THE EcoWaste Coalition has called on the government to exert more efforts in ensuring that old transformers and capacitors are safely handled, stored and destroyed without resorting to combustion.
Leaders of the coalition and other health conscious and well-meaning Filipinos said that most old transformers on electric posts across the country contain the highly-toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
PCBs are oils widely used as dielectric fluids in old transformers on electric posts and capacitors, according to EcoWaste Coalition Treasurer Sonia Mendoza, who is also chairman of Mother Earth Foundation.
The highly-toxic chemicals were banned from use before the 1980s due to their toxicity and characteristics as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), though many of which remain in use today.
As part of EcoWaste Coalition’s call for proper handling of these toxic chemicals, it spearheaded an advocacy run dubbed “PCB-free EnviRUNment: Onward to a Toxic-Free Philippines” in Manila.
The group’s activity was participated in by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
DENR has been a very strong partner of the UN agency, which is based in Vienna, Austria, in the implementation of the latter’s projects and programs, according to Dr. Carmela Centeno.
Likewise, running priest Fr. Robert Reyes joined the run for toxic-free Philippines to show his support to efforts for the safe management of the country’s stockpiles of PCBs.
Doubtless, more and more quarters now want to hasten the phase out PCBs in this impoverished Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 million English-speaking people.
The Filipino people and concerned government authorities should not turn a deaf ear to the calls of EcoWaste Coalition, UNIDO and other environment-advocate groups.