30 May 2019

Groups celebrate as tons of Canada’s illegal waste shipments finally return home “We are not the world’s dumpsite.”

(Manila, Philippines; Vancouver, Canada; Gothenburg, Sweden): Sixty-nine shipping containers of illegally dumped Canadian trash set sail for home today after a six-year fight to get Canada to comply with the Basel Convention. In a joint statement, the EcoWaste Coalition, RightOnCanada, and IPEN described the historic departure of the reeking garbage from the Port of Subic north of Manila as a victory for the rule of law, morality and the environment. 

“We feel jubilant that 69 containers of Canadian rubbish are now homeward bound after being stranded here for so long,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “The Philippines is not the world's dumpsite.  Never again shall we allow other countries to trash our dignity, our people's health and the environment.”

“This is a victory for the environment and a victory for the rule of law,” said Kathleen Ruff, RightOnCanada. “The Canadian government is now finally going to comply with the Basel Convention and take responsibility for its own wastes. This is what environmental responsibility means.”

In 2013 – 2014, 103 containers containing more than 2400 tons of trash from Canada arrived in the Philippines, wrongly declared as scrap plastics for recycling but actually found to contain unsorted plastics, household garbage, used adult diapers and electronic waste. Under Basel Convention rules, Canada should have repatriated its waste within 30 days, but instead pressured the Philippines government to process the illegal shipment locally. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted the dumping issue in two subsequent trips to the Philippines in 2015 and 2017 but refused to commit to taking back the trash.

A 2019 legal opinion from Canada-based Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation found that Canada’s refusal to repatriate its trash constituted illegal traffic, among other Basel Convention violations. On April 23rd, Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, demanded that Canada take back its illegally dumped trash. Philippines recalled its Ambassador and consults after Canada missed the May 15th deadline. 

“Canada should have complied with the Basel Convention and repatriated its illegal garbage exports years ago,” said Joe DiGangi, IPEN. “It should not take a presidential threat to get Canada or any other country to comply with the Basel Convention. Going forward, both Canada and the Philippines need to learn from this frustrating experience, so that it is never repeated.”   

To prevent the recurrence of garbage dumping, the groups agreed that Canada and the Philippines should rapidly ratify the Basel Ban Amendment which prohibits the export of hazardous wastes and other wastes from developed to developing countries for any reason, including recycling.

New global rules enacted at a recent Basel Convention meeting will stop unrestricted plastic waste exports. However, strengthening Philippines law is also an important step to prevent future dumping say the groups. 

“This ordeal has taught us of the urgency of correcting outmoded regulations allowing waste imports into the country under the guise of recycling. We need to close this ghastly loophole that is facilitating illegal waste traffic and turning our country into a dumping ground for plastic, electronic and hazardous wastes, which should be recycled, treated or disposed of in the country where such wastes were generated,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Reporters and Editors, please contact LauraVyda@ipen.org for additional information and to arrange interviews. 


Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition, alucero@ecowastecoalition.org, +63 917-836-9592
Kathleen Ruff, RightOnCanada, kruff@starlynx.ca 
Laura Vyda, IPEN, LauraVyda@ipen.org,  +1 510-387-1739

Groups say goodbye to Canada waste, urge PH government to ban all waste imports immediately

As the Philippines bid goodbye to the Canadian waste, six years after it was discovered in Philippine ports, environmental groups are calling on the Philippine government to ban all waste imports in the Philippines and ratify the Basel Ban Amendment. This follows the discovery of several other waste shipments to the Philippines from South Korea in 2018 and Australia and Hong Kong, which were divulged last week.

From 2013 to 2014, 103 shipping containers from Canada were intercepted in the Port of Manila containing mixed wastes,  including non-recyclable plastic, waste paper, household waste, electronic wastes, and used adult diapers. These materials are classified as hazardous, based on the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste and Control Act of 1990 (Republic Act 6969). Moreover, the importation of the shipment violates the Basel Convention, as the contents of the cargo vans were misdeclared as ‘recyclable’.

While the return of Canada’s waste is a positive development, only a little more than half (69 containers) of the original waste is being shipped back; 26 containers were already landfilled in the Philippines at the time when Canada disowned responsibility for the shipment; the other eight containers were also disposed of locally. 

