BAN Toxics lauds founder and former Executive Director, Richard Gutierrez, for joining the secretariat team of Minamata Convention as the newest Programme Management Officer. Gutierrez’s addition to the Minamata Convention secretariat was formalized on April 17, 2021.
Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty designed to address the adverse effects of mercury on human health and the environment. The treaty entered into force on August 16, 2017, while the Philippines ratified the convention on July 8, 2020.
Richard Gutierrez, a public interest lawyer, established BAN Toxics in 2006 to respond to the urgent waste issues plaguing the Philippines. Over the years, he led the organization to address issues related to toxic chemicals and waste, and environmental justice. Together with allied environmental organizations, BAN Toxics raised awareness on the rising volume of illegal e-waste and hazardous waste imported into the Philippines.
Following Gutierrez’s departure from BAN Toxics, Reynaldo San Juan Jr. steps up as the new executive director of the organization. San Juan aims to thrust forward BAN Toxics’ mandate to protect human health and the environment from toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes. He plans to continue to support the Philippines’ eradication of mercury use and mercury-laden products, ratification of the Basel Ban amendment to discontinue the importation of hazardous wastes into the country, formalization of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector for the safekeeping of workers, communities and the environment surrounding the sites, and the integration of the protection of women and children’s rights into the business sector.
San Juan is committed to continue several of BAN Toxics’ advocacies and programs centering on environmental protection from toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes such as the Toxics Free Schools Program (TFSP) and Compassionate Gold. He’s also planning to pursue collaborations with universities and research institutions for further development of studies concerning toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes.
“BAN Toxics’ fight against toxic chemicals and hazardous waste does not stop here. We will continue to pursue environmental justice and the protection of human rights and health through safe chemicals and wastes management,” says San Juan.