27 January 2014

EcoWaste Coalition Urges DENR to Take the "Big Leap" towards Speedy and Full Implementation of R.A. 9003 in the Year of the Horse


As the country’s waste law enters its 14th year today, some 50 members of the EcoWaste Coalition trooped to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) calling for an expedited enforcement and full implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (R.A. 9003) in the midst of worsening waste woes and emerging quick fix solutions disguised as “green” technologies in the country.

In time for the approaching Chinese New Year of the Wooden Horse and to illustrate the need to speed up its full implementation, the environmental activists trotted to the DENR alongside a real and robust stallion ridden by Zero Waste champion “Super WA” (for “Walang Aksaya”).

Two basket loads of quick fixes carried by the horse – 1) waste-to-energy burning technologies and incinerators, and 2) dumpsites and landfills – demonstrate the hurdles that slow down the law’s enforcement and impede its full implementation.

“Despite being signed into law by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on 26 January 2001, R.A. 9003 clearly suffers from similar languid implementation that we see in other inadequately enforced environmental laws,” lamented Ochie Tolentino, Vice President of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“In this year of the horse, we need ‘big leap’ towards real solutions to our mounting garbage problems instead of promoting band aid solutions that are obstructive to the mandate of the law that promises a healthy and sustainable environment,” a hopeful Tolentino added.

“The 13 year old law apparently has not developed into maturity despite its age as evidenced by the wanton violations of its major provisions everywhere,” she said.

R.A. 9003 provides for a comprehensive and eco-friendly approach to managing discards mainly through waste prevention, reduction, segregation at source, reuse, recycling and composting, excluding waste incineration.

It specifically requires the country’s over 42,000 barangays to develop ecological solid waste management programs, promote waste separation at source, enforce a segregated collection for biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, and establish Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in every barangay or cluster of barangays.

The EcoWaste Coalition argued that despite the law’s mandate for the closure of all open dumps by February of 2004 and controlled dumps by February 2006, close to 1,000 open and controlled dumps remain in operation.

The data, the EcoWaste Coalition clarifies, do not include “guerilla” dumps often seen in street corners and vacant lots.

“Considering the waste crisis the country is in today, we are racing against time to put in place genuine solutions to our garbage problems with national waste generation of 12 million tons per year, and still expected to increase as the population breaches 100 million,” Tolentino exclaimed.

“We urge the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) and all local government units and sectors of the society to pursue ecological solutions to the garbage crisis and progress towards Zero Waste to rid our communities of foul-smelling dumps and toxics-emitting incinerators, and instead bring in green jobs and livelihood opportunities from clean recycling for our people, especially the waste pickers,” she stated.

According to the EcoWaste Coalition, “the law stresses waste avoidance and volume reduction through the adoption of best practices in ecological waste management, but the mindset favoring quick fix solutions that are costly, resource-destructive and climate-damaging sanitary landfills and incinerators persists in most of our public officials, which indirectly tolerates continuous wasteful habits.”

“We therefore urge the government to be serious about implementing the law. The R.A. 9003 anniversaries would come and go, but unless serious political will is employed against violators, the event would always just come and go,” the group said.


Local Environmental Group Cautions Cebu City Against the Construction of an RDF Facility

Cebu City. The Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) technology behind the JICA-proposed PHP 12 million plastic wastes processing facility at Inayawan Sanitary Landfill does not solve the bigger waste problem of the City and violates the Clean Air Act (R.A. 8749) and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (R.A. 9003).

In observance of the 14th year anniversary of the signing of R.A. 9003 today, the Cebu City-based Philippine Earth Justice Center (PEJC) made the statement after an Executive Session by the Cebu City Council was held last January 22 to discuss the group’s opposition and offer better solutions – together with the EcoWaste Coalition, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod, Mother Earth Foundation, Panaghiusa sa Manggagawan’ng Transportasyon and Sanlakas Sugbo – to the aforementioned proposal.

