1 March 2019, Caloocan City/Quezon City. A collaborative project that seeks to promote the environmentally-sound management of discarded electrical or electronic devices, or what is commonly referred to as e-waste, has gotten off to a good start.
At an event that drew participants from various stakeholders, especially from e-waste collectors, dismantlers and recyclers, project collaborators gathered in Barangay 176 in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City to put up a signage for the planned E-Waste Category F.1 Treatment, Storage and Disposal (TSD) Facility in the pilot area.
“We are here together to mark a new chapter in our effort to promote the environmentally-sound management of e-waste so that their hazardous components do not end up contaminating the environment, specifically our water bodies, which serve as our main source of food and other resource needs,” announced Atty. Jonas Leones, Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The soon-to-be erected facility to be manned by trained personnel coming from the ranks of local informal recyclers will be used to store collected e-waste, particularly old and busted TVs, prior to being transferred for proper dismantling and recycling at the Laguna-based Integrated Recycling Industries (IRI), a company specializing in the reclamation and recycling of useful materials from e-waste.
Speaking on behalf of the host community of 300,000 residents, Barangay 176 Chairman Joel Bacolod said: “Barangay Bagong Silang, being the largest barangay in the country, is pleased to set an example as ‘cause champion’ in environmental management and advocacy, especially in the way we handle unwanted electrical and electronic goods.”
Dr. Carmela Centeno, Industrial Development Officer at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna, Austria, lauded the initiative as “a concrete demonstration of the stakeholders’ commitment to address the e-waste challenge in a way that will protect waste workers from health-damaging exposure to hazardous substances in e-waste such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) from cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and abate environmental impacts of e-waste recycling.”
Informal waste recycler leaders Benedicto Nario, Domingo Sales and Claire Astoveza welcomed the safe e-waste management project in their community as they reiterated their common aspiration to have a decent and safe recycling-based livelihood for all.
“The integration of the informal e-waste collectors, dismantlers and recyclers into a formal system for managing such hazardous waste materials, we hope, will lessen occupational safety and health problems related to informal e-waste recycling and protect the environment, too,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
The establishment of the said e-waste facility is made possible by the Safe PCB and E-Waste Management Project funded by the Global Environment Facility and implemented in the country by UNIDO through the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau.
The unveiling of facility signage coincided with the commemoration of two important happenings: the International Waste Pickers’ Day on March 1, and the 15th anniversary of the Philippine ratification of Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) on February 27.