all “made in Pakistan.” The FDA has yet to ban these mercury-laden cosmetics.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit watch group on toxic chemicals and wastes, has deplored the sale of skin whitening products from Pakistan containing elevated concentrations of mercury, a highly poisonous substance.

In test buys conducted on March 24 as the National Women's Month draws to a close, the group obtained five unregistered “made in Pakistan” skin whitening creams  from beauty product stores at the Baclaran Bagong Milenyo Plaza and LRT Baclaran Shopping Mall in Pasay City. 

The five contraband cosmetics costing P230 to P250 each include:  Aneeza Gold Beauty Cream, Aneeza Saffron Whitening Cream, Face Lift Whitening Beauty Cream, Parley Beauty Cream, and Parley Whitening Cream.

“The products are sold illegally as their manufacturers, importers or distributors have not notified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and secured the mandatory product notifications prior to placing or selling them in the local market,” noted Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Worst, the products are loaded with violative levels of mercury above the trace amount of one part per million (ppm) that could pose health hazards even in small amounts.  Consumers, especially women and girls, should at once stop using them,” he emphasized.

As revealed by the X-Ray Fluorescence screening conducted by the group, all the five products had mercury content ranging from 16,500 to 32,900 ppm, which are thousands of times higher than the 1 ppm limit  set by the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.  Parley Whitening Cream, which promises a "softer, more radiant and even-toned skin," had the highest mercury concentration among the samples.

“We have alerted the FDA about our findings and suggested stern action against violators to thwart the influx of smuggled Pakistani cosmetics.  It's time to nip the supply of these dangerous cosmetics in the bud before it worsens,” Dizon said.

To date, the FDA has banned three mercury-skin whitening cosmetics from Pakistan, namely Golden Pearl Beauty Cream, Goree Beauty Cream and Goree Day & Night Whitening Cream.  The FDA banned Golden Pearl in 2014 and the two Goree products in 2017.  


“Sadly, these banned products are brazenly sold by cosmetic retailers in Baclaran, Quiapo and Divisoria despite FDA’s threat of regulatory actions and sanctions against uncooperative establishments.  Banned Goree products are also offered for sale by online merchants at Lazada and OLX,” Dizon said.

According to the FDA, “adverse health effects brought about by highly toxic mercury in cosmetics products include kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring.”

“Chronic use reduces the skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections. Other effects include anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy. The transfer of mercury to fetuses of pregnant women may manifest as neurodevelopment deficits later in life,” the FDA warned.

To put an end to the unlawful trade of mercury-tainted skin whitening cosmetics, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to push for and support heightened law enforcement action against erring businesses by the country’s health, customs and police authorities.

The group also urged the government to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment against mercury emissions and releases from human activities.  It provides for, among other targets, the phase-out of skin lightening products with mercury above 1 ppm.  

-end-

Mercury Content of the 5 Samples of Skin Whitening Cosmetics from Pakistan as per XRF Screening:

Parley Whitening Cream, 32,900 ppm
Aneeza Gold Beauty Cream, 21,600 ppm  
Parley Beauty Cream, 18,300 ppm  
Face Lift Whitening Beauty Cream, 17,000 ppm
Aneeza Saffron Whitening Cream, 16,500 ppm

Reference:

https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/472052-fda-advisory-no-2017-289

https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/attachments/article/195942/FDA%20Advisory%20NO.%202013-053-A.pdf

25 March 2018

EcoWaste Coalition, FCAP Push for Pollution-Free Holy Week



Palm fronds on sale outside the Parish of the Holy Cross in Makati City, 25 March 2018.
Environmental and health groups have jointly urged the public to make the Holy Week a litter-free and smoke-free affirmation of our vibrant Christian faith.

Through a press release issued on Palm Sunday, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines (FCAP) told the public that preventing litter and smoke pollution during the solemn days and beyond will do good for  human health and the environment.

“We urge the faithful not to litter as we recall the passion of Christ, atone for past wrongs, and renew our faith through time-honored traditions and rites during the Holy Week,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.    

“We particularly appeal to those joining the penitential walk to Antipolo City and those visiting popular pilgrimage sites to mind their trash.  As stewards or caretakers of God’s creation, it is our shared responsibility to demonstrate respect for the environment, especially when performing faith-based activities,” he added.

