“As the increasing use of chemicals becomes indispensable, so do the risks associated with human health and the environment. The shift from highly industrialized to developing countries of chemicals production, use, and disposal is concerning while Asia also produces half of the global plastics production,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.
“Chemicals are released to the environment by emissions from factories, cars and airplanes, pesticide spraying, and commercial and domestic consumption. These become air pollution that knows no country boundaries,” he added.
Chemicals are released through wastewater that goes untreated into bodies of water. About 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural wastes go into freshwater streams daily. Urban sewage, including large amounts of plastics, forms roughly 80% of ocean pollution.
About 35,000 tons of municipal solid waste are generated in the country daily, more than 8,600 tons per day in Metro Manila alone, with a sizable proportion openly burned. Foreign wastes are also exported from wealthy countries and dumped in developing countries, including the Philippines.
“We have to look at the sound management of chemicals and waste through the life cycle as an urgent concern in a way that places people and human rights at the center. The government, private sector, civil society, youth, and other stakeholders must engage in action and raise awareness of current initiatives,” the group said.
Simple and practical tips at home
“Adopt the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle, and significantly cut down waste at home. Practice waste segregation and start composting.”
The group added that awareness raising on chemicals also needs attention. “Many are unaware that common household products such as cosmetics, toys, electronics, cleaners, gasoline and fuels, lead paint, lacquer thinner, and rust removers, for example, may contain hazardous chemicals. We have to read the label to handle chemicals properly. Always use protective equipment and store them properly to prevent accidents.”
UNEP’s Global Chemicals Outlook [accessed from https://wedocs.unep.org/handle/20.500.11822/28186]