30 April 2019

Labor Groups Join Outcry against Canadian Garbage (“Canada should take back their garbage and stop exporting pollution”)

Labor groups added their voices to the growing clamor for the Canadian government to solve once and for all the long-festering garbage dumping issue that has infuriated no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.

Following the protest yesterday outside the Canadian Embassy by enraged citizens led by the EcoWaste Coalition, leaders of three major labor organizations sought the speedy removal of the illegal traffic waste out of the Philippines.

“We seek Canada’s compliance to its responsibility as ‘State of export’ to reclaim the wastes illegally sent to the Philippines.  Canada’s immediate action will show its sincerity toward the effective implementation of the Basel Convention of which it is a party,” said Allan Tanjusay, Spokesperson, Associated Labor Unions – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

According to the Basel Convention, the “State of export” of illegal traffic waste “shall ensure that the wastes in question are taken back by the exporter or the generator or, if necessary, by itself into the State of export... within 30 days from the time the State of export has been informed about the illegal traffic or such other period of time as States concerned may agree. ”

"To this end the Parties concerned shall not oppose, hinder or prevent the return of those wastes to the State of export,” the Convention said.

Josua Mata, Secretary-General, Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) assailed what he termed as “waste colonialism” that is treating developing countries as dumping ground for wastes and toxics from industrialized economies.

“It is immoral and unjust for rich countries to dump their rubbish in developing countries like the Philippines, which is facing a lot of challenges managing its own trash.  To stop this form of waste colonialism, Canada has to solve its garbage feud with the Philippines and stop shipping its discards, including domestic refuse, soiled diapers and e-waste, to far-away places under the cover of so-called recycling,” he said. 

“Canada should take back their garbage and stop exporting pollution.  To prevent waste dumping from recurring, we call on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to revoke current policy that promotes trade of hazardous wastes and other wastes.  This policy is partly to be blamed for the entry of hazardous wastes disguised as recyclable materials into our ports,” said Leody de Guzman, Chairman, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP).

DENR Administrative Order 2013-22, for example,  allows the importation of solid plastic waste materials and electronic assemblies and scraps into the country.

Last March 8, 2019, the EcoWaste Coalition wrote to DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu proposing “that the Philippines should join China and other countries in banning the importation of foreign waste, particularly plastic and electronic wastes, in the interest of protecting the people’s health and the environment.”

Environmental health groups have also repeatedly asked the government to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which seeks to prohibit highly industrialized countries from exporting hazardous wastes to developing countries “for final disposal, reuse, recycling and recovery.”

“President Duterte’s ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment amid the successive waste dumping  incidents involving countries like Canada and South Korea will demonstrate our government’s resolve to protect our country against the adverse impacts of hazardous waste trade to the environment and our people's lives,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

- end -

Reference:

http://www.basel.int/

http://www.basel.int/Implementation/LegalMatters/BanAmendment/Overview/tabid/1484/Default.aspx 

29 April 2019

Filipino Protesters Troop to Canadian Embassy to Demand Re-Export of Illegal Garbage Shipments (Canada Urged to Comply with Its Obligations Under the Basel Convention)












NO MORE PROMISES:  Protesters led by the EcoWaste Coalition gather outside the Canadian Embassy in Makati City to urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respect the ultimatum set by President Rodrigo Duterte for the immediate repatriation of the thousands of tons of garbage illegally shipped to the Philippines from Canada in 2013-2014 in violation of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.

One week after President Rodrigo Duterte issued an ultimatum to the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, citizen protesters led by the EcoWaste Coalition trooped to the Canadian Embassy in Makati City to demand the immediate re-export of Canada’s overstaying wastes in the country to their origin.

Unmindful of the scorching heat of the sun, the protesters wielded a big banner reading “Canada: Comply with the Basel Convention.  Take back your garbage now,” as well as placards stressing "No more promises" and “Philippines is not a dumpsite.” 

The protesters brought a faux shipping container bedecked with trash representing the 103 containers of mis-declared garbage exports from Canada that arrived in batches at the Port of Manila from 2013 to 2014.  They also blew whistles to tell Trudeau that “time is up” for Canada’s waste dumping.

“We have patiently waited for years for Prime Minister Trudeau to make good on his promise to resolve this long-running dumping controversy,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“When he first came to Manila in 2015, he said a ‘Canadian solution’ is being developed to address the issue, and when he returned in 2017, he said ‘it is now theoretically possible to get (the wastes) back.’  It’s now second quarter of 2019 and the Canadian wastes are still rotting here,” she said.

“We are fed up of failed promises.  Now is the time for Canada to announce when exactly are they taking back their garbage in compliance to its obligations under the Basel Convention.  The wastes have nowhere to go but Canada where the wastes have to be processed and treated in an environmentally responsible way,” she insisted.

