Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lawmaker seeks tougher measures vs toxic chemicals

A feisty lawmaker has called for stringent measures against toxic substances, saying that each Filipino deserves to live in a healthy environment.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago filed Senate Resolution No. 376, which calls for a “robust and coherent national policy framework, strategy, and program for chemicals in order to reduce, if not totally eradicate, the adverse health, environmental, and social impacts of toxic chemicals to humans and the ecosystems.”

She said a strong policy framework on the part of government will help in ensuring the health and safety of the public, especially the vulnerable groups, from toxic chemicals.

Santiago said people most vulnerable to risk from toxic chemicals include the children, women of child-bearing age, the elderly, farmers, workers, waste pickers and the poor.

“It is our shared responsibility to respect and ensure the right of every Filipino of this generation and those yet to be born, to live, learn, and work in a healthy, safe, and toxic-free environment,” Santiago, who also authored Republic Act No. 9729 or the Climate Change Act, said.

“It is imperative that the legislature implement strong policies that will prioritize pollution prevention and environmental justice, in order to respond to some of the most pressing chemical safety issues today,” the senator added.

The lawmaker made the call after environmental groups such as the EcoWaste Coalition, Ban Toxics, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, and Health Care Without Harm, urged for the implementation of the policy framework of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

SAICM has been adopted by the international community since February 6, 2006.

Apart from filing Senate Resolution No. 376, Santiago also advocated for massive information campaign and education of the public on chemicals and chemical safety issues.


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