Quantcast

No vetting of DENR awardees

This is in reaction to the news item on the 10 multinational companies cited by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for their “green” policies (Inquirer, 11/29/12).

We take issue with the DENR’s careless awarding of its “Official Seal of Approval.” There being no complaint against those companies does not mean they adhere to environmentally sound practices, especially not in the Philippines where complaining is a privilege exercised mostly by the articulate and powerful and the desperate.

At the least, we expect the DENR, exercising its governmental powers and moral authority on behalf of the public, to investigate the practices of those companies, and not to hold them up as models solely on the basis of “outstanding green policies.”

Take Holcim Philippines. It has been producing cement using refuse-derived fuel (RDF) in its Bulacan and Misamis Oriental plants, which it proudly calls “alternative fuel.” But RDF is no more than a compacted combination of waste plastic and paper, used tires, and agricultural and unspecified industrial wastes burnt to generate cheaper energy.

At the least, Holcim’s burning of RDF should have been a red flag to the DENR. The 1999 Clean Air Act prohibits burning because burning releases hazardous chemicals, including carcinogens, into the air we breathe.

At the least, the DENR should be able to tell us the magnitude and types of greenhouse gas emissions from Holcim’s cement production, the chemical byproducts of RDF use, and whether Holcim’s cement production meets emission and safety standards. At the least, DENR should investigate the health and environmental impact of Holcim’s emissions and chemical byproducts. Needless to say, the DENR owes the public this kind of information with or without its awards, but especially so when it goes about stamping its seal of approval on the “self-monitoring and self-regulation” of multinational companies. Without this kind of information vital to public interest, it should be the DENR’s impulse and duty to suspect “self-monitoring and self-regulation.”

It is also the DENR’s duty to track the multinational companies’ compliance with health and environmental standards  and to be wary when protests hound their operations in other parts of the world. It is on public record, for example, that Holcim’s Yocsina plant in Argentina, which uses RDF, was the object of protests from surrounding communities for illegal dioxin (one of the worst carcinogens) emission. The protest was supported by the 2009 dioxin concentration study of Dr. Raul A. Montenegro, a biology professor at the University of Cordoba in Argentina, and other researchers and institutions (Gonzalo Bermudez, et al., 2010) that found high concentrations of toxic heavy metals in the soil surrounding Holcim’s Yocsina plant.

We now call on the DENR to release the environmental compliance records of all the companies that it foists on the Filipino public as models.

—SHALIMAR VITAN

coordinator for Asia Pacific,

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives,

Quezon City, Philippines


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=42097

Tags: DENR , environment , Green policies , letters to the editor , opinion



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • Man wins half marathon, dies in Argentina
  • Clouds to bring slight relief from summer heat
  • Canadians rally to legalize marijuana
  • S. Korea ferry transcript reveals evacuation panic
  • Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Marketplace