Environmental Watchdog Lauds University Action vs Toxic Lead, Mercury

The EcoWaste Coalition, a zero waste advocacy group promoting safe chemicals policies and practices, commended De La Salle University - DasmariƱas (DLSU-D) for its newest effort to
further “green” the school environment.

DLSU-D through its Environmental Resources Management Center (ERMaC) has crafted a university-wide policy for managing the purchase and use of chemical products and services, and other hazardous substances.

The policy, among other things, provides for the non-procurement of products containing mercury, and the purchase of lead-safe certified paints.

Lead and mercury are among the top “10 chemicals of major public health concern” according to the World Health Organization.

ERMaC Director Marlon Pareja explained that "this policy stems from the Lasallian community's commitment to promote environmental consciousness and action by integrating sustainable practices into our operations, including toxics use reduction."

“We laud DLSU-D’s latest bid to curb potential sources of toxic pollution within its campus by disallowing the purchase of lead-containing paints and mercury-containing products,” stated Thony
Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Such policy is consistent with the “Lead and Mercury Safe Schools for Bright and Healthy Children” statement signed by Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje and other officials in June 2014, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

“We agree to promote and uphold ‘Lead and Mercury Safe Schools,' particularly by using lead-safe paints and reducing lead paint hazards to contain and minimize hazardous dust, and by switching to
mercury-free alternatives towards a toxics-free, zero waste educational system,” the statement said.

DLSU-D’s policy covers chemical products used in, but not limited to, housekeeping, painting, insect and pest control, and other activities that would require use of chemicals and other hazardous substances.

However, chemicals used in the laboratories are not covered since these are sanctioned by other government policies.

In evaluating chemical products and services and hazardous substances, DLSU-D shall choose the option with minimal environmental impact and least hazardous to human health and other living organisms.

“DLSU-D is indeed way ahead of the pack in terms of promoting sustainable practices,” observed Dizon.

In 2011, DLSU-D banned the entry and use of plastic bags in campus to reduce the production of non-biodegradable waste.  The following year, it banned plastic drinking straws.

In recognition of its work to promote sustainability, the DLSU-D in 2013 received the ECOSWITCH Planet Award for Waste Minimization from the Green Philippines Islands of Sustainability (GPIoS) project, funded by the European Union's SWITCH-Asia program.