DAVAO CITY, Philippines—An environmental group on Thursday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to prioritize a bill that would address the alarming increase of electronic waste across the country.
In a statement, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) said that it fully supports the E-waste Management Bill or the House Bill (HB) 5901 filed by Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi de Jesus.
“The provision of a healthful environment is a public service that the government should be providing to its citizens. The state should ensure all measures are carried out to provide its citizen a sound environment that is free from any health hazards,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.
Bautista said that the passage of HB5901 would eventually help address the country’s problem on e-waste, “making waste management a public service while directing private manufacturers to take responsibility for their products from production to final disposal.”
The bill follows the principle of “Extended Producer’s Responsibility” or EPR, wherein private companies are responsible for their produced until it reaches its end-of-life term, according to Kalikasan-PNE.
The environmental group also pointed out that the “EPR aims to decrease the environmental impact of electronic equipment and at the same time completely utilize the function of electronic products and its components until it reaches the time it can no longer be used.”
A report from the United Nations University (UNU) global e-waste report revealed that in 2013 the Philippines generated 127,000 metric tonnes of e-waste per year or an estimated of 1.3 kg person. Moreover, more than 100 Million kilos of EEEs has been imported to the country annually.
“Our country has produced tonnes of E-waste annually aside from other tonnes of used electrical and electronic equipments or EEEs that has been dumped in our country. These have produced chemicals that are harmful to human health. Despite these, we have no comprehensive management of these wastes, poor communities and junk shop workers that manually deconstruct e-waste in dump sites have been the most vulnerable to its health hazards.” Bautista added.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), e-waste is highly toxic that contain substances that can cause cancer, organ damage, birth defects, and impaired mental function, as well as impact the environment through ozone depletion.
“Tonnes of imported e-wastes are dumped on our land, and as they are left to decay, its toxic chemicals eventually seep through our environment. Despite the Philippines being a signatory to the Basel Convention, which prohibits the transboundary movement of hazardous waste, these toxic wastes are still welcomed to our shores through the importation of EEEs.” said Bautista.
Kalikasan-PNE said that “recent cases of toxic dumping in the guise of recycled materials from Japan and Canada have also been recorded posing threat to the environment. The proposed bill aims to also ban the importation of all ‘end-of-life’ electronic gadgets.”
“The government should give priority to protecting our environment and not let private companies gain profit from keeping a blind eye on the destruction their products create on the environment and the people. We strongly urge President Duterte and the lawmakers to prioritize the enactment HB5901 as a step towards addressing the country’s growing problem on E-waste” the group said. (davaotoday.com)