PH all set to strengthen its efforts to eliminate two major Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

The Philippines is all set to strengthen its efforts to eliminate two highly toxic chemicals—Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE)—as part of its commitment under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), according to Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) Director Metodio U. Turbella .

Just like any other POPs, PCB and PBDE are highly toxic chemicals of global concerns due to their characteristics of long-range transport, persistence in the environment, ability to bio-accumulate in organism, and toxic (either acute or chronic) that have significant adverse effects to vulnerable groups’ health i.e., children, pregnant women and workers and the environment.

The DENR-EMB is currently starting a project entitled “Implementing of PCB Management Plan for Electric Cooperatives and Safe E-waste Management”. It aims to protect human health and the environment through sound management and disposal of PCBs in transformers and capacitors and PBDE in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) i.e., old televisions and computer monitors, among others. UNIDO has provided both technical and financial assistance for this project.

The partnership between the Philippines and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) seeks to assist 26 electric cooperatives in the sound disposal of their PCB equipment and subsidize part of the disposal cost. The PCB will be disposed of at a non-combustion facility in Bataan province. It is envisioned to be a model facility for other countries by which the Philippines could showcase that it can treat its own PCB waste at 10,000 ppm or less in capacity.” Overall, the project targeted the safely eradication of 600 tons of PCB from obsolete transformers of partner electric cooperatives and at least 1.15 tons of PBDE from about 50,000 cathode ray tube TV monitors,” Dir. Turbella said.

For PBDE, the country’s project partners Cebu Common Treatment Facility Inc. (CCTFI) and Integrated Recycling Industries (IRI) Philippines Inc. currently test and segregate CRT monitors and old television sets for Bromine content using the x-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF). Those found with Bromine will undergo further testing for PBDE. Casings found with PBDE (target is 1.5 Tons) will be sent abroad for disposal.

With on-going initiatives, awareness on the elimination of these POPs specific sources and consequently its effects i.e., cancer, allergies and hypersensitivity, damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, reproductive disorders, and disruption of the immune system shall gradually help in reducing its impacts on health and environment. ###