During the Executive Session, Mother Earth Foundation President Froilan Grate delivered a presentation citing best practices among local government units in ecological solid waste management that can address the burgeoning waste problem of the city. Councilor Alvin Dizon commended the same and endorsed that it be presented before the city’s Solid Waste Management Board.

JICA has tapped the services of Mansei Recycle Systems Co., Ltd. to implement the plastic waste processing facility project at Inayawan Sanitary Landfill in Cebu City. This facility will process mixed waste in the landfill and recycle it into plastic fluff, which will then be used to produce waste plastic-based fuel that will be sold to local cement manufacturers as an alternative to coal.

“The project is primarily an entrepreneurial activity as the city stands to gain from the revenues, but the public functions of the city – to implement environmental laws and to protect the health of the people and the environment – and the framework of sustainable development which should be adhered, are effectively sidelined,” said lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Coordinator of the PEJC.

“The wastes to be collected from the dumpsite are most likely contaminated and therefore hazardous, especially for our waste pickers and the people who will be working in that facility,” Ramos explained.

The basis of RDF technology is burning or incineration as the fuel produced from waste is burned in conventional incinerators and cement kilns. The burning of waste in the Philippines is explicitly prohibited under the Clean Air Act and R.A. 9003.

Ramos stressed that “a thorough study of the health and environmental impacts of the project, including measures to rehabilitate the area, is essential and required under our laws.”

“Should it continue with the project, the city shall likewise be in violation of two more prohibited acts (under Section 48, sections 14-16) of R.A. 9003,” she said.

In a recent study conducted by the University of San Carlos-Cebu, high mercury and toxic emissions were detected at the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill.

“Rather than embarking on a revenue-generating project designed only to earn money, it is more prudent for the city to prioritize measures to reduce environmental emissions and contamination and protect public health and ecosystems through a serious implementation of our laws,” she suggested.

“In addition, the city becomes liable for deaths or ailments if it will not exercise precautionary measures in ensuring a healthy environment for its constituents, especially the workers and waste pickers, whose health and security concerns need to be integrated under the National Framework Plan for the Informal Waste Sector,” she clarified.

PEJC further questioned the sustainability of the project as RDF’s by-product will add to the increasing toxic air pollution and carbon concentration in the atmosphere, to the detriment many people. It also mocks the sustainable paradigm that the Philippines is committed to promote, and even the city espouses under its Sustainability Ordinance, which is also not implemented.

“We reiterate our position that the enforcement of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, is long overdue and should already be given the attention they deserve,” PEJC said in a statement.

“We look forward to the much-needed crafting of the Solid Waste Management Plan and the Air Quality Management Plan to serve as our road map to a safe and sustainable tomorrow, and where citizens are conscious of their responsibility to avoid, minimize and recycle resources and lessen their carbon footprint,” the group added.


26 January 2014

EcoWaste Coalition Questions the Use of Lead and Other Toxic Metals in Chinese New Year Lucky Charms (Watchdog FindsToxic Metals in 42 Out of 50 Lucky Charms)


Some feng shui amulets and charms that are supposed to deflect negative chi (energy) and draw good health and wealth during the auspicious Year of the Wooden Horse are ironically loaded with hazardous substances.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, made this observation after obtaining evidence that some of these amulets and charms contain chemicals that belong to the World Health Organization’s “ten chemicals of major public health concern” such as arsenic, cadmium and lead.

“We find the presence of toxic metals in some amulets and charms incompatible with the much trumpeted luck and success that they are supposed to bring,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“There is a clear mismatch between the good flow of energy and prosperity offered by some of these talismans and activators and the bad chemicals that make them up,” he said.

Using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence device, the group detected excessive levels of toxic metals in 42 out of 50 samples.   Out of these 42 tainted samples, lead up to 207,400 parts per million (ppm) was detected in 34 samples, arsenic up to 3,174 ppm in 16 samples and cadmium up to 12,900 ppm in 4 samples.  High levels of antimony and chromium were also detected in some samples.

The assorted samples were procured for P20 to 350 each from lucky charms stores and street vendors  in Binondo, Divisoria and Quiapo, Manila.