Dr. Maria Encarnita Limpin, Executive Director, FCAP, appealed to smokers to observe the Holy Week in a smoke-free atmosphere for their health and the health of others.

“Tobacco smoke contains toxic and poisonous chemicals, including cancer-causing substances, which can pose harm and death to both smokers and non-smokers.  By keeping the environment free of dangerous tobacco smoke, we reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and thus reducing the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and other smoking-related ailments,” she pointed out.

Alejandre added “not smoking during the Holy Week will reduce the number of cigarette butts thrown on the streets that end up in dumpsites, waterways and the oceans and pose a toxic hazard to the environment, including aquatic life.”   

The EcoWaste Coalition and FCAP likewise appealed to law enforcers to implement the provisions against littering under Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act) and against smoking as per Republic Act 9211 (Tobacco Regulation Act) and Executive Order No. 26 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in May 2016.

“Faith-inspired activities are not exempted from abiding by our anti-littering and anti-smoking laws and regulations that are meant to promote and uphold the public health and safety,” the groups said. 


-end-

Reference:

http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2001/ra_9003_2001.html

http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2003/ra_9211_2003.html

http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/downloads/2017/05may/20170516-EO-26-RRD.pdf


24 March 2018

Environmental Groups Dismayed Over Japanese Funding for Waste-to-Energy Incinerator Project in Davao City


Environmental health groups have expressed their disapproval of a planned waste-to-energy incinerator plant in Davao City to be funded through a Japanese Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) grant worth JPY 5.013 billion (PHP 2.5 billion).

Davao City-based Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) and Quezon City-based EcoWaste Coalition reiterated their opposition to the incinerator project following the signing of the Exchange of Notes last Tuesday by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City.

According to the Japanese Embassy, “Japan’s grant will be used to construct and manage waste-to-energy facilities to significantly reduce solid wastes and convert it into usable energy,” adding that “this project is expected to serve as an innovative example of sustainable waste management to other cities in the Philippines.

If this project will push through, we will not be solving the issue of massive waste production of Davao City but will only aggravate it as the plant’s operation will require the steady generation of voluminous trash to be burned to make it economically viable. This is not the way to solve our city’s garbage problem.  Incinerating discards will rather result in more environmental, health and socio-economic problems for the city government and our people.  Waste-to-energy incineration is not the solution,” stated Chinkie Peliño-Golle, Executive Director, IDIS.

Anti-incinerator campaigner Ruel Cabile of the EcoWaste Coalition indicated that the ODA grant for Davao City’s waste-to-energy incinerator could open the floodgates for similar schemes to be established in the guise of solving the country’s garbage woes.

“We find the aggressive push by Japan to export their waste-to-energy disposal technologies to the Philippines truly worrisome, especially if this is seen as part of the ‘Golden Age of Strategic Partnership’ between the two countries.  We must be on our guard against incineration-based schemes that will undermine, if not kill, zero waste strategies and programs.  We need to be mindful of the hidden costs of such schemes, particularly their adverse impacts on recycling jobs and enterprises and on human health and the environment. There is no such thing as free lunch after all,” he said.

In place of incineration, IDIS and the EcoWaste Coalition urged the authorities to commit to a vigorous implementation of zero waste policies and programs, in line with R.A. 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act), that will prevent waste and expand waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting strategies, including making “polluter pays” and making manufacturers responsible for their products and their packaging.

The groups cited environmental scientist Dr. Jorge Emmanuel who said that with the effective enforcement of R.A. 9003 “the residual waste for Davao should only be 130-190 tons per day, as opposed to the 600-900 tons/day average that go to the city’s landfill.  If zero waste approaches are applied, the amount can be reduced even further.”

Emmanuel, an adjunct professor at Silliman University and a DOST Balik Scientist, recommended the “laborious and difficult full implementation of R.A. 9003” to address the city’s garbage problem instead of the purported waste-to-energy solution from Japan after visiting the facility at Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering, Inc. in Kitakyushu last December 2016 as part of a delegation from Davao City.

Among the issues underscored by Emmanuel in the report he submitted to the city government is the difficulty of complying with the increasing stringent standards for dioxins, which are extremely toxic byproducts of waste combustion, due to cost, lack of enforcement mechanisms, and the inability to effectively monitor and test emissions.

