Zero waste advocates OK tarpaulin ban in Rosario, Cavite

GROUPS promoting environmental health and zero waste welcomed the action by a local government unit (LGU) in the province of Cavite to ban the use of tarpaulins.

In a joint statement, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Cavite Green Coalition gave the Municipal Government of Rosario, Cavite early thumbs up for promulgating Executive Order 51, Series of 2013 prohibiting plastic-based tarpaulin banners.

“The unchecked use of tarpaulins, especially by ‘epal’ politicians, has become a public nuisance in our province and elsewhere, adding to the ever increasing volume of plastic garbage that is not easily recycled,” observed Ochie Tolentino, Coordinator, Cavite Green Coalition.

“Epal” refers to credit-grabbing, scene-stealing public officials and other politicians who have the penchant of advertising themselves mainly through tarpaulins.

“By their bold decision, the Rosario local authorities may have set a model environmental policy that other LGUs can emulate to prevent the avalanche of tarpaulin waste this coming election,” she said.

The EcoWaste Coalition likewise commended Rosario’s action to arrest the growing volume and toxicity of municipal solid waste by controlling uses of plastic tarpaulins, which are often coated with polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin.

“Tarps, like other plastic materials, do not easily degrade, posing serious disposal problems to LGUs who have to deal with discarded tarps,” said Sonia Mendoza who heads the EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force on Plastics.

“PVC tarps, in particular, contain lots of synthetic chemical additives and plasticizers, making it extremely difficult to safely recycle or dispose of at their end-of-life,” she said.

A recent investigation by the EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force Chemical Safety found cadmium, a carcinogenic substance, in the ink used for some tarpaulin banners in the range of 71 to 1,253 parts per million (ppm).
Cadmium is one of the 48 chemicals and chemical compounds in the Philippine Priority Chemical List (PCL) “that have been determined to potentially pose unreasonable risks to public health, workplace and environment” by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The European Union beginning December 2011 banned the substance in plastics and other specific uses to “reduce environmental pollution from cadmium,” while in Minnesota, USA, cadmium exceeding 100 ppm is banned in any pigment, paint, dye or ink since 1998.

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