None of the samples contain basic labeling information that would have informed the buyer about the product’s manufacturer, country of origin, chemical ingredients and the essential precautionary health and safety warnings.

Topping the samples with the highest concentrations of lead were the following “dirty dozen”:

1.  A prayer necklace adorned with a lead alloy pendant of the six-syllable mantra of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, had 207,400 ppm of lead.  One who recites the mantra “om mane padme hum” is  supposed to be protected from all dangers.

2.  A “stabilizing amulet” that is said to help in securing emotion for good planning and decision-making with 98,300 ppm of lead.|

3.  A  big “Yin Yang bagua” hanging charm with tassel had 75,900 ppm of lead.

4.  A  small “Yin Yang bagua” hanging charm with tassel had 45,300 ppm of lead.

5. A “gain luck coin” (also known as “money plate”) had 35,500 ppm of lead.

6.  A “golden dragon” sitting on a pile of gold coins and surrounded by the 12 zodiac animals had 9,885 ppm of lead.

7.  A waving prosperity cat made of ceramic had 7,514 ppm of lead.

8.  A lucky bracelet with Rabbit animal figure and multicolor stones had 7,124 ppm of lead.

9.  A figurine of a smiling Buddha holding a lucky gold ingot and gourd had 7,068 ppm of lead.

10.  A lucky charm of 12 horoscope animal symbols had 6,462 ppm of lead.

11.  A horse statuette on top a pineapple and gold ingot had 5,380 ppm of lead.

12.  A horse figurine adorned with leafy vegetables had 4,522 ppm of lead.

Toxicologist Dr. Bessie Antonio, who is also the head of the East Avenue Medical Center's Out-Patient Department, pointed out that “lead is a dangerous toxicant  that kids and adults should avoid.”

“It is a chemical poison that affects multiple body systems and organs, including the heart, kidneys, intestines, brain and the nervous system, as well as the hematologic and reproductive systems,” she said.

“Lead exposure among children even at low levels can disrupt brain development and cause lifelong learning and behavioral problems, while exposure among women and workers can bring about miscarriage, reduced sperm count, anemia, peripheral neuropathy, hypertension and many other lead-induced health issues,” she pointed out.

To avoid preventable toxic exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition advises consumers to be inquisitive, ask pertinent questions and assert one’s right to information in every step of the transaction.

“It’s better to be makulit (importunate) than to spend hard-earned money for lucky charms that can poison one’s future and the environment,” Dizon reminded.



23 January 2014

Environmental and Labor Groups Urge Government to Expand Asbestos Ban to Protect Public Health



(Top two photos: Sheng Fu vacuum flask purchased at Paco, Manila; other photos of recalled thermos flasks from EU RAPEX's website)
An environmental network and a labor federation today urged the government to take action to eliminate the sale of asbestos-containing consumer products in the market.

In a joint statement, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) called on the authorities to expand the prohibition on the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of consumer products that can expose consumers and workers to asbestos, a group of cancer-causing fibrous materials.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “all types of asbestos cause lung cancer,  mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and ovary, and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs).”

The appeal was prompted by the EcoWaste Coalition’s discovery of a thermos flask on sale in the local market that was recently banned in Spain due to the presence of asbestos fibres in the dividers of the double glass wall of the product, which could be inhaled and cause cancer if the glass container breaks and the asbestos board pads are handled.

The groups specifically called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to revise the Chemical Control Order for Asbestos to make it in sync with the global efforts led by the WHO and the International Labor Organization (ILO) to eradicate asbestos-related diseases.

The CCO, adopted in January 2000, strictly prohibits the use of amosite (brown) and crocidolite (blue) asbestos fibers and of products containing these fibers, but permits the use of chrysolite (white) asbestos fibers in high density products.

“Since we now know that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans, we urge the DENR to duly revise the CCO to ban all uses of asbestos as this is the most effective way of preventing asbestos-related diseases among workers and the general public,” said Allan Tanjusay, Spokesperson of the TUCP.

