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EcoWste Coalition urges P-Noy to work for chemical safety reforms

MANILA, June 26 – The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental network of over 100 groups, has appealed to President-elect Benigno S. Aquino III (P-Noy) to give emphasis to waste and chemical issues as he begins his time in power on June 30.

In a nine-page letter delivered yesterday at the Aquino residence in Times St., Barangay West Triangle, Quezon City, the EcoWaste Coalition presented for the consideration of the next Chief Executive a “Zero Waste and Chemical Safety Agenda under the Aquino Presidency,” which the group collectively crafted.

Signed by veteran actor-environmentalist Roy Alvarez, president of the EcoWaste Coalition, the “Agenda” spells out a number of priority actions that the group hopes will get fully implemented during P-Noy’s term of office from 2010 to 2016.

“We are one with you in seeking essential reforms to weed out corruption and rectify defective policies and practices that have robbed, shortchanged and deprived our people of the benefits of good governance and sustainable development,” wrote Alvarez.

“We trust that you will positively consider our proposal and heed the people’s aspiration for a truly clean and green administration that our country needs amid global concern and action to fight climate change and toxic pollution,” he said.

The EcoWaste Coalition asked the Aquino presidency to pursue a national chemical safety policy framework and action plan in line with the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) to achieve sustainable development, eradicate poverty and disease, and improve public health and the environment.

SAICM is a global policy and strategy adopted by governments, including the Philippines, and other stakeholders to protect human health and the ecosytems from the harms caused by exposure to toxic chemical substances.

The proposed framework and action plan should embrace the principles of precaution; substitution; no data, no market; polluter pays; public’s right to know; environmental justice and other applicable principles, the group pointed out.

Chemicals that are known or suspected to cause birth and reproductive disorders, disrupt hormonal functions, damage brain development and cause cancer and other serious ailments should be prioritized for action, the group further said.

These include persistent organic pollutants such as dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls and flame retardants, heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium, and highly hazardous pesticides like endosulfan and other chemicals of concern such as bisphenol A, phthalates and other chemical poisons that pose serious threats to human and ecological health.

On Sunday, June 27, over 100 members of the EcoWaste Coalition will stage a “People’s Walk” from Santo Domingo Church to the Ninoy Aquino Monument in Quezon City to celebrate the approaching political change and reiterate their hope that P-Noy will lead the country towards a toxic-free future. (PNA) scs/PR/JSD

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