QUEZON CITY, April 7 – In light of today’s commemoration of World Health Day, environmental watchdog group BAN Toxics calls on the Philippine electoral candidates to address sound chemical and waste management in their platform to protect the health of Filipinos and the environment.
Environmental issues surrounding illegal waste importation, plastic and e-waste pollution, and proliferation of mercury-added products have long plagued the country.
Electoral candidates should look into the long overdue ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment to prevent the Philippines from becoming a dumping ground of toxic and hazardous wastes again. The country has long been a victim of illegal waste trading, with the Canada waste issue in 2013 being a prime example. The government should take a stronger stance against waste trading to prevent this from happening again.
The next set of government officials should prioritize the strict regulation and monitoring of mercury-added products that are being sold illegally on site and online. While the Food and Drug Administration constantly flags mercury-added products, online monitoring and test buy operations show that it’s still widely available in the market. Stricter measures to control products containing mercury should be implemented to protect Filipino consumers from the chemical’s harmful effects.
Another issue plaguing the Philippines is its plastic and e-waste pollution. The plastic pollution crisis is one of the Philippines’ biggest waste challenges. In 2015, the country ranked third as the world’s greatest plastic waste producer, with 2.7 million tons of plastic waste produced each year. Despite the Philippines’ having one of the highest garbage collection rates among Southeast Asian countries, a 2018 study on waste management practices revealed the country’s problem with the proper disposal of garbage.
“We have yet to see concrete platforms and action plans on health and environmental issues from most of the national electoral candidates. Our government officials and aspirants should also prioritize addressing health and environmental issues among other things,” says Reynaldo San Juan, executive director of BAN Toxics.
Founded in 2006, BAN Toxics is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mandate is to promote sound chemicals and wastes management. The organization was established to respond to urgent waste and chemicals issues besetting the Philippines.
“Unless the government develops and implements concrete action plans to address environmental issues, Filipinos will continue to be vulnerable to the adverse effects of pollution and toxics. Our right to a healthy environment should not be overlooked. The protection of the environment will also protect the health of the Filipino people,” San Juan added.
By BAN Toxics