In insisting on Canada’s responsibility to repossess their garbage, the EcoWaste Coalition cited a freshly-issued  legal opinion by lawyers at the Victoria BC-based Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation (CELL) “that Canada has violated the Basel Convention in respect of the transboundary movements of wastes from Canada to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014.”

As the 14th Basel Convention Conference of the Parties will start today, April 29, in Geneva, Switzerland, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the Canadian government to publicly announce the take-back date and plan for its dumped wastes in the Philippines to demonstrate its commitment to the treaty and its treaty obligations.

To prevent future illegal dumping in any country, the group called on both Canada and the Philippines to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which aims to protect “developing countries in controlling imports of hazardous and other wastes they were unable to manage in an environmentally sound manner but continued to receive.”

To recall, the EcoWaste Coalition wrote for nth time to Trudeau on January 30, 2019 reminding him that “the dumping of Canadian wastes in the Philippines is immoral and illegal,” and further urging his government to “provide a clear and definite date by which it will repatriate its garbage so that this protracted ordeal can finally be promptly ended. “

On February 11, nine Canadian and international environmental and human rights organizations wrote to Trudeau to back the latest appeal made by the EcoWaste Coalition.  They requested him to ensure the expeditious return to Canada of the wastes illegally exported from Canada, and dumped in the Philippines, as is required by the Basel Convention, and to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment.

On April 15, RightOnCanada, Canadian Environmental Law Association, IPEN, Basel Action Network, and the EcoWaste Coalition asked Trudeau to act on the legal opinion prepared by CELL, stop violating the Basel Convention and take back the wastes. 

On April 23, Duterte lambasted Canada for its inaction.  “They better pull that thing out or I will set sail to Canada and dump their garbage there,” he said, threatening “war” against Canada over the unsettled trash dumping.  Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on April 25, further emphasized that the government's stance against Canada's garbage was "non-negotiable."


To recall, 103 container vans of mixed garbage from Canada, wrongly declared as scrap plastics for recycling, entered the port of Manila in 2013-2014.  The Bureau of Customs intercepted the illegal shipments upon notification by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

According to the DENR, the garbage shipments are in violation of DENR Administrative Order 2013-22, which states that “no importation of heterogenous and unsorted plastic materials shall be allowed” and that “all plastics shall have no traces of toxic materials.”  

As per the waste analysis and characterization study conducted by the DENR in 2014, approximately 64 percent of the intercepted Canadian garbage shipments were “baled municipal solid waste or garbage destined for immediate local disposal and cannot be recycled.”  

In 2015, wastes from 26 of the 103 containers were illegally disposed of at a private landfill in Tarlac province angering officials and citizens.  The remaining containers are sitting at the ports of Manila and Subic.

Today's protest action at the Canadian Embassy drew the participation of activists from the EcoWaste Coalition, Aksyon para sa Kahandaan sa Kalamidad at Klima, Green Convergence, Nagkakaisang Lakas ng mga Mangangalakal sa Longos, Samahan ng mga Mangangalakal ng Scrap sa Capulong, and Sarilaya Pilipinas.

-end-



27 April 2019

QC Barangay pre-celebrate World Day for Safety and Health at Work with E-Waste Collection





A day before the international community celebrate the “World Day for Safety and Health at Work” on April 28, Barangay Phil-Am in Quezon City, in collaboration with the “Safe PCB and E-Waste Management Project” key stakeholders, DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the EcoWaste Coalition, kicks off a collection event for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), also known as e-waste.

Aimed at promoting the safe management of WEEE, the event echoes the international celebration’s call for “A Safe and Healthy Future of Work”, specifically for informal handlers and dismantlers of WEEE.

“We hope that this humble effort to collect and safely manage e-wastes will have its share, no matter how small, in advancing occupational safety and health for the e-waste dismantling communities and the Philippine environment,” expressed  Simplicio E.J. Hermogenes, Barangay Chairman of Phil-Am.

According to the “Safe PCB and E-Waste Management Project” document, “the bulk of WEEE end up in the unregulated informal sector which are oblivious to the health and environmental health hazards associated with its improper handling.”

For his part, Acting Project Coordinator for WEEE Management IEC, Jover Larion of EcoWaste Coalition, said that “promoting safe and ecological management of WEEEs will protect workers, the rest of the society as well as the environment against adverse effects caused by improper handling, storage, transport, dismantling, recycling or disposal that can cause release of toxic substances from such hazardous waste.”

“Polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, as an example, are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) used as flame retardants in old electronic & electrical products, which can be released through improper dismantling of WEEEs and can result to serious effects to thyroid, liver and kidney, and possibly even cancer, among other health issues,” he added.

Other hazardous substances found in WEEEs are heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, POPs like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other chemicals of concern.  Byproduct POPs such as dioxins and furans are also formed when WEEE components are burned or incinerated.