“We further call on our lawmakers to rally behind the passage of House Bill 2638 that seeks to  minimize hazards to health and safety of workers, their families and the public due to asbestos exposure,” he added.

“Eliminating all uses of asbestos, especially in products used at home, school and workplace, should be urgently done to protect vulnerable sectors such as the children and workers from being exposed to asbestos in products, which are eventually discarded in bins and dumps and further exposing waste handlers and retrievers to sure hazard,” added Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Their appeal was driven by the discovery made by the EcoWaste Coalition’s AlerToxic Patroller of China-made Sheng Fu thermos flask on sale in Paco, Manila that was recalled in Spain, according to the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Non-Food Dangerous Products (RAPEX).

“The product poses a chemical risk because of the presence of asbestos fibres in the separators of the double glass wall of the thermos flask. The product does not comply with the REACH Regulation,” stated the Spanish government as published in RAPEX’s Report 2014-2.

From 2008 to date, Germany, Italy and Spain have recalled 34 types of consumer products due to their asbestos content, including 23 brands of thermos flask. Other asbestos-containing items recalled include 5 sky lanterns, 3 garden torches, a brake pad, a heat radiator and a tea maker.

Citing information from the WHO, the groups said that “more than 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis resulting from occupational exposure.”

“In addition, several thousands of deaths can be attributed to other asbestos-related diseases, as well as to nonoccupational exposures to asbestos,” according to the WHO.





(type “asbestos” in “free text search” and under “years” choose “2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.”


20 January 2014

Children's Health Advocates Push for Expedited Ban on BPA-Laden Infant Products

To mark this week’s observance of the National Cancer Consciousness Week, children’s health and safety campaigners led by the EcoWaste Coalition today gathered outside the Department of Health (DOH) office in Sta. Cruz, Manila, to urge the government in banning the continued use of bisphenol A (BPA) in infant and other consumer products.

In a letter sent to DOH Secretary Enrique Ona, some 100 advocates for children’s health and chemical safety pressed the agency to fast track the issuance of an Administrative Order that will ban the use of BPA, an endocrine-disrupting and cancer-causing chemical, in baby feeding bottles, sippy cups and other food and beverage containers for kids under the age of three.

To read the petition that was personally received by DOH Asst. Sec. Eric Tayag and Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Director Kenneth Hartigan-Go, please go to:


BPA, a synthetic compound used in polycarbonate baby bottles and in epoxy resins for canned foods and beverages, has been linked to a long list of health problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, asthma, erectile dysfunction, infertility, obesity, type II diabetes, heart ailments and breast and prostate cancers, often at low levels of exposure.

“An immediate ban on BPA in baby bottles and other infants’ food and beverage containers, in line with the precautionary principle, will reduce fetal and childhood exposure to BPA in the food supply,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Banning it will also serve as a deterrent against the proliferation of imported BPA-containing feeding bottles in the local market,” she added.

Governments that have imposed restrictions on BPA, specifically by banning it in baby bottles, include Canada (in 2008), France (2010), the 27 member states of European Union (2011), China (2011), Malaysia (2012), South Africa (2012), USA (2012) and Taiwan (2013).

The EcoWaste Coalition also urged the government to consider a broader ban on BPA, citing the move taken by France to prohibit “the manufacture, import, export and commercialization of all forms of food packaging containing BPA” by 2015.

“While we recognize that the immediate priority should be to ensure that only BPA-free products are made available to children, we believe that the ban on BPA should also cover all food packaging materials on the premise that if babies during pregnancy are to be protected against BPA exposure, women of child-bearing age should not consume BPA-contaminated food and beverage as well,” Lucero explained.

For her part, Ines Fernandez of Arugaan-Save the Babies Coalition encouraged mothers “to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or more.”

“The toxic health threat from BPA-laced feeding bottles for artificial milk formula should embolden all mothers to feed and nourish their children with breastmilk, the most nutritious and ecological food for babies,” Fernandez added.

The groups reiterated their 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.”