Aside from the controversial Canadian waste, shipments containing garbage from South Korea were discovered in October 2018. After campaigns from environmental groups in both the Philippines and South Korea, the Philippine government and its South Korean counterparts agreed to ship back part of the waste shipment in January 2019. The remaining 5,176.9 metric tonnes of waste are still in Misamis Oriental, awaiting repatriation.

In May 2019, the entry of wastes coming from Australia and Hong Kong in Mindanao Container Terminal became public.

Ever since China closed its doors to waste importation in January 2018, Southeast Asian countries have been the destination of waste exports from developed countries. A report from Greenpeace revealed that the majority of ‘mixed recyclable plastics’ previously destined to China are being redirected to countries in the region with weak environmental regulations. [1]

Local NGO groups, including Ecowaste Coalition, Greenpeace Philippines, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, BAN Toxics, and the global Break Free from Plastic movement, reiterated the call for the Philippine government to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits the import of all waste for any reason, including “recycling.”

The groups are also calling on the Philippine government to ban all waste shipments from entering the Philippines, and to stand up for Philippine sovereignty by telling developed countries that the Philippines is not a garbage dump.. 

The groups also launched an online petition [2] calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a ban on the entry of wastes to the Philippines and to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment. Ecowaste Coalition called on all Filipinos to ‘raise the flag’ on social media to make a strong and collective stance against the entry of illegal waste shipment in the country. [3]

Notes to the editor:

[1] Data from global plastic waste trade 2016-2018 and the offshore impact of China’s foreign waste import ban. http://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/Global/eastasia/publications/campaigns/toxics/GPEA%20Plastic%20waste%20trade%20-%20research%20briefing-v1.pdf

[2] Ban entry of foreign waste to the Philippines. https://act.gp/banforeignwaste 

[3] Ecowaste Coalition encourages Filipinos to raise the flag vs onslaught of foreign waste. http://www.ecowastecoalition.org/2019/05/27/ecowaste-encourages-filipinos-to-raise-the-flag-vs-onslaught-of-foreign-waste/

Media contacts:

Angelica Carballo Pago, Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines
angelica.pago@greenpeace.org | (+63) 949 889 1332

Jed Alegado, Break Free from Plastic 
jed@breakfreefromplastic.org | (+63) 917 607 0248

Thony Dizon, Ecowaste Coalition
thony.dizon24@yahoo.com | (+63) 917-8364725

Sonia Astudillo, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
sonia@no-burn.org  | (+63) 917-5969286

Dawn Po Quimque, BAN Toxics
dawn@bantoxics.org | (+63) 929 313 0488

29 May 2019

EcoWaste Coalition Warns Against Back-to-School Supplies Laced with Cadmium and Lead

An environmental and children’s health advocacy group has again alerted consumers against purchasing school supplies laced with hazardous substances such as cadmium and lead.

The EcoWaste Coalition emphasized the importance of picking back-to-school essentials that are not only affordable but also non-toxic to avoid children’s potential exposure to health-damaging chemicals.

At the same time, the group urged manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of school supplies, as well as government regulators, to ensure that school supplies sold in the market are 100% safe for children to use and are properly labeled.

“While many school supplies are generally harmless, there are some items that contain undisclosed chemicals that are banned or restricted in children’s toys because of their harmful effects on children’s health and the environment, too,” stated Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Parents should be on the lookout for these items that may contain hazardous chemicals such as cadmium, lead and phthalates,” he pointed out.

“Our schools and the products that children use should be totally safe from these chemicals that can put their development and health at risk,” he concluded.

To promote chemical safety awareness, the EcoWaste Coalition randomly bought assorted products, many of them with zero labeling information, from street vendors and retail stores located in Divisoria and Quiapo, Manila City and in Makati, Pasay and Quezon Cities.

The purchased items, which include art materials, bags, water containers, rain gears and assorted school accessories, including hair clips for girls, were subsequently screened for heavy metals using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device.