A motley crew of e-wastes from Phil-Am residents as well as from nearby villages, comprising of  TV and computer monitors, cell phones, laptops, printers, servers, modem routers, appliances and other gadgets and electrical products that have reached the end of their useful lives, were collected during the activity.

These collected WEEEs were to be transported by a government-accredited entity to their facility in Laguna for proper treatment or management.

The Phil-Am WEEE collection event today started with a two-hour morning program for video presentations and forums to raise the awareness of participants about WEEE as well as about POPs and the government effort to safely manage POPs and WEEEs through the Safe PCB and E-Waste Management Project.

The said project is funded by the Global Environment Facility and being implemented in the Philippines by UNIDO with the DENR-EMB as its lead executing agency.

-end-

Reference:



26 April 2019

More Groups Press Trudeau to Act on Duterte’s Challenge to Take Back Canadian Garbage


Despite the assurance made by Canadian Ambassador John Holmes reiterating his country’s commitment to address the garbage dumping case, more non-profit groups demanded the immediate return of the illegal garbage shipments to Canada as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte last Tuesday.

Reacting to Duterte’s pronouncement, Holmes on Wednesday said:  "Our Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau) committed and has recommitted to resolving this issue, including taking the waste back to Canada.” 

The diplomat’s reaction, described by Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo as “quick but vague,” failed to placate civil society groups tired of the Canadian government’s sluggish efforts to reclaim their garbage in 103 container vans that were unlawfully shipped to Manila from 2013 to 2014.

“Canada should act swiftly to retrieve their garbage from our country.  No more promises.  It has ignored us for six long years.  We do not deserve such disrespect, much less the damage wrought by their garbage on our environment and affected communities,” said Joey Papa, President, Bangon Kalikasan Movement.

“The period of making vague promises and statements is over.  We expect Prime Minister Trudeau to order without any precondition the speedy reshipment of the reeking garbage to Canada where it belongs.  Any scheme to get the garbage processed, buried or burned in the Philippines will be totally unacceptable,” stated Rene Pineda, President, Consumer Rights to Safe Food.

“Our patience has already run out.  Canada now has to assume full responsibility for its wastes that have been languishing in our land since 2013.  Please re-import your rubbish so we can move on,” appealed Ochie Tolentino, Coordinator, Cavite Green Coalition.

“The urgent removal of the illegal Canadian waste imports from our country can no longer be delayed.  Their continued presence in our country is an affront to the rule of law and to our environmental rights,  Prime Minister Trudeau must act without delay,” asserted Tessa Oliva, Executive Director, Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy.

“Prime Minister Trudeau has no other option but to take back their garbage to put this long standing irritant between Canada and the Philippines to rest.  It’s the only decent, moral and legal thing to do to bring this mess behind us,” said Sonia Mendoza, Chairman, Mother Earth Foundation.

“We hope that the clamor for Canada to get their trash out of the Philippines will not again fall on deaf ears.  We remain optimistic that our long struggle for environmental justice will soon draw to a close, so we can focus on preventing the hideous dumping of wastes and toxics into our country from happening again,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Next week, environmental advocates will gather to push for Canada's immediate compliance with the ultimatum issued by Duterte for the long overdue re-export of the overstaying Canadian garbage to its origin in line with its obligations under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal..

-end-      

25 April 2019

Environmental Groups Praise “Zero Waste Church” Initiative in Cavite Province


A diocesan-wide effort to promote a “zero waste church” in Cavite has garnered praise from non-profit groups advocating for sustainable resource use and a toxics-free future.

Through a joint statement, the Cavite Green Coalition and the EcoWaste Coalition lauded the landmark Circular Letter No. 2019-2 issued last April 16 by Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista declaring the policy to transform the Diocese of Imus into a “zero waste church.”

The Diocese of Imus covers the entire province of Cavite and is home to over three million Catholics living in 11 vicariates with 83 parishes served by over 150 priests.   

Inspired by Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment “Laudato Si,” the “zero waste church” counters the prevalent “use and throw away logic (that) generates so much waste.”

Fittingly issued in April, "the month of Planet Earth," “zero waste management can help to solve or limit the generation of garbage in church celebrations,” the circular said. 

“We congratulate Bishop Evangelista and the Diocese of Imus Ministry on Ecology for this pioneering effort that can serve as a catalyst toward ecological conversion in our parishes and homes.  United in prayers and actions, we can surely green the church,” said Ochie Tolentino, Coordinator, Cavite Green Coalition.     

For her part, Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, said:  “We welcome this timely initiative by the Diocese of Imus to localize the ‘Laudato Si’ and make environmental stewardship, specifically waste prevention, an integral part of our living faith and worship.”

