Philippine authorities urged to stop toxic waste burn

Philippine authorities urged to stop toxic waste burn
Published: 23 January 2006

Local environmental groups are urging the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to immediately stop four foreign-owned cement plants under Holcim, from unlawfully burning toxic and hazardous wastes to produce clinker for cement.

The Earth Savers Movement (ESM), along with other non-government organizations such as the Concerned Citizens Against Pollution (COCAP) and the Association of Environmental 3rd Party Service Providers (AE3PSP), said the practice of the cement plants to treat toxic and hazardous wastes by burning such in kilns violate environmental laws including RA 6969 or the Radioactive, Toxic and Hazardous Substances Regulation Act.

The NGOs claimed the four cement plants located in Bulacan, La Union, Davao and Misamis Oriental and controlled by Holcim, also violate RA 8749 or the “Clean Air Act” that bans the use of mass combustion to treat municipal waste and RA 9003 or the Ecological Waste Management  Act that bans non-segregation of municipal solid waste.

“This pollution caused by toxic and hazardous waste (THW) that is being spread by Holcim in the countryside threatens not only public health but also biodiversity conservation and productive uses of natural resources in surface and underground water and land upon which are dependent the livelihood of farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous people,” ESM secretary-general Roger Birosel said.

The NGOs also claim that the four Holcim cement plants have not undergone the separate and full-blown process for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in order to get a separate Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for THW treatment.