Included among the products bought and analyzed were Artex Fine Water Colors, MPC Classique Water Colors and Fairyland Crayons, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned in 2014, 2017 and 2018, respectively, for containing lead above the maximum allowed limit.

Out of 87 samples, 34 were found to contain lead and/or cadmium above levels of concern. 

Lead was detected in 32 samples in the scale of 172  to 86,000 parts per million (ppm), way in excess of the regulatory limit of 90 ppm.

Lead, a hazardous substance linked to learning and behavioral problems, is prohibited in the production of school supplies as per DENR Administrative Order 2013-24, or the “Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds,” which the group pushed to prevent and control childhood lead exposure.   

Among the samples found to contain high concentrations of lead were: 

1. An Artex Fine Water Colors (bright yellow cake), 86,000 ppm
2. A yellow painted metal water container with Minions design, 65,500 ppm
3. A red coated hair clip, 42,600 ppm 
4. A yellow painted metal water container with Rabbit design, 39,300 ppm
5. A yellow coated hair clip, 15,800 ppm
6. A backpack with Ultraman design, 12,100 ppm
7. An MPC Classique Water Colors (light yellow cake), 4,914 ppm
8. A bag tag with a Doraemon design, 3,659 ppm
9. A yellow Fairyland crayon, 3,191 ppm  
10. A bag tag with Superman design, 2,361 ppm
11. A backpack with Ben 10 design, 1,908
12. A backpack with Hello Kitty design, 1,879 ppm

Cadmium from 256 to 1,838 ppm was likewise detected in 12 samples. A raincoat with Pokemon design had 666 ppm and a backpack with Sofia design had 1,838 ppm,  

For children's health and safety, the EcoWaste Coalition urged parents to shun school supplies that are painted unless certified as lead-safe, those made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic as these may contain toxic additives, and those that are already banned by the FDA.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has tagged lead and cadmium in the list of “ten chemicals of major public health concern.”

As stated by WHO, lead “is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems, including the neurologic, hematologic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and renal systems.”  The WHO also warned “children are particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of exposure can cause serious and in some cases irreversible neurological damage.”

Cadmium is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as “carcinogenic to humans,” and is also recognized as a reproductive and developmental toxin associated with reduced birth weight, premature birth, stillbirth, spontaneous abortion and birth defects in humans, as well with behavioral and learning disabilities.




27 May 2019

EcoWaste Coalition Encourages Filipinos to Raise the Flag vs Onslaught of Foreign Waste

The spate of illegal waste shipments intercepted by customs authorities drove an environmental group to call on all Filipinos to raise the flag and make a collective stance against the entry of garbage from overseas.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental health and justice group, suggested the move as the country marks the National Flag Day on May 28.  From May 28 to June 12, as per Executive Order 179, Series of 1994, Filipinos are encouraged to display the flag to memorialize the first time the national emblem was unfurled at a battle in Alapan, Imus, Cavite in 1898.

“We find it very timely and necessary that we, as one people, take a united stance against the onslaught of foreign garbage that seems to be invading our shores,” stated Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“From mixed plastic wastes from Canada, South Korea and Hong Kong to mixed residual wastes processed into fuel from Australia, our country has fallen victim to this insidious global waste trade due to weak import controls and outdated regulations,” she pointed out.   

“We fear the worst is yet to come until our nation makes a strong unified position against the entry of wastes into our ports under the cover of recycling or outright disposal,” she said.

“To make it crystal clear to everyone that our country is not a global trash bin, we invite our citizens to display our flag with pride during the flag days,” she suggested.

As this gesture would obviously not be enough to ward off illegal waste traffickers and their cohorts, the EcoWaste Coalition rightly urged the authorities to consider these two measures:

First, for the government to adopt a comprehensive and immediate ban on all waste imports and to impose heavy penalties against violators.

Second, for the government to ensure fast ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment for concurrence by the Senate.  

This amendment to the Basel Convention, an international treaty, prohibits the export of hazardous wastes and other wastes from developed to developing countries for any reason, including recycling, the EcoWaste Coalition explained.

“The swift adoption of these measures will formalize the verbal announcement made by President Rodrigo Duterte last May 6 barring waste imports,” Sison said.

