Mayor Erap Urged to Enforce Manila City Ordinance 8178 Banning Cyanide-Containing Silver Jewelry Cleaner

A toxics watchdog today appealed to Mayor Joseph Estrada to enforce a
2008 city ordinance prohibiting the sale of deadly cyanide-laced silver jewelry
cleaner in Manila.

The EcoWaste Coalition issued the appeal in response to the latest case of
silver jewelry poisoning that killed 16-year old Alfred G. Cardeño, a B.S.
Education freshman at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM).
Through a letter sent to his office today, the EcoWaste Coalition reported the heartbreaking
death of Cardeño, a resident of 1263 Tambunting St.,
Barangay 373, Zone 38, Sta. Cruz, Manila, after drinking toxic silver jewelry
cleaner last September 22 at the toilet of the Cathedral of Immaculate
Conception in Tayuman St.

The poisonous silver cleaner was reportedly obtained from Divisoria according
to Cardeño’s  mother Maria Theresa whom the EcoWaste
Coalition met this morning.

Cardeño, a full scholar at PLM, graduated
with honors at the Lakandula High School and was a former scholar of Caritas de
Manila, according to his mother.  He just turned 16 last 15 September
“His death has reminded us of the tragic death of another young Manileña,
Kristel Tejada, due to the fatal ingestion of silver cleaner in 2013 at her
home in Tondo,” Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project
Protect, told Estrada.  
Tejada, like Cardeño, was 16
years old at the time of her death and a freshman student at the University of
the Philippines-Manila.
“These tragic deaths could have been avoided if Manila City Ordinance 8178
enacted in 2008 is duly enforced,” Dizon said. 
The said ordinance bans the retail sale of all metal and jewelry cleaners
containing cyanide and penalizes such act.  According to the ordinance,
“all firms, traders, retailers and similar establishments are prohibited to
sell in retail, produce, manufacture, repack and buy metal and jewelry cleaning
materials containing cyanide.”
In view of this latest poisoning incident, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to
Estrada to cause the faithful implementation Ordinance 8178 in the entire City
of Manila to stop the unlawful sale of highly toxic silver cleaners that have
claimed the lives of Cardeño, Tejada and many others.
“Your swift action will help save lives,” Dizon told Estrada.  
“We request your office to please instruct the Manila Health Department to
conduct all-out law enforcement operations, with the support of the local
police, in major commercial hubs like Divisoria and Quiapo to stop the said
illegal trade,” he added. 
While the  city’s health and sanitation officers conduct sustained law
enforcement operations, the EcoWaste Coalition also urged the City Council to
seek an urgent amendment to the penalty clause of Ordinance 8178.
The ordinance currently imposes a fine of only P5,000 or imprisonment not
exceeding one year, or both, to violators.  
“The threat of a stiffer fine and a longer jail sentence, we believe, will
discourage unscrupulous businesses and individuals from engaging in such deadly
trade,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.