Environmentalist group Ecowaste Coalition has launched a program called e-Waste to promote safety management and proper disposal or recycling of waste electrical material and electronic equipment.
As an exhibitor in a wellness fair held at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Assembly Hall in Manila on July 19 and 20, Ecowaste set up a booth, handed out e-Waste information leaflets and received a variety of damaged and outmoded electronic stuff from BSP employees.
The group collected e-wastes, including batteries, cell phones, laptops, printers, servers, modem routers, kitchen appliances and other electrical products that have reached the end of their useful lives, were immediately brought to a government-accredited facility in Laguna for proper recycling or disposal.
“Our presence at the BSP event is part of our ongoing effort to draw public awareness about the threats posed by e-waste to human health and the environment and the need to ensure the safe management of this growing toxic waste stream,” said Primo Morillo, Ecowaste e-Waste campaigner.
“Promoting the environmentally-sound management of e-waste will protect workers and the rest of the society against adverse effects caused by improper handling, storage, transport, dismantling, recycling or disposal that can let loose the highly hazardous components of such waste or create even more toxic byproducts,” he added.
The group noted that among the hazardous substances found in e-waste are heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and other chemicals of concern. It stated that byproduct POPs such as dioxins and furans are formed as a result of combustion processes such as open burning and waste incineration.
PBDEs, in particular, have been used as flame retardant chemicals in the manufacture of the plastic casings of TV and computer sets, cables and wires, etc. Like PCBs, dioxins and other POPs, PBDEs possess toxic properties, resist degradation and have a high potential for long-range transport and bio-accumulation, Ecowaste said.
Ecowaste Coalition is part of the “Safe PCB and E-Waste Management Project” led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau and supported by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The project seeks to protect the Filipino people’s health and the environment through the environmentally sound management of PCBs and PBDEs in e-waste in line with the country’s obligations as a party to the Stockholm Convention on POPs.
The Ecowaste Coalition, a waste, and pollution watch group, is the project’s civil society partner in charge of implementing its public awareness raising component.