Duterte issued the oral directive in light of the inordinate delay in the re-export of 69 container vans of Canadian garbage, which form part of the garbage-filled 103 containers that entered Manila port from Vancouver port from 2013 to 2014.

"The President is firm that we are not garbage collectors, thus he ordered that the Philippines will no longer accept any waste from any country," announced Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo at a press briefing.

“On May 28 to June 12, let us show our flag and tell the world we are not their dumpsite,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.


25 May 2019

Groups Question Trash Shipments from Australia Passed Up as Fuel Not Waste

Environmental health and justice groups in the Philippines and Australia have joined forces to expose and question global waste trade that is using developing nations as convenient disposal sites for rich countries’ garbage.

This developed as the Bureau of Custom-Region 10 issued an “Alert Order” for nine 40 footer container vans from Australia loaded with 211.14 tons of waste materials declared as “municipal waste/processed engineered fuel (PEF). ” The shipments arrived on May 7, 2019 at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental and were destined to the Holcim cement manufacturing facility.

Subsequent waste assessment conducted by the Environmental Management Bureau - Region 10 found “pieces of assorted scrap plastic, cellophane, wrappers, chunks of hard plastic, textile, fibers, wood chips, glass cullet, stones, soil, paper and other shredded materials,” noting that “the contents of the plastic-wrapped bales can be generally described as shredded municipal waste.”

“The export to our country of residual wastes generated by Australia’s commercial, industrial and construction sectors as fuel for cement kiln looks like a clever disposal scheme.  Described as ‘municipal waste’ in the shipment declaration, Australia is able to dispose of its unwanted residuals and even profit from their sale by turning and relabeling these wastes as so-called PEF for export to developing countries like ours,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“This is a highly deceptive way of sidestepping the provisions of the Basel Convention to which the Philippines is party by declaring the shredded mixed waste as PEF. In the recent Conference of the Parties, the Philippines was a firm supporter of the Norwegian Amendment which essentially would put a stop to plastic waste dumping,” said Beau Baconguis, Plastics Campaigner,  Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives-Asia Pacific and  Asia Pacific Coordinator of Break Free From Plastic.

Jane Bremmer, Zero Waste Coordinator for Australia of the National Toxics Network, decried Australia’s “colonialist and deceitful approach to waste management by a country that should, and can, manage its own waste.”

“It is unethical for Australia to send its non-recyclable, residual municipal waste, rebadged as ‘PEF’, to be burnt in cement kilns in other countries, effectively escaping Australian regulatory responsibility for its impacts, including the adverse human health and environmental impacts associated with burning municipal waste in cement kilns,” said Bremmer.

“Further, the global waste flow restructuring triggered by China’s rejection of imported waste from wealthy western countries, is a wake-up call for Australia to finally act on the decades of deliberate neglect and mismanagement of waste in Australia," she said. 

“No longer can Australia ignore the dinosaur in the room. Waste stockpiles are growing and our environment, our atmosphere and oceans are full of waste residues that cause irreversible and catastrophic hazardous and toxic impacts,” she added.

The groups noted that countries in Southeast Asia are pushing back as they urge the Philippines to show its strong resolve by immediately issuing a comprehensive  ban on the importation of municipal, plastic, toxic and hazardous wastes.


24 May 2019

EcoWaste Coalition Slams Botched Mixed Plastic Waste Shipment from Hong Kong (Group Renews Call for Comprehensive Ban on Waste Imports, Rapid Ratification of Basel Ban Amendment)

Photo Courtesy: EcoWaste Coalition

The waste and pollution watch group EcoWaste Coalition today denounced the latest attempt to dump into the Philippines mixed plastic waste this time from Hong Kong, China.

The incident reinforces the call made by the group urging the government to formalize as soon as possible President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders issued last May 6 banning waste shipments from other countries.

Last Wednesday, the group joined officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Region 10 led by Port Collector John Simon in inspecting a one 40 footer container van containing 22 sling bags weighing 25,610 kilograms of mixed plastic waste instead of the declared “assorted electronic accessories.”

