Thursday, June 17, 2010

One step forward for PCBs-free Philippines 2014

Dr. Mohamed Eisa of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)-Vienna and Director Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) head the multi-stakeholder team that visited on 17 June the ongoing construction of the Non-Com POPs facility in Mariveles, Bataan. The facility is the cornerstone of the project to safely and ecologically eliminate the Philippines' stockpiles of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) through non-combustion technology. Comprising the visiting team are representatives from UNIDO, EMB, PNOC Alternative Fuels Corporation (PAFC), NGOs, and IPM Construction.

For P-Noy, ‘Citizens Agenda for Zero Waste’

Environment & You
by Manny Calonzo
Tuesday, 15 June 2010 18:59

FOR the first 100 days (June 30 to October 8) of President-elect
Benigno C. Aquino III, an environmental coalition has put forward an
ambitious “Citizens Agenda for Zero Waste and Chemical Safety.”

Some 100 participants from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao approved
several action proposals that seek to advance President-elect Noynoy’s
“Social Contract with the Filipino People,” particularly in the health
and environmental arena.

Speaking at a conference held on May 31 at the Occupational Safety and
Health Center in Quezon City, Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, Noynoy’s health
policy adviser, reiterated Aquino’s commitment to protecting and
advancing public health and environment as embodied in the “Social

“As the people’s President, Noynoy, in my view, will warmly welcome
your proposals that will help the government in defining its
priorities in terms of tangible policies and programs to adequately
meet the citizens’ needs for a clean, healthy and safe environment.
Nasa tamang panahon tayo para makatulong sa ating bansa,” said Dr.

“Noynoy can help in reversing the persistent garbage disposal crisis
by directing the entire government machinery to step up the
implementation of R.A. 9003 and ensuring fund allotments for zero
waste resource management and enforcement activities,” said Eileen
Sison, NGO representative to the National Solid Waste Management
Commission (NSWMC).

R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the first law
signed in 2001 by outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has not
been fully enforced as evidenced by the continued operation of some
1,234 open and controlled dumpsites and the ever growing national
waste generation that, according to government estimates, will reach
13.67 million tons per year by 2010.

The groups asked President-elect Noynoy to demonstrate the new
leader’s resolve to put an end to our perennial garbage woes and lead
the nation to the path of Zero Waste, by presiding over one meeting of
the NSWMC, an inter-agency body under the Office of the President that
oversees the implementation of R.A. 9003, with all the department
secretaries in full attendance.

Noynoy, the groups said, should mobilize all government departments to
enforce R.A. 9003 within their respective jurisdictions and promote
the use of recycled, reusable and recyclable materials.

The EcoWaste Coalition would like to see Noynoy using the President’s
Social Fund to assist local government units in the closure and
rehabilitation of dumpsites, and jump start the implementation of the
“National Framework Plan for the Informal Waste Sector in Solid Waste

Zero Waste advocates urged Noynoy to launch and lead a nationwide
campaign against littering, the most ignored environmental offense,
that is turning our country into one of the dirtiest in Asia.

Integrating chemical safety into the country’s program for sustainable
development, the coalition pointed out, is one concrete strategy that
will surely lighten the health, economic and financial burdens of poor
families that are aggravated by their exposure to toxic chemicals.

In the field of chemical safety, the EcoWaste Coalition urged Noynoy
to initiate -- during his first 100 days in office -- a
multistakeholder, timebound process that will adopt a national
chemical safety policy framework and action plan in line with the
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

The EcoWaste Coalition requested the incoming President to throw his
all-out support to eliminate the country’s stockpile of
polychlorinated biphenyls through a pioneering UN-assisted
non-combustion treatment facility that will soon commence operations
in Bataan.

Chemical safety campaigners also sought the issuance of executive
orders that will eliminate lead in paints, declare schools
mercury-free, ensure environmentally-sound management of lamp waste
with mercury, ban the aerial spraying of agrochemicals, and implement
the country’s “Chemical Accident Prevention and Preparedness Framework
and Plan.”

Indeed harmful chemicals affect the most vulnerable sectors that look
up to Noynoy for policies and measures that will protect them from
health-damaging exposure to environmental pollutants.

(Manny C. Calonzo is co-coordinator of the Global Alliance for
Incinerator Alternatives and immediate past president of the EcoWaste