Joining the EcoWaste Coalition and Arugaan-Save the Babies Coalition in seeking DOH’s immediate policy action against BPA were the Philippine Pediatric Society, Ang NARS Partylist, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino-NCR, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance-Philippines,Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy, Health Futures Foundation and the Pimentel Center for Local Governance and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.

Also signing the petition were the Action for Nurturing Children and Environment; Advocates for Environmental and Social Justice-Pandacan, Manila; Alaga Lahat; Amavel Foundation-Davao City; Angkan ng Mandirigma; Ateneo School of Government; AYLNA Cebu; Ban Toxics; Batangas Dos Fishermen’s Association-Mariveles, Bataan; Buklod Kabataan-San Mateo, Rizal; Buklod Tao-San Mateo, Rizal; Cavite Green Coalition; Center for Ecozoic Living and Learning-Silang, Cavite; Citizens’ Organization Concerned with Advocating for Philippine Environmental Sustainability; Columban Missionaries; Consumer Right to Safe Food; CRIV; DACS; Ecology Ministry-Diocese of Kalookan; Freedom from Debt Coalition-Cebu; Green Earth; Greenpeace Southeast Asia; Green Stage Filipinas-Maskara, Cavite; Health Care Without Harm; ; Interface Development Interventions-Davao City; IPEN; KKK Cebu; Kinaiyahan Foundation; Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lunsod-Cebu; Krusada sa Kalikasan-Nueva Ecija; Kupkop Kita Kabayan Foundation; Likhang Kalikasan; Lingkod Tao Kalikasan; LISU Cebu; Makabata Para sa Bayan; Malikhaing Landas na Magpapayabong sa Sining at Kultura-Cavite; Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying-Mindanao; Miriam P.E.A.C.E.; Mother Earth Foundation; NEWLAC-Cabanatuan City; November 17 Movement; Nurturers of the Earth; Obando Kami ay Para sa Iyo; Occupational Health Nurses Association of the Philippines, Inc.; Office of Coun. Nida Cabrera-Cebu City; Our Lady of Joy Learning Center-Cebu; Partnership for Clean Air; Philippine Earth Justice Center; Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement; SK Federation-Malabon City; Sagip Pasig Movement; Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc.; Samahang Muling Pagkabuhay Multi-Purpose Cooperative-Smokey Mountain, Tondo, Manila; Samahan Pagkakaisa ng mga Tindera sa Talipapa-Caloocan City; Sanlakas Sugbo-Cebu; Shoreline Kabalikat sa Kinabukasan, Inc.-Naic, Cavite; Sining Yapak and the Teachers Dignity Coalition-Cebu.


Citizens' Petition to Ban Bisphenol A in Baby Feeding Bottles, Sippy Cups and Food and Beverage Packaging for Kids

20 January 2014

Hon. Enrique T. Ona
Department of Health
Sta. Cruz, Manila

Dear Secretary Ona,

Subject: Citizens’ Petition to Ban Bisphenol A in Baby Feeding Bottles, Sippy Cups and Food and Beverage Packaging for Kids

We, representatives of public interest groups working to protect the public health and the environment, request your office to please fast track the issuance of a Department of Health Administrative Order that will ban the use of Bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disrupting chemical, in baby feeding bottles, sippy cups and other food and beverage containers for kids under the age of three.

BPA, a synthetic compound used in polycarbonate baby bottles and in epoxy resins for canned foods and beverages, has been linked to a long list of health problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, asthma, erectile dysfunction, infertility, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart ailments and breast and prostate cancers, often at low levels of exposure.

This New Year, we came across two studies published on January 7 and 10 suggesting that early exposure to low doses of BPA alters cells and can result to serious diseases in the future.

1) A study led by Prof. Gail Prins of the University of Illinois, USA and published in the journal Endocrinology showed that “exposure to low levels of Bisphenol A during development may make men more susceptible to prostate cancer later in life.”

2. A study by Prof. Raphael Stoll, Prof Dr. Jürgen Scherkenbeck  and researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the University of Wuppertal,Germany, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry,indicated that BPA "impairs the function of proteins that are vital for growth processes in cells.”

