"Fully disclose industrial discharges to the public"

Greenpeace unfurls a huge streamer calling for full public disclosure of industrial discharges into freshwater sources as it joins groups in Laguna to mark International Coastal Cleanup Day in Calamba town. Photo by ERNIE PEÑAREDONDO

MANILA, Philippines - Citing dangers posed by industrial discharges into bodies of water like Laguna de Bay, environmental activists yesterday called on concerned authorities for a full public disclosure of these toxic wastes being dumped into the country’s freshwater sources.

Greenpeace said the public has the right to know the composition of these industrial discharges. It made the call on the occasion of International Coastal Cleanup Day.

The environmental group joined hundreds of Laguna youths in a coastal cleanup in Calamba. Fr. Robert Reyes, known as “the running priest,” joined the activity.

Marking the third year of Greenpeace’s collaboration with the Laguna Youth Development Affairs Office, Laguna youths picked up garbage from the shoreline and segregated them, while Greenpeace volunteers, on board brightly colored rubber boats and kayaks, took care of trash in the water.

“We want to point to the fact that there is a kind of pollution that may be invisible to the eye, but may prove to be a bigger hazard,” said Beau Baconguis, toxics campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

“Unfortunately, pollution information is not made available to the public. Therefore, they are unable to protect themselves,” Baconguis added.

Greenpeace recommends the setting up of a pollution disclosure system, such as a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR), as a tool to empower the public and help curb pollution.

A PRTR would provide the public with a database system from which they could check the health of water sources and identify hot spots.

By Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) Updated September 19, 2010 12:00 AM