With the official worldwide enforcement of the Stockholm Convention
only a few weeks away, Health and Environmental Alliance Against
Toxics began its information campaign on Persistent Organic Pollutants
(POPs) and the Stockholm Convention.
At a weekly meeting of the National Council of Churches in the
Philippines (NCCP) on April 26, Sampaguita Quijano from HEAL Toxics
gave a talk on the characteristics and harmful effects of POPs,
and explained the role of the Stockholm Convention in protecting
human health and the environment from POPs.
Several concerns were raised during the meeting. A primary issue
was that of the country’s capacity to implement the Convention.
Although the Convention obliges first world countries to help
developing countries by providing the financial and technical
assistance necessary to allow them to meet their obligations,
at present there is a lack of alternatives that are available
in the country, particularly in waste management. There is a need
for immediate and readily accessible alternatives that the people
can use as the Stockholm Convention takes effect. It was suggested
that eco-friendly indigenous practices be explored as viable alternatives
to POPs-producing processes.
At the same time, it was aired that the clean-up of the former
U.S. bases should be given priority by the U.S. government as
the Stockholm Convention officially becomes legally binding. In
a study conducted by Weston International, high levels of POPs
were found in wells and soil samples in Clark. The U.S. should
take responsibility in cleaning up these toxins that were left
behind, which continue to affect communities living in and around
Another concern that was brought up was the responsibility of
companies which use POPs producing processes. The government needs
to take the initiative in holding these companies accountable,
make sure that they shift to alternatives, and clean up their
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
is an international treaty designed to end the production and
use of some of the world’s most poisonous chemicals.
The Philippines signed the Convention in May 23, 2001, and ratified
it on February 27, 2004. The Convention officially comes into
force on May 17, 2004 in which it will become legally binding
in over 50 countries around the world.