Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Government quizzed on toxic pesticide recovered from sunken ship

A toxic waste watchdog yesterday asked the
government to issue a report on the status of some 10 metric tons of
endosulfan, a highly toxic pesticide, retrieved from the M/V Princess
of the Stars, which capsized off Sibuyan Island in Romblon on June 21,

The EcoWaste Coalition expressed alarm over the long-drawn-out process
of shipping out the toxic materials that were salvaged from the
ill-fated ship from Sept. 27 to Oct. 5, 2008.

“Two years have already passed since the Del Monte-owned pesticide
consignments were recovered from the sunken ship through costly
retrieval operations and we still see no light at the end of the
tunnel,” said Roy Alvarez, president of EcoWaste Coalition.

“We ask the authorities, particularly the lead agencies comprising the
Task Force MV Princess of the Stars to explain to the public the real
score. What is really holding up the shipment of endosulfan which is
highly toxic for humans and wildlife, for environmentally sound
destruction abroad?” he added.

For his part, Dr. Romy Quijano, president of PAN-Philippines said,
“Time is running out for endosulfan as governments, including the
Philippines, take preventive and precautionary steps to ban this
pesticide because of its toxicity and threats to human health and the

Sixty-nine countries have already taken action to ban endosulfan in
the build-up to the upcoming meeting of the Stockholm Convention on
Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee.

The toxic materials have been sitting for months in a private
warehouse in Meycauayan, Bulacan.

“With the looming global ban under the Stockholm Convention, it makes
sense for the Aquino government to conduct an immediate inventory of
endosulfan stocks in the country and to ensure that these are stored
in safe conditions and not arbitrarily disposed of in unauthorized
hazardous waste treatment plants and in cement kilns,” added Manny
Calonzo, GAIA co-coordinator.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a temporary
ban in February 2009 on the importation, distribution and use of
endosulfan “to protect the public and the environment from any
undesirable risk hazards on its continued use.”

Last August, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Canada withdrew
support for the use of endosulfan, citing the concern for workers’
safety, the risk posed to non-target organisms and persistence of
endosulfan in the environment.

Last June, the US Environmental Protection Agency decided to end all
uses of endosulfan after assessing that the pesticide “can pose
unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farm workers and
wildlife and can persist in the environment.”


Post a Comment