To prevent fetal and childhood exposure to BPA via BPA-containing baby bottles, sippy cups and other food and beverage containers for infants and toddlers, we urge the DOH to apply the precautionary principle and bar theuse of such endocrine disrupting agent in such products.

By doing so, the Philippines will become the newest country to enforce a policy banning BPA, particularly in baby bottles, which is now banned in over 30 countries, including China, Malaysia, South Africa, USA and the 27 member states of the European Union.

Any further delay by the DOH may result to surplus BPA-containing feeding bottles and sippy cups from these countries (most notably China, our major trade partner) flooding Divisoria and getting into the hands and mouths of our children.

We know that you will agree with us that Filipino children should not be made to suffer from any form of preventable contamination that can severely affect their health later in life.

While we recognize that the immediate priority should be to ensure that only BPA-free products are made available to children, we believe that the ban on BPA should also cover all food packaging materials on the premise that if babies during pregnancy are to be protected against BPA exposure,women of child-bearing age should not consume BPA-contaminated food and beverage.

As we seek the elimination of BPA baby feeding bottles, sippy cups and food and beverage packaging, we reiterate our 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.”

We thank you and the women and men of the Department of Health for doing your best to achieve “Kalusugang Pangkalahatan,” including crafting and enforcing robust regulatory measures that will protect our children against hormone-mimicking pollutants like BPA, lead and other health-harming chemicals and wastes.

Sincerely yours,

Aileen Lucero
EcoWaste Coalition

Ines Fernandez
Arugaan/Save the Babies Coalition

Dr. Melinda Atienza
Philippine Pediatric Society

Dr. MaricarLimpin
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance – Philippines

Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan
Health Futures Foundation

Rep. Leah PrimitivaSamaco-Paquiz
Ang NARS Partylist

Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.
The Pimentel Center for Local Governance

Dean Antonio La Viña
Ateneo School of Government

Fr. Max Abalos
Action for Nurturing Children and Environment

Sixto Carlos
Lot Escandor
Angelita Flores
Advocates for Environmental and Social Justice, Pandacan, Manila

Roy Alvarez

Amavel Foundation, Davao City

Gina Mejia

Marie Marciano
Ban Toxics

Romeo Saclolo
BatangasDos Fishermen’s Association, Mariveles, Bataan

Teresita Belen
Shrya de Guzman
Darlene Urbino
BuklodKabataan, San Mateo, Rizal

John Eric Belen
Rosa Clavel
Ferdinand Cruz
Nancy Flores
Belen de Guzman
Rolando Lagare
Rosalyn Ramos
Shaina Ramos
Lorna Sogodogo
Evelyn Taan
Buklod Tao, San Mateo, Rizal

Gie Relova
BukluranngManggagawang Pilipino – National Capital Region

Ochie Tolentino
Cavite Green Coalition

Elsie Brandes de Veyra
Citizens’ Organization Concerned with Advocating for Philippine Environmental Sustainability

Conrado Esemple
Columban Missionaries

Noemi Tirona
Consumer Right to Safe Food

Fred Bale

Jimmy Lopez

Joseph Kwe
Ecology Ministry, Diocese of Kalookan

Ejoy Garcia
Ecology Ministry of Candelaria Parish

Aaron Pedrosa
Freedom from Debt Coalition, Cebu

Dr. Angelina Galang
Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy

Clotilde Rose
Green Earth

Beau Baconguis
Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Marvin Tampus
Green Stage Filipinas –Maskara, Cavite

Merci Ferrer
Health Care Without Harm

Ann Fuertes
Interface Development Interventions, Davao City

Manny C. Calonzo

Atty. Olina Velasco-Jacoba
KKK Cebu

Betty Cabazares
Kinaiyahan Foundation

Heidi Amigable
KongresongPagkakaisangMaralitangLunsod, Cebu

Corazon Javate
KrusadasaKalikasan, Nueva Ecija

George Dadivas
Kupkop Kita Kabayan Foundation


Sr. Ma. Aida Velasquez, OSB
Lingkod Tao Kalikasan

Victor Sumampong

Allan Tura
Makabata para sa Bayan

Melvin Saladino
MalikhaingLandasnamagpapayabongsaSining at Kultura, Cavite

MamamayanAyawsa Aerial Spraying, Mindanao

Tessa Oliva
Eric Buado
Miriam P.E.A.C.E.