"We are appalled by this attempt to bring mixed plastic scraps, shredded electronics and other residual waste materials in violation of our customs and environmental laws.  As guardian of the gate, we cannot allow our country to be treated by others as a disposal or dumping site for world's garbage," stated Simon. 

The shipment that came from Hong Kong arrived at the Mindanao Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental on January 2, 2019 on board SITC Fujian.  The cargo was shipped by Hin Yuen Tech. Env. Limited and was consigned to Crowd Win Industrial Limited.

“We denounce this latest attempt to bring into the country over 25 tons of mixed plastic waste from Hong Kong amid our nation’s ongoing efforts to send back similar illegal waste shipments from Canada and South Korea,” exclaimed Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“This is supposed to be a ‘trial shipment’ for some 70 containers.  Thanks to the alertness and resolve of local customs intelligence and officials, our nation succeeded in stopping a potential avalanche of plastic waste and e-waste,” she emphasized. 

“We are shocked that the shipment originated from Hong Kong, which we find truly ironic since China has taken the unprecedented move to protect its own environment by banning waste imports, including electronic and plastic scraps and remnants.  We therefore request the Chinese government to seriously look into this matter,” she added.

"To protect the national interest against illegal waste trafficking, we renew our earnest call for a comprehensive and immediate ban on waste imports and for the country's rapid ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment," Lucero said, noting that this amendment to the Basel Convention seeks to prohibit the export of hazardous wastes and other wastes from developed to developing countries.

An alert order and a warrant of seizure and detention were issued on February 19 and March 7, 2019 by BOC Region 10 for the said shipment citing violation of Section 1400 (misdeclaration) in relation to Section 117 (lack of permit) of Republic Act 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Simon has confirmed with the EcoWaste Coalition that the BOC will soon initiate the re-export of the illegal shipment to Hong Kong, its port of origin.


21 May 2019

Environmental Activists Step Up Protest over Unreturned Garbage from Canada

Now is the time to ship back to Canada their rotting garbage in the Philippines, no ifs or buts about it.

Environmental justice activists belonging to the waste and pollution watch group EcoWaste Coalition affirmed this message as they stage a die-in protest outside the Canadian Embassy in Makati City to push the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to speed up the removal of their garbage out of Manila and Subic Ports.

Dozens of activists laid down on the traffic island along Buendia Avenue a week after the Canadian government failed to meet Duterte government's May 15 ultimatum for the re-export of 69 container vans of garbage to their origin in the port of Vancouver.

Some of the protesters held up a banner reading “Canada, comply with the Basel Convention, take back your garbage now.”

The latest protest action at the Canadian foreign mission came on the heels of the unprecedented decision by the Philippine government to maintain diminished diplomatic presence in Canada over the garbage dispute that saw Ambassador Petronila Garcia and her consuls general being recalled.

“We are here again to ask the Canadian government to take back their garbage now to avert further escalation of conflict between Manila and Ottawa due to the unreturned garbage.  To restore the two countries’ good bilateral relations, Canada has to act fast on its promise to retake the illegal waste shipments,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We do not want to see our labor attach├ęs in Toronto and Vancouver being recalled as well because of Canada’s failure to re-import their garbage,” she added.

Last Saturday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he was mulling over the possibility of also withdrawing officials in charge of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Canada because of the unresolved dumping issue.

“If Canada truly values its deep and longstanding relationship with the Philippines, they should have made immediate and high priority arrangements to take their garbage home in keeping with their obligations under the Basel Convention,” Lucero asserted.  

“For over five years, Canada has failed to assume responsibility for the illegally traded wastes and unfairly put the burden of dealing with the Canadian generated wastes on the Philippine government,” she pointed out.

Article 9 of the Basel Convention imposes an obligation on the State of export, in this case Canada, to ensure the return of wastes where the export of the wastes is deemed to constitute “illegal traffic”. 

To prevent the recurrence of illegal waste trafficking, the EcoWaste Coalition called on both the governments of Canada and the Philippines to rapidly ratify the Basel Ban Amendment.

This amendment to the Basel Convention, which has yet to enter into force, prohibits the export of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries for any reason, including recycling.

The group also reiterated its call on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to revise current regulations to stop waste imports into the Philippines.