According to Emmanuel, “even with pollution control devices, the toxic pollutants will not disappear; they are concentrated into other media that have to be treated as hazardous waste. Importantly, ash from incinerators is toxic, heavily contaminated with dioxins and leachable metals, and under the Stockholm Convention Best Available Techniques/Best Environmental Practices (BAT/BEP) guidelines, ash requires special land disposal as hazardous waste.”



Groups Support Braga’s Lead Safe Paint Initiative in Davao City



Environmental health groups welcomed the proposal made by District 1 Councilor Pilar Braga calling on the City Council to enact an ordinance requiring the use of lead safe paints in construction, maintenance and renovation projects and activities of the City of Davao.
“The mandatory use of lead safe paints in the City of Davao, in support of the national government’s policy and program to eliminate lead paint, will prevent children’s exposure to lead via leaded paints as well as reduce occupational exposures to such paints,” Braga told the City Council through a privilege speech last month.

The Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) and the EcoWaste Coalition welcomed Braga’s lead safe paint initiative as this will promote the public’s health, safety and welfare, as well as advance a toxic-free environment for the benefit the city’s over 1.6 million residents.

“We thank Councilor Braga for initiating this well-timed proposal in line with the phase-out of lead-containing paints nationwide.  The mandatory purchase and use of lead safe paints for city projects and activities will safeguard all Davaoeñosespecially the young children, pregnant women and workers, from the detrimental effects of lead exposure to human health and the environment,” said Chinkie Peliño-Golle, Executive Director, Interface Development Interventions (IDIS).

“We look forward to the filing and eventual adoption of an ordinance that will potentially make Davao City as the first local government unit (LGU) to explicitly require the use of paints without lead additives for painting jobs paid out of public funds in compliance with the directive from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG),” stated Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

DILG Memorandum Circular 2018-26 on the “Mandatory Use of Lead Safe Paints by LGUs” issued by OIC Eduardo M. Año last February 28 enjoins the country’s LGUs - from the provinces to the barangays - to “support the phase-out of lead-containing paints and eventually reduce the hazards and risks posed by such paints to human health."


Lead-containing paint and lead-contaminated dust are recognized as major sources of lead exposure among children that can cause irreparable damage to the brain and the central nervous system, resulting in reduced intelligence and behavioral disorders, the groups said. 

The groups explained that lead discharged into the environment makes its way into the air, land, and water. Painting activities, particularly the haphazard removal of lead painted surfaces, release lead particulates that can contaminate waterways such as rivers, creeks and can even reach underlying aquifers that affect drinking water quality. Also, lead deposited in soils may be retained for up to 2,000 years and can be absorbed by plants through their leaves and roots, posing risks to the ecosystems and human health.

“There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe,” according to the World Health Organization, which has also classified lead as one of the “ten chemicals of major public health concern.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, prohibits paints and other surface coatings with lead content above 90 parts per million (ppm).

The groundbreaking regulation paved the way for eventual phase-out of lead-containing paints for architectural, decorative and household applications in December 2016 following a three-year transition period.  

Lead-based paints used for industrial applications are targeted for phase-out by December 2019.

-end- 
Reference:

Privilege Speech on Lead Paints by Councilor Pilar C. Braga

http://www.dilg.gov.ph/issuances/mc/Mandatory-use-of-Lead-Safe-Paints-by-LGUs/2658


21 March 2018

Group Asks Metro Manila LGUs and Residents to Stop Garbage Disposal in Waterways


 Estero de la Reina, Tondo, Manila, 18 March 2018
Honorio Lopez Bridge, Tondo, Manila, 18 March 2018

A waste and pollution watch group exhorted Metro Manila’s 17 local government units (LGUs) and the region’s almost 13 million residents to prevent illegal garbage disposal in waterways.

The EcoWaste Coalition made the earnest appeal as the 14th anniversary of Republic Act 9275, or the Clean Water Act, and 25th year of the World Water Day are both observed tomorrow, March 22.

The group aimed its appeal to the densely populated national capital region, which generates 9,213 tons of garbage per day or nearly one-fourth of the 40,087 tons of the daily waste generation nationwide.

“March 22 is doubly significant because it coincides with the annual World Water Day and the 14th year of the Clean Water Act since it was approved in 2004,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We hope national and local authorities will seize the occasion to draw support from all sectors in the uphill task of protecting our water and water ecosystems against pollution, particularly from irresponsible trash disposal, which is essential to realizing improved quality of life,” he said.