Sonia Mendoza
Mother Earth Foundation

Chandra Balaong
NEWLAC, Cabanatuan City

Romy Hidalgo
November 17 Movement

Nona Andaya Castillo
Nurturers of the Earth

Art Bollas
Obando Kami ay Para sa Iyo (OKAPI)

Mercedes Castillo
Occupational Health Nurses Association of the Philippines (OHNAP), Inc.

Office of Coun.Nida Cabrera, Cebu City

Noel Tambalan
Our Lady of Joy Learning Center, Cebu

Rene Pineda
Victoria Segovia
Partnership for Clean Air

Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos
Philippine Earth Justice Center

Isagani Serrano
Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

Aijhen Lopez
SK Federation Malabon City

Ben Galindo
Belen de Guzman
Sagip Pasig Movement

Bro. Martin Francisco, BSMP
Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc. (SSMESI)

Joyet Castor
SamahangMulingPagkabuhayMulti Purpose Cooperative, Smokey Mountain, Tondo, Manila

SamahanPagkakaisangmgaTinderasaTalipapa, Caloocan City

Jonathan Cruz
SanlakasSugbo, Cebu

Shoreline KabalikatsaKinabukasan, Inc., Naic, Cavite

Rey Palacio

Teachers Dignity Coalition, Cebu
Allan Tanjusay
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines

Johanna Bagacay
University of San Carlos, Banilad, Cebu


Food and Drugs Administration


19 January 2014

EcoWaste Coalition Calls for Stronger Measures to Stop Cyanide Poisoning from Illegal Silver Jewelry Cleaner

After claiming its latest victim in Quezon City, the EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, urged national and local authorities to adopt stronger measures to put an end to the accidental or deliberate ingestion of cyanide-containing silver jewelry liquid cleaner.

Last Friday, Reynalyn D. Paragas, 20, of Barangay Sto. Domingo, drank a bottle of silver cleaner following an argument with her live-in partner Raymart Ong that led to her death, as reported by Police Investigator PO2 Julius Balbuena.

Ong told the EcoWaste Coalition’s AlerToxic Patroller who went today to the wake at P. Florentino St., Barangay Sto. Domingo that Paragas, mother of their two children, obtained the silver cleaner from a shop at the nearby public market in Barangay Tatalon.

Despite the fatal incident, the EcoWaste Coalition still managed to buy for just P20 an unlabeled silver cleaner on a plastic bottle that reportedly killed Paragas at Stalls 33-34, Diyamonon St., Barangay Tatalon.

“The ban jointly imposed in 2010 by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is apparently inadequate to totally annihilate the unlawful production and sale of cyanide-containing silver cleaning agents,” observed Thony Dizon, Project Protect Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“We still find unlabeled silver jewelry cleaners  being sold by non-compliant shops and by vendors such as those in Recto Avenue, Divisoria, Manila, Mega Q Mart and Tatalon Market in Quezon City,” he said.

“It’s high time for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to step in and mobilize the local government, police and barangay authorities to wipe out such illegal product that poses lethal threat to human health, “ he emphasized.

“We hope that Reynalyn’s  death will move the three national government agencies (DENR, DILG and DOH) and the local authorities to resolutely act, together with the public, to make cyanide poisoning a thing of the past,” he added.

According to a health advisory by the Department of Health (DOH), “the cyanide found in most of the silver jewelry cleaning solutions is classified as a poisonous substance liable to cause death or serious injury to human.”

“Acute poisoning occurs through inhalation, ingestion and dermal absorption.  Cyanide is rapidly absorbed in the body and blocks utilization of oxygen in all organs,” the DOH said.

