Green Groups Urge Arroyo Government to Ship Endosulfan Stocks Out of RP Now

Spare the Aquino presidency of a sure toxic headache.
Environmental health and justice groups today urged the outgoing Arroyo administration to ship out some 10 metric tons of endosulfan back to their Israeli manufacturer before President-elect Noynoy Aquino assumes the presidency on June 30.

The Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and the EcoWaste Coalition pressed for the urgent shipment of the highly toxic pesticide out of the country to prevent a potential health and environmental problem.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) confirmed last Thursday with the EcoWaste Coalition that the endosulfan retrieved from the sunken M.V. Princess of the Stars in October 2008 are still in a private storage in Meycauyan, Bulacan despite the government’s “return to sender” order.

DENR Memorandum Circular 2009-02 banned, albeit temporarily, theimportation, distribution and use of endosulfan in the country, citing the need “to protect the public and the environment from any undesirable risk hazards on its continued use.”

The groups made the call following the groundbreaking announcement last Wednesday by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to end all uses of endosulfan.

The US EPA’s 2010 revised ecological risk assessment shows that endosulfan “can pose unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farmworkers and wildlife and can persist in the environment.”

“The US EPA decision is expected to energize push for a worldwide ban on the manufacture, trade and use of endosulfan. This highly toxic pesticide has been linked to birth, developmental and reproductive disorders and other serious health impacts and deaths among farmers and rural communities in Asia and other continents, including indigenous communities in the Artic,” said toxicologist Dr. Romy Quijano, President, PAN-Philippines.

“We strongly urge the outgoing government to resolve this serious threat to public health and safety by ensuring the immediate shipment of the endosulfan stocks to its manufacturer, and not to leave a toxic legacy that the new government has to worry about,” said Manny Calonzo, Co-Coordinator, GAIA.

“There is no time to waste. We do not want the endosulfan stocks to aggravate our toxic woes. Let us get rid of this dangerous agrochemical, once and for all, and not wait for a chemical disaster to strike and cause health and environmental damage,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

Waste and toxic groups have earlier asked Del Monte Philippines Inc. (the consignee for the endosulfan cargo) and the government through the Task Force M.V. Princess of the Stars to return the shipment to Makhteshim Agan to prevent a possible waste disposal crisis. The Philippines has no facility for safely treating organochlorine pesticides that will not create toxic byproducts such as dioxins.

Endosulfan is already banned in more than 60 countries around the world, including Thailand, Sri Lanka, several African countries and all 27 members of European Union. A global ban on endosulfan is currently being pursued under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, a UN treaty.


EPA information on endosulfan cancellation:

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 329, Eagle Court Condominium
Matalino St., Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 441-1846