Both the Cavite Green Coalition and the EcoWaste Coalition expressed their hope that the “zero waste church” initiative of the Diocese of Imus will inspire others to follow suit.

As stated in the “Laudato Si,” “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”

The circular noted that “after the Mass, plastic bottles, candy wrappers, popcorn, snack food and tissue are often left behind the pews as if the house of God is a movie house.”

To hammer home the zero waste message, the circular made reference to the “miracle of the five loaves and two fish” where 5,000 people were fed by Jesus.  As stated in John 6:11-12: “When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over.  Let nothing be wasted.”

So that nothing would be wasted, the circular pointed to the importance of adopting policies that will help in conserving resources and protecting the environment.

Among the 10-point policies being promoted by the Diocese of Imus toward a “zero waste church” are as follows:

1. Set up waste segregation boxes or bins in the convent, office and hall with proper signages.

2.  Orient all office staff and church servants on eco-spirituality, solid waste management and zero waste church.

3.  Go for energy-efficient LED lightbulbs and renewable energy sources.

4.  Use vacant lots for organic gardening, composting and fellowship area.

5.  Install rainwater catchment to conserve water.

6.  Ban plastic banderitas; use cloth, paper and other recyclable banderitas for church occasions and feasts.

7.  Use of living plants on pots, cans, and black bags for the church altar and processions to cut on flower expenses.

8.  Ban on disposable, single-use plates, glasses, spoons, forks and the like in church activities and fellowships; use reusable dinnerware and cutlery instead.

9.  Plan for and implement environmental programs that are appropriate to the needs of the church or parish.

10.  Establish a group within the church who will carry out environmental work and assist in the protection of the Creation.

“If the leaders of the church would be able to show the way for gradual change, the church servants, organizations, ministries and the community will follow,” the circular said.

According to Bishop Evangelista, zero waste management is expected to be implemented  in the Diocese of Imus as soon as possible.

To emphasize that “less is more,” the circular ended with this excerpt from “Laudato Si”, which says that “Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life, and encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption.”

-end-

24 April 2019

EcoWaste Coalition Urges Prime Minister Trudeau to Act Fast on President Duterte’s Ultimatum vs Overstaying Canadian Garbage in the Philippines



An environmental health and justice organization urged the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take back at once the thousands of tons of Canadian garbage languishing in the country’s ports to bring the long-drawn-out dumping controversy to a close.

The EcoWaste Coalition’s latest plea came on the heels of two recent developments regarding this dumping controversy that has dragged on for five years without tangible resolution.

First, President Rodrigo Duterte on April 23 slammed Canada over the illegal garbage exports that have yet to be re-exported to its origin despite the statement Trudeau made in Manila in 2017 that “it is now theoretically possible to get (the wastes) back.”

Second, a clear legal opinion released on April 10 by a respected Canadian environmental law center confirming that Canada is obliged under the Basel Convention to take back the wastes.

“President Duterte has once again spoken against the garbage imports from Canada stressing that the Philippines is not a dumpsite.  His latest tirade reflects our nation’s gross disappointment over Canada’s failure to act with dispatch to reclaim their wastes, which arrived in batches in the port of Manila in 2013 and 2014,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Now that President Duterte has given a seeming ultimatum for Canada to act and now that there is a clear-cut legal opinion confirming that Canada has the obligation to take back the wastes illegally shipped to the Philippines, we urge Prime Minister Trudeau to do what is right to bring this hullabaloo to rest.  Canada should comply with the Basel Convention, take the wastes back, and process them in an environmentally responsible way in Canada, not in the Philippines,” she said.

“We are counting on Canada to announce without delay a clear and definite date by which it will take back its wastes,” she emphasized.

The upcoming 14th Basel Convention Conference of the Parties, which also marks the 30th anniversary of the treaty, in Geneva, Switzerland starting  April 29 provides a good platform for Canada to make the announcement for the take-back of the dumped wastes as this will show its commitment to the treaty, the group said. 

To prevent the country from turning into a global dumpsite, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the Duterte government to outlaw foreign waste importation and to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries.

“The Canadian dumping scandal serves as a stark reminder of the insufficiency of our laws and the need for a stronger defense against the entry of wastes and toxics that could be better managed in exporting countries.” Lucero stated.

According to the legal opinion prepared by lawyers at the Victoria BC-based Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation, “there is a strong argument that Canada has violated the Basel Convention in respect of the transboundary movements of wastes from Canada to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 by the Canadian-based company Chronic Inc.”

The shipments of the wastes were “illegal traffic” under Article 9 of the Basel Convention, since the wastes were falsely declared to contain homogeneous plastic scrap material when in fact these shipments contained mixed waste including household garbage and since the wastes were deemed to be hazardous under Philippine law, the legal opinion said.

