Chemicals in our water?

“YOUR pipe, our poison? We have the right to know!”

This was the cry of Greenpeace’s “Water Patrol” yesterday as they called the attention of the public on the lack of government policy against factories discharging their waste into the rivers of Metro Manila.

The pro-environment group wants the government to implement a “mandatory chemical disclosure system” for industries and ensure that there will be no harmful wastewater that will poison our rivers.

“We have the right to know what chemicals are being poured into the water we use for drinking, fishing or bathing,” the group said in a statement.

The group went to Marikina yesterday and found hundreds of discharge pipes along the Marikina River. No one knows exactly what these are, Greenpeace said.

(Whatever it is, we hate to know only later when all of us would be suffering from whatever sickness because of whatever shit that comes out from the bowels of factories in the area.)

The group reminded the government and industries of their responsibility to let the public know about substances that are being discharged into water bodies.

(Whatever the smell, however it looks, we need to know if it would not change us into kittens after a few months of drinking waste that are mostly likely seeping into our water system with the antiquated pipes we have crisscrossing the metropolis.)

Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said water bodies are usually being used as final disposal systems for some of the most toxic chemicals without Filipinos knowing it.

He said that in Marikina, for instance, toxic cocktails are directly released into the river by factories and other industrial facilities, eventually ending up in Laguna Lake, a domestic water and food source for Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Greenpeace wants disclosure. According to the group, pollution disclosure has existed and is being implemented in other countries.

“The Aquino government campaigned and won on a platform of transparency, accountability, good governance and public participation. With the continuing decline of water quality and availability, especially in the face of climate change, a pollution disclosure system, consistent with this government’s platform, will allow the different sectors to participate and make effective water protection a reality.

“We cannot forever close our eyes to facilities dumping toxic chemicals into our bodies of water. Freshwater is becoming scarcer and scarcer, yet facilities continue to contaminate them with toxic chemicals from their operations. If the public must participate in efforts to reduce pollution discharges into our water, they must be able to freely access pollution data. We need information on pollution and we need them now.”

That’s a long reminder. But what the heck, we need to know if there’s shit in our faucets. Joe Torres


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