To mark the occasion, the EcoWaste Coalition highlighted the need for all LGUs and  waste generators to stop improper disposal practices in water bodies that persist despite clean-up efforts by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and concerned LGUs.

“While some of the 273 esteros in Metro Manila like the Estero de Paco have been declogged and rehabilitated, many of the region’s waterways remain polluted with garbage and other pollutants,"  Alejandre observed.

“It is apparent that compliance to the anti-dumping provisions of the Clean Water Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act is still unsatisfactory and has to improve,” he added.

The Clean Water Act prohibits the “discharging, depositing or causing to be deposited material of any kind into the water bodies… which could cause water pollution or impede natural flow in the water body.”  Fines range from P10,000 to P200,000 for every day of violation.

The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, on the other hand, bans the “dumping of waste matters in public places such as roads, sidewalks, canals, esteros or parks.”  Violators shall be fined P300 to P1,000, or be required to render one to 15-day community service, or both.

To promote strict compliance to these laws, the EcoWaste Coalition urged LGUs to review and strengthen the implementation of their respective Water Quality Management Action Plans and Local Government Solid Waste Management Plans.

The group specifically sought immediate LGU action to stop the practice of allowing garbage dumps on streets and even on top or near bridges where unsorted discards are deposited before being hauled by trucks to disposal facilities.

“The proliferation of such dumps violates the law banning the dumping of waste matters in public places, as well as defeats the government’s ongoing drive to get all dumpsites closed and rehabilitated,” Alejandre emphasized.

To date, 383 open dumpsites and 177 controlled dumpsites continue to operate all over the country posing serious threats to community health and environment, especially to the soil and surface and ground water.

-end-

Reference:







19 March 2018

Toxics Watch Group Cautions the Public vs Disposal of CRTs on Sidewalks and Dumps (Group Raises Alarm over Improper Disposal of Toxic TV and Computer CRTs)





The indiscriminate dumping of the glass video component of old television or computer monitor on the street poses hazards to public health and the environment and should be avoided.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental health organization, aired this warning after finding discarded cathode ray tubes (CRTs) abandoned on the sidewalks or street dumps, particularly in Makati and Manila Cities.

"The CRTs of old-style TVs and computer monitors are laden with huge amounts of lead and other hazardous chemicals. If handled and disposed of without care, the glass panel, which is lined with lead, will break and contaminate the surroundings," said Primo Morillo, E-Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Aside from lead, CRTs contain a host of other chemicals of concern, including antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, mercury, nickel phosphor, and rare earth metals, which can be discharged into the environment if the CRTs are recklessly left out on the street or dumped elsewhere.

Lead, in particular, is a cumulative toxicant that can damage the nervous, blood, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, renal and reproductive systems in humans, and is considered one of the “ten chemicals of major public health concern” by the World Health Organization. 

"Careless handling and disposal will cause the lead and other toxic components of a CRT to be released out of the tube, polluting the air, water and soil.  This is why we cannot simply throw CRTs on the side of the road. Like any other electronic waste, or e-waste, CRTs must be managed in an environmentally sound manner," he said.

Morillo also added that even the plastic casings of old TVs contain highly toxic chemicals. He explained, “CRTs form part of the country’s growing e-waste containing extremely toxic substances such as the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) on CRTs’ plastic casings.  PBDEs, which are used as flame retardants in electric and electronic equipment, are among the newly listed chemicals targeted for global elimination under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) of which the Philippines is a state party.”

"To prevent their hazardous contents from polluting the air that we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, we need to keep CRTs and other e-waste safely handled, stored, recycled, or disposed of,” Morillo emphasized.

“Breaking, dismantling and recycling CRTs in uncontrolled conditions, and causing their disposal on the streets, creeks, dumps and landfills are dangerous for waste workers and communities, and is, in fact, illegal,” he added.

Morillo also noted that the government through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is undertaking a project that will ensure the safe disposal through encapsulation of some 225 tons of leaded glass panels from about 50,000 CRT monitors.

Supported by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the said project seeks the safe management of some 1.15 tons of PBDEs in CRTs, as well as 600 tons of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) oil and PCB-contaminated electric transformers.

“To curb pollution and protect human health, we need to improve public awareness of the negative impacts of the unsafe disposal of e-waste and support policies and programs towards the environmentally sound management of this growing waste stream,” Morillo concluded. 

-end-

Reference:

http://www.who.int/ipcs/assessment/public_health/chemicals_phc/en/