Philippine authorities notified Canada of the illegal traffic of these wastes as early as March 2014 and have sought Canada’s assistance in returning the wastes. To date, Canada has refused to take back any of the wastes. This refusal violates Article 9, paragraph 2 of the Basel Convention.

In June 2016, Judge Tita Bughao-Alisuag of the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 1) ordered the return of the garbage-filled containers covered by Criminal Case No. 143-11191 stressing that the Philippines is not a “trash bin” and that the dumping incident “should not be made a precedent for other countries to follow.”

The EcoWaste Coalition is a “complainant-in-intervention”, together with other public interest groups, in the said  court case against the importer and customs broker for the botched garbage shipments.


To recall, 103 container vanss of mixed garbage from Canada, wrongly declared as scrap plastics for recycling, entered the port of Manila in 2013-2014.  The Bureau of Customs intercepted the illegal shipments upon notification by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

According to the DENR, the garbage shipments are in violation of DENR Administrative Order 2013-22, which states that “no importation of heterogenous and unsorted plastic materials shall be allowed” and that “all plastics shall have no traces of toxic materials.”

As per the waste analysis and characterization study conducted by the DENR in 2014, approximately 64 percent of the intercepted Canadian garbage shipments were “baled municipal solid waste or garbage destined for immediate local disposal and cannot be recycled.”


In 2015, wastes from 26 of the 103 containers were illegally disposed of at a private landfill in Tarlac province angering officials and citizens.

At present, 77 containers are sitting at the ports of Manila and Subic.

-end-

21 April 2019

Earth Day Plea: Wanted: Environmental Rights Champions at the National and Local Levels

With barely three weeks left before the May 13 national and local elections, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the electorate to look for and support aspiring political leaders who will take up the cudgels for the people’s environmental rights.

The group pointed to the need for voters to elect true champions for the environment as the impacts of climate change, marine pollution and hazardous waste trade become more obvious every day in the Philippines and globally.  

“As we mark the Earth Day on April 22, we call upon all registered voters to pick national and local candidates and party-list groups who will genuinely work with and for the people in ensuring a clean, healthy, safe and sustainable environment for all,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.  

“At the Senate and the House of Representatives, we need legislative leaders who will defend existing pollution prevention laws such as the ban on waste incineration and who will take the lead in ensuring the enactment of long overdue environmental acts such as the ban on single-use plastic and the ban on foreign waste importation,” she said.

“We need senators and representatives across the political spectrum who will actively engage in getting national laws and regulations adopted to protect the environment against further degradation and uphold environmental health and justice,” she emphasized. 

The EcoWaste Coalition, she said, is very much concerned with increasing chemical and plastic pollution that poses serious threat to the health of the overall environment, especially the world’s oceans.

“At the provincial, city and municipal councils, we need to install grassroots lawmakers who will file and fight for ordinances aimed at protecting the public health and the environment,” Lucero said.

“We want to see local government units promulgating ordinances that will ‘promote health and safety and enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology’ in line with the general welfare clause of Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code,” she said.

“We need more local government executives who possess the political will to promote and uphold the environmental rights of their constituents,” she further said.    

"Environmental rights," according to the Friends of the Earth International, "are human rights, as people's livelihoods, their health, and sometimes their very existence depend upon the quality of and their access to the surrounding environment as well as the recognition of their rights to information, participation, security and redress."

The EcoWaste Coalition expressed its hope that registered voters numbering 61,843,750, according to the COMELEC, will use their inherent discerning abilities to choose candidates and groups who will work and fight for their environmental rights.  

-end-

Reference:

https://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1991/ra_7160_1991.html

https://www.foei.org/what-we-do/environmental-rights-human-rights

19 April 2019

EcoWaste Coalition Laments the “Traditional” Littering in Popular Lenten Pilgrimage Sites

 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
  Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
 Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan
National Shrine of Divine Mercy, Marilao, Bulacan
National Shrine of Divine Mercy, Marilao, Bulacan
 National Shrine of Divine Mercy, Marilao, Bulacan
National Shrine of Divine Mercy, Marilao, Bulacan
National Shrine of Divine Mercy, Marilao, Bulacan
 Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral, Antipolo City
 Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral, Antipolo City
Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral, Antipolo City
 Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral, Antipolo City
 Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral, Antipolo City
Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral, Antipolo City

Despite the repeated announcement of this gentle reminder aired over the public address system, some devotees who went to popular Lenten pilgrimage sites on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday chose to leave a trail of garbage behind.

The EcoWaste Coalition lamented that littering has become a “tradition” tarnishing the annual journey of the faithful to favorite pilgrimage destinations in the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal.

According to reports filed by the group’s Basura Patrollers, littering was widespread at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine in San Jose del Monte City, the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Marilao, and the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral in Antopolo City.

