Environment group lauds Senate bill on industries’ toxic chemicals’ use

Published by rudy Date posted on December 18, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — Environmental group Greenpeace Sunday lauded the filing of Senate Bill 3087, authored by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, seeking to establish a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register in the country.

“Pollution is not only a crime against the environment but also against humanity. SB 3087 is a step in the right direction toward human and environmental rights,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia toxics campaigner Beau Baconguis said.

“Hopefully, this bill that Senator Santiago filed is the beginning of government and industry finally fully acknowledging the public’s right to know on what pollutants are discharged into our environment,” Baconguis added.

The Pollutant Release and Transfer Register in the Philippines, which Greenpeace is recommending for the Philippines to adopt, requires industries to report all hazardous chemicals that they use, manufacture, recycle, transfer, and dispose.

Such system allows for tracking of hazardous chemicals for easier and improved monitoring by government agencies in charge of managing industrial pollution. It also allows the public to exercise their right to know about pollution issues, especially for those hosting facilities in their communities.

Greenpeace also points to benefits for local government units, including being better prepared and equipped to handle chemi-cal spills, accidents or contamination following floods or fires.

Medical professionals will be better able to diagnose illnesses due to chemical exposures and treat them properly.

Workers will also be better protected in their workplaces because of the transparency required of companies when such a system is in place.

“In countries that have adopted a PRTR or similar system, pollution has been drastically reduced. We laud Senator Santiago for taking action to finally institutionalize the publics’ right-to-know about hazardous releases. We encourage our other lawmakers to take this forward as soon as possible, since this will definitely benefit all of us,” Baconguis said.  –ELLALYN B. DE VERA, Manila Bulletin

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