environment

Plastic invades ‘centre of the centre’ of global biodiversity hotspot: Greenpeace

April 8, 2019

Greenpeace South East Asia - Philippines has documented plastic pollution in Verde Island Passage, as the group deployed its iconic ship, the Rainbow Warrior, to investigate plastic pollution in the Philippines. A three-day underwater exploration produced photos of sachets, some showing visible signs of being among the corals for a very long time. Among the branded single-use plastic pictured in the area are products from Nestlé, Unilever, and Colgate Palmolive, as well as some local brands such as Zagu milktea, Nutri-Asia, and Monde Nissin. Verde Island Passage, dubbed as the ‘centre of the centre’ of global marine biodiversity, has one of the largest concentrations of marine life in the world. Located in Batangas, it is situated in the center of the Coral Triangle, a global priority for conservation. “This is undeniable proof of how irresponsible single-use plastic production by fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies threatens our pristine environment. If big companies such as Nestlé and Unilever don’t respond to our calls for reduction in single-use plastic production, these places of “paradise” like Verde Island Passage, will be lost,” said Abigail Aguilar, campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Philippines. The documentation follows a report by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) that shows Nestlé and Unilever are responsible for a quarter of the branded throwaway plastic driving the plastic pollution crisis in the Philippines. The data from the report revealed that 163 million sachets produced by the biggest FMCG companies are left polluting the environment in the Philippines. Greenpeace is calling on corporations to take bold and immediate action to phase out single-use plastics for the sake of impacted communities. 

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DOH warns public against heatstroke

March 13, 2019

THE Department of Health (DOH) warned the public against the dangers of heatstroke, a common health condition associated with rising temperatures during the dry season. “Mas mabuting uminom ng maraming tubig para makaiwas sa heat stroke. Mahalaga sa mga bata o kamag-anak na matatanda na mabigyan sila ng inuming tubig, na mahikayat sila uminom ng tubig (It would be better to drink a lot of water to avoid heatstroke. It is important for children or elderly relatives to give them water, that they’ll be encouraged to drink water),”  Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a radio interview on Monday. The DOH defined heatstroke as a medical emergency wherein the body temperature reaches very high levels, 40 degrees Celsius and up, due to constant heat exposure. It is usually in combination with dehydration which can damage the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. It may also lead to severe complications and even death if untreated. Duque said senior citizens and babies are the usual victims of heatstroke, as he advised the public not to stay outdoors between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- hours when the sun is at its hottest. The DOH advised the public to wear thin, loose and light-colored clothes, to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks; and to apply ice packs to armpits, groin and neck to cool down one’s body temperature. (PNA)

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Groups Nudge Senate to Prioritize Passage of Safe and Non-Hazardous Children’s Products Act

April 23, 2018

Through a letter sent last week to Senate President Koko Pimentel and Senator JV Ejercito, the two groups prodded the lawmakers to fast track the approval of Senate Bill 1084, or the proposed Safe and Non-Toxic Children’s Products Act, for the sake of children’s health and safety. “While its counterpart bill at the House of Representatives was unanimously approved in December 2017, Senate Bill 1084, as per Senate records, has not progressed at all. We request the Senate leadership to get the legislative process moving with the aim of getting this important bill enacted this year,” said Atty. Vic Dimagiba, President, Laban Konsyumer, Inc. Senate Bill 1084 seeks to regulate the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of children’s toys, school supplies, childcare articles and other related products containing toxic chemicals beyond the permissible limits. It was introduced by Ejercito on August 25, 2016, read on First Reading on August 30 2016 and subsequently referred to the Committee on Health and Demography (the primary committee) chaired by Ejercito himself. Among the chemicals of concern initially targeted under the said bill are heavy metals such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury, phthalates and Bisphenol A. On the other hand, the House of Representatives approved last December 17 House Bill 6702, or the proposed Safe and Non-Hazardous Children’s Products Act, which was co-introduced by 35 legislators from different political parties and party list groups. “As Senate Bill 1084 seeks to uphold the health of all children who are most susceptible to the detrimental effects of chemical exposures, we believe our good senators should put the passage of this bill on top of their priority list,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. "The approval of the bill, we hope, will pave the way for stringent controls that will ensure children's products sold in the country do not pose health risks to their users and to the environment, too," he added. According to Laban Konsyumer, Inc. and the EcoWaste Coalition, the enactment of the consolidated Senate and House Bills and its approval by President Rodrigo Duterte may serve as the most enduring legacy of the 17th Congress in terms of protecting kids from hazardous substances hiding in everyday children’s products.

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