Among the most littered items reported were the paper and plastic materials used by visitors for picnicking, resting and sleeping, plastic bags, food packaging, food leftovers, and lots of plastic bottles.

“We regret that our appeal for a garbage-free Holy Week remain unheeded as many devotees, without any sense of guilt or shame, left their discards anywhere,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“It’s apparent that many devotees have yet to appreciate the connection between the expression of our faith and our responsibility to take good care of our shared environment.  Environmental  apathy, sad to say, is still very  prevalent,” she said.

At the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, improvised sleeping materials, including election campaign posters, were found scattered around the church and the Stations of the Cross in the morning of Good Friday for cleaners to pick up. 

Bins and sacks were overflowing with garbage, and plastic bottles for water and beverages were all over the place.  

“Aside from the usual rubbish, we were saddened to see bread given by good Samaritans lying on the ground or in garbage pile.  What a waste!” Lucero exclaimed.

The situation at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy was no different.  

Shrine visitors left heaps of garbage all over the area.  The space fronting the giant Divine Mercy statue, the tallest in the country, was not spared.

The situation at the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral was the same with garbage strewn across the church patio.  

“The main stairs of the church were full of litter such as plastic bottles and plastic wrappers.  Church volunteers were kept busy cleaning up the mess,” Lucero said. 

As the celebration of the Earth Day on April 22 nears, the EcoWaste Coalition encouraged the faithful to care for Mother Nature as they profess and practice their faith, stressing that faith-inspired activities should not add to the country’s waste and pollution problems.

“In fact, faith-inspired efforts should set a higher benchmark with respect to the responsible use and protection of the earth’s resources,” Lucero said.

"Let us be reminded by what our bishops have said: ‘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’,” she concluded.

-end-


Link to CBCP statement “Stewards, Not Owners”
http://cbcpwebsite.com/Messages/stewards.html

17 April 2019

New Legal Opinion Finds Canada Violated International Law in Philippine Waste Dumping Case (Groups appeal to Canada to provide a clear and definite date by which it will repatriate its garbage)



A new legal opinion has found that Canada violated an international treaty with reference to the thousands of tons of garbage shipped to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 and is continuing to act illegally now by not taking back the wastes.


A legal opinion prepared by lawyers at the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation based in Victoria BC, Canada has concluded  “there is a strong argument that Canada has violated the Basel Convention in respect of the transboundary movements of wastes from Canada to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 by the Canadian-based company Chronic Inc.”

Canadian, Filipino and international environmental groups have now sent the legal opinion and a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau challenging his government to stop violating the Basel Convention and take back the wastes. In their letter, the groups point out that Canada’s conduct is not only illegal but also immoral and demonstrates disrespect towards developing countries.

Through a letter sent on April 15, Kathleen Ruff of RightOnCanada, Theresa McClenaghan of the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), Dr. Tadesse Amera of IPEN, Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network (BAN), and Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition asked Trudeau “to act on this legal opinion and its Basel Convention obligations and provide a clear and definite date by which it will repatriate its garbage so that this protracted ordeal can finally be promptly ended.”

The said legal opinion and letter can be accessed here:






“Canada should meet the standard set by the Republic of Korea which has acted to promptly arrange the return of its wastes illegally dumped in the Philippines, citing Convention obligations,” the groups said.


The upcoming Conference of the Parties of the Basel Convention starting April 29 in Geneva, Switzerland “provides Canada an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the treaty by announcing the take-back of the wastes illegally exported to the Philippines,” the groups pointed out.


The legal opinion notes:


•            "The shipments of the wastes were “illegal traffic” under Article 9 of the Basel Convention, since the wastes were falsely declared to contain homogeneous plastic scrap material when in fact these shipments contained mixed waste including household garbage and since the wastes were deemed to be hazardous under Philippine law.


•             Article 9 of the Convention imposes an obligation on the State of export to ensure the return of wastes within 30 days from the time the State of export was notified of the illegal traffic.


            Philippine authorities notified Canada of the illegal traffic of these wastes as early as March 2014 and have sought Canada’s assistance in returning the wastes. To date, Canada has refused to take back any of the wastes. This refusal violates Article 9, paragraph 2 of the Basel Convention.

•            In 2016, a court in the Philippines ordered that 50 containers of the wastes be returned to Canada, as required by Philippine law. The judge stated: “Our country should not be made a trash bin by other country. This should not be made a precedent for other countries to follow. If our country allows [sic] the disposal of the wastes from other countries to be locally disposed, we will become the place of disposing other countries’ wastes and garbage.”


•             For more than 5 years, Canada has failed to take responsibility to properly manage the wastes in question, which were generated in Canada, and has left the Philippine government with the burden and costs of dealing with the wastes, contrary to Article 4, paragraph 10 of the Convention.


