Government Urged to Remove Endosulfan Out of the Country Now

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)
Unit 330, Eagle Court, 26 Matalino St., QC
Phone/Fax: 4364733 E-Mail: mcalonzo@no-burn.org
Media Contacts: Dr. Romy Quijano -0922-8333531, Manny Calonzo-0922-8286343

Quezon City. Civil society groups pressed the government to ship out endosulfan back to its Israeli manufacturer after scientists agreed last week that the highly toxic pesticide requires global action to prevent further harm to public health and the environment.

The Stockholm Convention POPs Review Committee meeting in Geneva last week concluded that “endosulfan is likely, as a result of long range environmental transport, to lead to significant adverse human health and environmental effects, such that global action is warranted.”

Emboldened by this historic development, the Pesticide Action Network (PAN-Philippines) and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) jointly called on the government to enforce the “return to sender” directive by the Task Force MV Princess of the Stars for the some 10,000 kilos of endosulfan that were retrieved from the ill-fated passengers’ vessel.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) has confirmed with GAIA that, as of October 19, 2009, it has not received any application for export clearance for the toxic materials.

“This decision by international experts brings endosulfan a step closer to a global ban under the Stockholm Convention,” said Romy Quijano, President of PAN-Philippines.

The Stockholm Convention, which the Senate ratified in 2004, is a legally binding instrument whose aim is to protect human health and the environment by controlling production, use and disposal of extremely toxic chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants or POPs.

“The POPs Review Committee has agreed to compile a risk management evaluation for endosulfan. The Committee will now ask parties and observers to submit proposals for the management and elimination of endosulfan, which it will evaluate and submit to the next Conference of Parties for approval,” he explained.

“The government should ensure that the recovered endosulfan is shipped back at once to its manufacturer before the company is compelled to cease producing the pesticide. We do not want our country to continue possessing the poisonous materials not even for a day and add to our toxic woes,” said Manny Calonzo, Co-Coordinator of GAIA.

Endosulfan, an organochlorine pesticide, has been linked to congenital physical disorders, mental retardations and deaths in farm workers and villagers in developing countries in southern Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“Endosulfan not only kills people but contaminates our environment, our wildlife, human breast milk, women’s placentas, and even our newborns. It is clear that the time for this old, outmoded and dangerous pesticide is over,” said Dr Lloyd-Smith, Co-Chair, International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN).

Drums of endosulfan, imported by Del Monte Philippines from Israel-based Makhteshim Agam, were salvaged in October 2008 from MV Princess of the Stars few months after it capsized off Romblon Island and subsequently kept in a private storage facility located along Camalig Road, Meycauyan, Bulacan.

Following the shocking revelation that loads of endosulfan went down with the MV Princess of the Stars, health and environmental groups formed the “BANtay Endosulfan” (or Endosulfan Watch).

Comprised by the Cavite Green Coalition, EcoWaste Coalition, GAIA, Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm, PAN, and the Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment, Inc., “BANtay Endosulfan” vigorously pushed for “return to sender” and for a total ban on endosulfan for
all uses.