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'Zombies' protest toxins in waterways
Activists demand action and more information on chemical pollutantsGreenpeace activists dressed as zombies protest against alleged government inaction over industrial water pollution. (Photo: Jed Delano/Greenpeace)
- ucanews.com reporter, Manila
- September 27, 2012
The activists demanded the government establish a "Right-to-Know" system regarding chemicals, and adopt a policy to eliminate hazardous waste released by factories into rivers, streams and lakes.
The protest was staged on the eve of International Right-to-Know Day.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Beau Baconguis said the organization "laments" the fact that the government "has notÂ been vigilant in monitoring hazardous chemicals to prevent their entry into our water systems."
The Philippines passed a law on hazardous chemicals 20 years ago, but the government's Department of Environment and Natural Resources has so far issued only five â€śChemical Control Ordersâ€ť for mercury, asbestos, cyanide, polychlorinated biphenyls and ozone-depleting substances.
Baconguis said many of the chemicals discharged into rivers and lakes are carcinogenic and can cause mental disabilities and damage to vital organs.
Greenpeace first launched its water campaign in 2007, and since then, has been urging the government to be more decisive and uncompromising on water protection.
"It is obvious the government has failed to protect us from toxic contamination. Worse, they keep us in the dark about theseÂ pollutants," Baconguis said.
Greenpeace urged the government to establish a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register policy that would make information publicly available as a first step to eliminating toxic pollution.
"Unlike zombies which are plain make-believe, poisons in our water pose a real threat and need governmentâ€™s urgent attention and action," Baconguis said.
Earlier this month Greenpeace launched a three-week event where more than 100 volunteers traveled by boat, bike or on foot along 85 kilometers ofÂ Manila's waterways to document potential industry polluters and raise awareness on toxic pollution.
Greenpeace to inspect Manila waterways
Villagers blame mine for lake contamination