•             Canada’s current statutory regime governing the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes fails to properly implement and enforce Article 4, paragraph 4 of the Basel Convention, which imposes a 30-day time limit for the State of export to ensure the return of wastes back to the State of export in the case of illegal traffic. Canada's amended regulations permit a 90-day time limit.


“This is much more than a legal or technical matter. It is also a moral issue that demonstrates Canada’s level of respect for the citizens of developing countries and how the nation demonstrates proper conduct. Leaving Canada’s garbage in another country for five years reveals values that clash with moral responsibility,” the groups said.


“While Canada was not legally obliged to obey the 2016 Philippine court order, it certainly had a moral responsibility to do so. The Canadian government should not ignore the court order,” the groups emphasized.


To recall, the EcoWaste Coalition on January 30, 2019 and RightOnCanada and other organizations on February 11, 2019 wrote to Trudeau requesting him to ensure the expeditious return to Canada of the wastes that were illegally exported from Canada and dumped in the Philippines in contravention of Canada's obligations under the Basel Convention.


The Canadian government has not responded to the said letters and has taken no action to have the wastes returned. Instead, the government issued media statements claiming that Canada did not act improperly in 2013-2014 and is not acting improperly now.


RightOnCanada is an Internet and public advocacy campaign for human rights.  CELA is a  non-profit group that uses existing laws to protect the environment and advocate environmental law reforms.  IPEN is a global network of more than 500 environmental and health groups in over 100 countries working to eliminate the world's most harmful chemicals.   BAN is a global watchdog group championing environmental health and justice by ending toxic trade.  The EcoWaste Coalition is a national network of over 140 groups striving for a zero waste and toxics-free Philippines.


-end-

Reference:

http://www.basel.int/
https://www.pacificcell.ca/

16 April 2019

EcoWaste Coalition Appeals to Midterm Poll Candidates Not to Flood Pilgrimage Trail with Campaign Posters (Group urges politicians and parties not to politicize Holy Week religious rites)


A waste and pollution watch group asked candidates and parties for next month’s polls to refrain from inundating streets leading to pilgrimage sites with election posters.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for clean and green election campaign, urged national and local candidates, as well as party-list groups, not to take advantage of the huge crowds that are expected to gather at popular pilgrimage sites this week.

“Campaigning activities are forbidden by law on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  However, many candidates and parties may exploit the large throngs of pilgrims visiting religious shrines or performing penitential acts to draw attention to themselves,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“While they may not be physically present, we may find their posters all over the place as if begging for votes as the polling day nears,” she said.

“Some politicians may even set up water, first aid and emergency response stations in mobile tents with their names and faces prominently shown,” she added.

"We therefore appeal to all well-meaning politicians and groups not to politicize the faith-centered religious activities lined up for the Holy Week.  If you sincerely want to help, please don't brag about it to achieve your political ends," she said.  

The EcoWaste Coalition likewise appealed to the public not to leave trash in churches and pilgrimage sites such as the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral in Antipolo City and the Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in San Jose del Monte City.

“We appeal to all pilgrims, especially the youth joining the Alay-Lakad penitential walk, to show concern and respect to your fellow human beings and to the environment by not littering,” said Lucero.

Littering, the group reminded, is an environmental offense punishable under national and local laws.

R.A. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, prohibits the "littering, throwing, dumping of waste matters in public places, such as roads, sidewalks, canals, esteros or parks, and establishment, or causing or permitting the same."

Litterbugs could be fined P300 to P1,000 and/or be required to render community service from one to 15 days, according to R.A. 9003.

The EcoWaste Coalition will field Basura Patrollers on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday to monitor compliance to R.A. 9003, particularly in major pilgrimage sites that attract hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.

-end-

Reference:

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

15 April 2019

EcoWaste Coalition: Don't Throw Rubbish Out of Your Car Window! (Group cites German cyclist for chasing passenger who tossed garbage out of van)



German Frank Schuengel picked this up and returned it to the van from which it was thrown (photo by Frank Schuengel).

“Please be considerate… never throw waste out of vehicles.”

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watch group, has called upon all car drivers as well as passengers not to throw any trash on the road.

The group’s latest plea against littering came on the heels of a video post last week by Frank Schuengel, a German national working in the Philippines, showing him chasing and returning a plastic bag of trash to a van from which it came from.

According to his post, Schuengel was cycling to work when he saw the passenger of a van in front of him threw rubbish out of the car window and onto the street.  The incident took place at the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge. 

“You should care when someone throws garbage out of a car because that’s how decent human beings should react,” wrote Schuengel in a related post.

“And as flattering as everyone’s reaction is, the pollution problem in this country won’t be solved by one bloke on a bike. It will take all of us to make a difference,” he added

The EcoWaste Coalition lauded Schuengel’s good deed as the group echoed the need for all people to be involved in protecting the environment against waste and pollution.