To recall, 103 container vans falsely declared to contain recyclable homogenous plastic scraps arrived In 2013 and 2014 at the port of Manila from the port of Vancouver.  The shipments were sent by Chronic Inc. based in Ontario and were consigned to Chronic Plastics and Live Green Enterprises in the Philippines.

Inspections conducted by the authorities found plastics and household residuals, used adult diapers, and electronic discards in the shipments.

Thirty-four of the 103 containers have been disposed of locally, and only 69 containers are to be shipped back to Canada.   

Of the 69 containers remaining, two are at the Manila International Container Terminal  and 67 are at the Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation, according to the BOC 


20 May 2019

Brigada Eskwela 2019: Lead Safe Paints for Healthy Schools

As the annual Brigada Eskwela goes in full blast starting today, participating schools are reminded to be mindful of the government's environmental and health policies aimed at promoting a conducive learning environment for children.

At the launch of the bayanihan-inspired Brigada Eskwela, the Balingasa Elementary School in Quezon City teamed up with Sycwin Coating & Wires, Inc. (manufacturer of PureCoat Premium Wondercryl Pure Acrylic Latex Semi Gloss Paint) and the EcoWaste Coalition (an environmental organization) to  promote compliance to policy issuances by the Department of Education (DepEd) in relation to paint and waste.

“With the active support of our parents, teachers, and students, as well as partners in the private and public sectors, we hope to make our Brigada Eskwela this year more eco-friendly with the use of lead safe paints and the observance of ecological waste management in line with DepEd policies," said Nancy Annie de la Paz, Principal, Balingasa Elementary School.

Department Order No. 4, Series of 2017 requires the “mandatory use of lead safe paints in schools,” while Department Order No. 64, also issued in 2017, specifies the minimum performance standards and specifications for DepEd school buildings, including “paint materials must be independently certified  lead safe paints/coatings.”

Department Order No. 5, Series of 2014, also enjoins schools, among other things, to conduct waste prevention and reduction activities such as enforcing the ban on littering and burning of trash consistent with Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“We are honored that our entire industrial paint lines, namely Guilder and Illinois brands are the first industrial paint brands in the Philippines to be certified as lead safe.  On top of this, our Purecoat Premium Architectural Latex paints are certified lead safe as well.  PureCoat does not pose any hazardous effects to our health. Thus it can be safely used to turn schools, homes and other places into more attractive spaces. Indeed, sa PureCoat, maganda ang bahay, makulay ang buhay!”, remarked Michael Sy, President, Sycwin Coating & Wires, Inc.  

Sycwin recently obtained Lead Safe Paint® certification following independentassessment by US-based SCS Global Services for all 10 of its product brands, namely, PureCoat Premium, Guilder, WeatherGard, PureCoat Advance,  Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, Guilder, Delaware, and Alabama.

“The mandatory use of lead safe paints in schools has to be strictly observed to ensure a healthy environment where children can study, discover their potentials and hone their skills and talents.  We need to keep our schools lead safe as lead is particularly dangerous to the developing brains of children," said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“There is no known safe level of lead exposure. Even low levels of lead exposure may cause lifetime health issues such as learning disabilities, impaired  language skills, reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) and behavioral problems.  Health risks to children, pregnant women and workers can be prevented by making and using lead safe paints," added Jeiel Guarino, Lead Paint Campaigner of  IPEN, a global NGO network that counts on the EcoWaste Coalition among its members.

The compulsory use of paints without added lead, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded, is also directed by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular 2018-26 on the “Mandatory Use of Lead Safe Paints by LGUs,” as well as Quezon City Ordinance 2739-2018, which requires the mandatory procurement and use of certified lead safe paints including enamels, glazes, lacquers, primers, stains, varnishes and other surface coatings for the city government-funded projects

To further ensure that the Brigada Eskwela is pollution- free, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed the importance of observing basic practices in ecological solid waste management.

“We urge Brigada Eskwela participants to be on the guard against improper disposal of waste resulting from the weeklong cleanup activities.  Please refrain from mixing discards and from dumping and burning them as these are against DepEd’s policy and R.A. 9003,” stated Dizon.