Toxic leak in Pasay City underscores the need for pollution disclosure

Press release - January 10, 2012
Greenpeace today reiterated its call for government agencies to establish a pollution disclosure system that would make it mandatory for facilities to publicly disclose all hazardous chemicals that they handle, store, transfer and dispose. The environment organization said that the public could be better prepared for incidents such as the chemical leak in Pasay City yesterday, but also that industries should operate under systems that would drive them to improve their processes towards clean production. As of press time, the authoriites are still trying to identify the chemical substance/s involved and the source of the leak, which resulted in the closure of a school in Pasay City whose students and teachers were exposed to the toxic fumes.

"A pollution disclosure system is needed if we are to respect the public's right-to-know about toxic discharges into our environment," said Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.  "Such a system would enable government regulators to immediately identify the chemical substances involved and the culprits in chemical spills.  It would speed up medical treatment in cases of human exposure and allows nearby establishments to better prepare and protect themselves from future chemical leaks. More importantly, it drives industries to cut the use of toxic chemicals and make a shift towards cleaner production process," she added.

A bill seeking to establish a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR), SB 3087, has been filed at the Senate on December 12, 2011, by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.  Such a system is already in operation in many countries and has been known to help drastically reduce pollution from hazardous chemicals.  Greenpeace is urging a swift legislative solution toward adopting such a system and for local governments to immediately put in similar measures to help their constituents better cope with situations such as the one in Pasay.

 

For more information:

Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner, +63 917 8715257,

JP Agcaoili, Media Campaigner, +63 917 6312750,