“We thank Mr. Schuengel for doing the right thing, and for reminding each and every road user of our shared responsibility to maintain the cleanliness and safety of our streets and communities,” said Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Please be considerate of other people and our common environment.  Never throw waste out of vehicles,” she said.

“Regardless of its type --- biodegradable or non-biodegradable, plastic or non-plastic, wet or dry, big or small --- rubbish tossed out of the car window is pollution that can make the surroundings ugly and even harm public health and the environment,” she said.

Garbage thrown out of the car, Tolentino said, can be blown by the wind or carried by water to storm drains and into the seas and oceans. 

“The things that we recklessly throw away may even reach the oceans and put the lives of ocean animals in grave danger,”  said Tolentino as she recalled the 40 kilos of plastic waste in the stomach of a beached whale found dead last March 2019 in Mabini, Compostela Valley.

"Government regulators need to enforce our national and local waste laws, corporations need to stop producing products in wasteful packaging, and citizens need to choose eco-friendly products and bid goodbye to single-use plastics, and to littering,” she pointed out.

The group noted the report released last April 9 by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) stating that it apprehended a total of 4,316 violators during its anti-littering operations in the first quarter of 2019.

MMDA environmental enforcers caught the litterbugs  in Monumento, EDSA-North, Cubao, Ortigas, Guadalupe,  Buendia, EDSA-Taft, and other places in the national capital region.

Among the most littered items, as per the MMDA, were candy wrappers, cigarette filters, papers, and plastics.

-end-

Reference:

https://visor.ph/author/frankschuengel/
https://visor.ph/wisdom/you-should-care-when-someone-throws-garbage-out-of-a-car/
https://www.facebook.com/visor.ph/videos/581238822374428
http://mmda.gov.ph/54-news/news-2019/3726-april-9-2019-4-316-litterbugs-nabbed-in-first-quarter.html


EcoWaste Coalition Rallies the Faithful to Observe a Trash-Free Holy Week


An environmental advocacy group for a zero waste and toxics-free nation has called upon the Christian faithful to observe a greener Holy Week through acts that will prevent garbage and pollution.

On Palm Sunday, the EcoWaste Coalition again drew attention to the massive garbage that is generated across the country, and the need to step up concerted action to reduce the volume and toxicity of such garbage.

“The Holy Week is a perfect time to reflect on our wastefulness that is consuming lots of finite resources and creating huge quantities of garbage that often end up in the streets, dumps and the oceans, or as feedstocks for cement kilns and incinerators,” said Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

According to government estimates, the country generates over 40,000 tons of garbage per day of which 9,872 tons are produced in Metro Manila.

“The Holy Week provides an opportunity for all people to act individually and collectively to promote environmental awareness and responsibility, especially in the way we use resources and treat our surroundings,” said Tolentino who is also a devout Catholic lay leader.

“As care for creation is an integral part of the Christian mission, we urge the faithful to make the Holy Week a time to break from wasteful habits that are destroying our communities and the ecosystems year in and year out,” she said.

Tolentino recalled the 2015 papal encyclical on the environment “Laudato Si” where Pope Francis decried that “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.”

“As faith without works is dead, we ask all to perform acts of mercy and kindness toward Mother Earth that will prevent and reduce the generation of wastes and other pollutants, especially during the holy days and beyond,” she suggested.

Toward an eco-friendly observance of the Holy Week, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the faithful to consider the following:

1.       Abandon acts that defile and pollute the environment such as littering, dumping and burning of discards.

2.       Keep all activities lead-safe: shun candles with lead-cored wicks and paints with lead content.

3.       Cut emissions by taking public transport, biking or walking for the seven churches visitation, or Visita Iglesia, on Maundy Thursday .

4.       Use recycled materials for the makeshift huts for the traditional Pabasa (Reading of the Passion of Christ).

5.       For the traditional giving or sharing of food called Caridad, shun disposable paper or plastic and opt for reusable containers.
6.        Ensure a litter-free pilgrimage to the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral in Antipolo City, the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in San Jose del Monte City and other shrines.

7.        Green the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) by collecting litter along the way.

8.     Decorate the floats for the Santo Entierro (Holy Interment) on Good Friday with energy-efficient and mercury-free LED lamps and with locally-produced flowers and plants.

9      Welcome the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday without lighting firecrackers and fireworks and without releasing balloons.

10.  Keep Easter fun games and activities for kids simple and not wasteful.

11.  Donate used clothes and other items of service to the Segunda Mana charity program of Caritas Manila.

12.  Quiet down and opt for “staycation” at home for a meaningful bonding time with family members.

13.  For those going out of the city for their summer vacation, make your trip plastic-free, trash-free: “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”

-end-