EcoWaste Coalition Advocates Use of Lead-Safe Paints in Brigada Eskwela

As the Brigada Eskwela goes in full swing, the EcoWaste Coalition reiterated the importance of decorating school facilities, amenities, furniture and fixtures with compliant paints containing no lead additives.

Unlike lead paints, compliant paints are free of intentionally added lead compounds, which are banned in paints and similar surface coatings as per the DENR-issued Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds.

To further drum up awareness on the mandatory use of lead-free or lead-safe paints, the EcoWaste Coalition repainted some wooden chairs using such paints at a Brigada Eskwela event held today in San Agustin Elementary School (SAES) in Novaliches, Quezon City.

“It’s important to keep our classrooms and the overall school environment safe from harmful chemicals like lead, which can affect the learning abilities of our students and slow down their development,” said SAES Principal Dr. Randy G. Tagaan.

“We therefore welcome EcoWaste Coalition’s efforts to promote awareness on and adherence to DepEd Order 4, s.2017, as well as the Quezon City Ordinance requiring the compulsory use of  lead-free paints,” he added.

DepEd Order 4, s.2017 makes it mandatory to use lead-safe paints in all preparatory, elementary and secondary schools, while Quezon City Ordinance 2739-2018 provides for the obligatory procurement and use of lead-safe paints for city government-funded construction, maintenance and renovation projects and activities.

“We remain committed to promoting the effective implementation of national and local policies banning lead-containing paints, which we successfully pursued in close collaboration with our partners in the government, industry and civil society to protect the health of children, women and workers from lead poisoning,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“The need for continuing information drive is needed as some solvent-based lead-containing paints may still be in the market, especially old stocks that have not been retrieved,” she said.  “Some leaded paints in aerosol cans from abroad are being sold by some retailers, including online sellers.”

During the Brigada Eskwela at SAES, the group also took the opportunity to draw attention to the ecological solid waste management (ESWM) of school waste.
In line with DepEd Order 5, s.2014, every school is required to apply the basic principles and practices in ESWM, including waste prevention and reduction, segregation at source, reuse, recycling, and composting “to promote environmental awareness and action among the students.”

The said directive also requires schools to put up a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to serve as a storage area for discards that can still be repaired, reused or recycled.  It further requires a temporary space where non-recyclable or non-biodegradable discards, also known as residual waste, can be stored.