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Heal Toxics is a member of the International POPs Elimination Network

This website provides resources on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and wastes. Valuable examples of community monitoring of health and environmental impacts of toxic chemicals are also furnished.

Further, there is an entire section devoted to chemical safety in its proper socio-political context or in relation to issues such as globalization and people's empowerment.

 

Global demonstration against waste and pollution launched

By Pesticide Action Network Philippines


Manila – An international coalition of activists today launched the 3rd Global Day of Action against Waste (GDAW) citing the increasing health impacts of polluting waste disposal practices which affect mainly children throughout the world.

More than a hundred groups from 35 countries participated this year in what has become an annual day of protest against unsustainable and dangerous waste disposal systems. Coordinated by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), this year’s protest highlighted recent evidence from the World Health Organization which indicates that more than 3 million children under the age of five are dying each year because of polluted air and water and exposure to other environmental hazards.

“To be really blunt about it, the worsening levels of pollution worldwide are killing children. Governments are obviously failing to protect children and the human population at large from harmful chemical assaults resulting from unsustainable and irresponsible practices such as incineration,” according to Von Hernandez, Co-Coordinator, GAIA.

Incinerators are linked to serious environmental health threats. Incineration alone is responsible for 69 percent of global emissions of the notorious pollutant dioxin which is linked to cancer, immune and reproductive system disorders, birth defects, and other health threats. Incineration is also a primary source of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, which builds up in the environment - especially aquatic ecosystems - and affects the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver. It is especially harmful to pregnant women and children.

“Many people are unaware that even backyard burning of household waste produces toxic gases and particulate matter that spread over wide distances, and can remain suspended for some time in the air where the trash was burnt. Families exposed to frequent burning of household waste in their neighborhood are at a risk for inhaling toxic by-products of burning such as dioxins and furans, which have been shown to be associated with cancer, weakening of the immune system, reproductive disorders, and other diseases. Children are especially susceptible because their natural defenses are not yet fully developed.” says Dr. Romeo Quijano, a toxicologist from the UP College of Medicine, and president of Pesticide Action Network Philippines (PAN Phils.).

In addition to the immediate pollution they create, incinerators and landfills also perpetuate wasteful and unsustainable production and consumption systems. Incinerators destroy resources, which would be better conserved for future use given the increasing pressure to harvest finite natural resources.

“Available evidence worldwide from various academic, governmental and international institutions indicate that many of the chemicals coming out of dumpsites, landfills and incinerators have also now been found in the human body. The fact that everyone is now contaminated with these harmful pollutants proves that we are now dangerously skirting the edge of the ecological precipice. How much harm are we willing to accept before we abandon these deadly ways of managing society’s discards,” added Hernandez.

GAIA is an international coalition of community-based organizations, research and policy advocacy institutions, citizen pressure groups and other nonprofit organizations and individuals working together to promote clean production, zero waste and sustainable discard management systems. GAIA members which now number 470 in 75 countries are committed to ending waste incineration and advancing real solutions to the waste crisis. A member of GAIA, PAN Philippines is a non-government organization that has engaged in various activities related to pesticides, health and environment for almost a decade now.

 

©heal toxics, 2003
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