True enough, toxicologists have identified silver jewelry cleaner as one of top 10 toxicants that has poisoned and, in numerous cases, killed Filipinos due to the accidental or suicidal ingestion.

Citing data from the UP National Poison Management and Control Center (UPNPMCC), the EcoWaste Coalition reported that the top 10 poison agents in terms of in-patient referrals for pediatric age group are kerosene, caustics (for example, liquid bleach), silver jewelry
cleaners, pesticides (for example, insecticide lotion and spray and rat poison), ferrous sulfate, elemental mercury (for example, the silvery liquid in some thermometers), paint thinner, paracetamol, button batteries and benzodiazepines (psychoactive  drugs).



17 January 2014

Muntinlupa LGU Cautioned against Toxic Pollution from Breaking Gambling TVs

While commending  the effort by the Muntinlupa City Government to combat illegal gambling activities, a waste and pollution watchdog expressed concern over the way the gambling machines, particularly the TVs, were destroyed and disposed of.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, was reacting to the smashing of 17  video karera gambling machines, including TVs, led by Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi after last Monday’s flag ceremony.

“We surely appreciate the ongoing moves by Muntinlupa and other LGUs to fight illegal gambling operations, but the authorities need to shun the usual practice of breaking TVs that causes toxic pollution,” said ThonyDizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Television sets, particularly the old analog type used for video karera, are made up of various chemicals of concern, including huge quantities of lead in the cathode ray tubes (CRTs), also known as the picture tube or the video display component of a TV, Dizon said.
“Breaking the TVs with sledgehammers disperses lead-containing CRT glass fragments and shards into the surroundings, posing health risk not only to Mayor Fresnedi and other city and police officials, but also to waste sweepers and handlers,” he said.

Aside from lead, TVs contain other chemicals of concern such as brominated flame retardants, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper and mercury.

Cadmium, lead and mercury, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded, are among the “top 10 chemicals of major public health concern” as classified by the World Health Organization.

Lead in particular, according to WHO, “ is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems, including the neurologic, hematologic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and renal systems” and that “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.”

“This is why waste consumer electronics, including TVs, are categorized as ‘special waste’ under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and must be managed in an environmentally-sound manner as hazardous waste,” Dizon added.

The EcoWaste Coalition recommends that the confiscated video karera TVs should be sent to government-registered recyclers of electronic waste, where these can be disassembled in controlled conditions to reduce toxic harm to workers, community health and the environment.




16 January 2014

Lead Safe Paint (Call for Public Comments)

Lead Safe Paint

Call for Public Comments

Paint Screening to Eliminate Added Lead (Paint SEAL) Standard

The Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM) and the EcoWaste Coalition propose to jointly launch a certification program to reward companies with recognition for reformulating paint products without added lead and to raise consumer awareness and provide them with a useful tool to make informed choice.  Both organizations have worked together along with other stakeholders to develop a voluntary certification program that is simple, low-cost and accessible to all interested paint companies with the intent of introducing the program in 2014.

The Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has recently issued regulations restricting the use of lead in paints to be phased in over the next three to six years.  This voluntary certification program is anticipated to assist in that transition by providing consumers with a uniform paint labeling logo that help promote paints without added lead. With this effort, both the PAPM and the EcoWaste Coalition hope to contribute to the effective implementation of the newly promulgated Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds issued by the DENR in December 2013.

This draft standard for paints without added lead was prepared by a multi-stakeholder committee composed of paint industry representatives, environmentalists, and academic, architectural and medical professionals. We are now seeking wider input from a larger group of interested stakeholders representing diverse interests before the certification criteria are finalized. Please review this draft document and send any comments, questions or other feedback no later than 15 February 2014 via email at paint.certification@gmail.com.

All comments will be reviewed and appropriately considered before the certification standard for paints without added paints is finalized.

Note: The draft Paint Screening to Eliminate Added Lead (Paint SEAL) Standard has been produced with the assistance of the European Union under the Asian Lead Paint Elimination project. However, the contents of the draft are the sole responsibility of the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

File Link: Paint SEAL Standard.pdf