The EcoWaste Coalition, in a statement issued from Stockholm, reiterated the urgency of putting in place a practical system for hazardous waste collection in the Philippines that will curb pollution from broken, crushed or burned fluorescent lamps containing mercury, a toxic chemical of global concern that causes significant harm to human and ecological health.
The EcoWaste Coalition, along with Ban Toxics, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and Health Care Without Harm from the civil society and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources fromthe government sector, are participating in the ongoing UN-organized meeting on mercury in Sweden (June 7-11).
“Mercury vapor is released into the environment from the breakage of fluorescent lamps during their use or when they are disposed. When spent lamps are thrown into the trash can, they usually end up in dumpsites or landfills where they are crushed, burned, or recycled without safety precautions and thereby causing the air, water and soil to be contaminated with mercury,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats).
“To reduce the risk of mercury exposure for consumers as well as for waste handlers and recyclers and their communities, we urge thegovernment to draw up and enforce a system towards the environmentally-sound management of discarded mercury-containing lamps, including arrangements for the safe containment and storage of collected mercury wastes,” commented Manny Calonzo, Co-Coordinator, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.
“The system, we hope, will also spell out the specific responsibilities of household and institutional users, local and national government agencies, and business and industry towards the environmentally-sound management of mercury-containing lamp waste,” he added.
The United Nations Environment Programme defines environmentally-sound management “as taking all practicable steps to ensure that hazardous waste or other wastes are managed in a manner which will protect human health and the environment against adverse effects which may result from such wastes.”