Greenpeace lauds Senator Miriam’s legislative initiative on pollution disclosure

Press release - December 16, 2011
Greenpeace welcomed the filing of Senate Bill 3087, which establishes a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register in the Philippines. The bill was filed by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago earlier this week, the same time that she was accepted as a judge for the International Criminal Court.

“Pollution is not only a crime against the environment but also against humans.  SB 3087 is a step in the right direction towards human and environmental rights.  Hopefully, this bill that Senator Santiago filed is the beginning of government and industry finally fully acknowledging the public’s right to know on what pollutants are discharged into our environment,” said Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

SB 3087 establishes a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register in the Philippines.  This register, which Greenpeace has been actively recommending for the Philippines to adopt, requires industries to report all hazardous chemicals that they use, manufacture, recycle, transfer, and dispose.  Such a system allows for tracking of hazardous chemicals for easier and improved monitoring by government agencies in charge of managing industrial pollution.  It also allows the public to exercise their right to know about pollution issues, especially for those hosting facilities in their communities.

Greenpeace also points to benefits for local government units (LGUs), including being better prepared and equipped to handle chemical spills, accidents or contamination following floods or fires.  Medical professionals will be better able to diagnose illnesses due to chemical exposures and treat them properly. Workers will also be better protected in their workplaces because of the transparency required of companies when such a system is in place.

“In countries that have adopted a PRTR or similar system, pollution has been drastically reduced.  We laud Senator Santiago for taking action to finally institutionalize the publics’ right-to-know about hazardous releases.  We encourage our other lawmakers to take this forward as soon as possible, since this will definitely benefit all of us,” added Baconguis.

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace is campaigning to stop industrial pollution of our water with hazardous, persistent and hormone-disrupting chemicals by demanding that companies and governments take action to “Detox” our future.