[Blueboard] [THE SLB LIGHTPOST:9] International NGOs Join Drive Vs Aerial Spraying

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Mon Aug 24 09:59:17 PHT 2009

International NGOs Join Drive Vs Aerial Spraying
Source: CBCP News

DAVAO City, August 20, 2009– Four top global non-government organizations
working for the promotion of people's welfare and rights joined in the
crusade to put an end to the practice of aerial spraying of pesticides in
banana plantations in Mindanao.

The Pesticide Action Network – Asia and the Pacific (PAN-AP),
International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN),
Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Global Alliance for Incinerator
Alternatives (GAIA) urged authorities to heed a public clamor to ban
aerial spraying.

The groups also requested the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources, the national focal point of the Philippines for the Strategic
Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), to introduce a
national ban and show its resolve to pursue chemical safety for public
safety and environmental health.

SAICM is a global policy and strategy adopted in 2006 by governments,
including the Philippines, to protect human health and the ecosystems from
the harms caused by exposure to toxic chemical substances.

PAN-AP Executive Director Sarojeni Rengam said they are now waiting for
the response of Environment Secretary Jose Atienza if he will listen to
the farmer's plea for health and justice particularly his support to ban
aerial spray in Mindanao.

“As the lead agency for SAICM, we urge him to show the way and uphold the
rights of the people and nature not to be drenched and poisoned with toxic
chemicals,” said Rengam, in a statement sent to cbcpnews today.

A 6-person delegation from the Mindanao-based Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial
Spraying (MAAS, or Citizens Against Aerial Spraying) met Secretary Atienza
last August 3, along with the Manila members of the National Task Force
Against Aerial Spraying (NTFAAS) to ask support to ban aerial spray in

“We also hope that Secretary Atienza will complement the ban on aerial
spraying with another directive that will initiate a participatory process
towards creating a robust chemicals regulatory regime, in line with SAICM,
to keep humans and the ecosystems safe from chemical assaults and harms,”
added US-based Monica Wilson, GAIA co-coordinator.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director Von Hernandez also appealed
to the national government to ban fully aerial spraying in Mindanao and to
forego “corporate greed.”

“This (aerial spraying) immoral and harmful practice must be ended once
and for all,” he said.

A team of health experts here recommended earlier the banning of aerial
spraying of pesticides in the village of Camocaan, Hagonoy, Davao del Sur.

“Banning the aerial spraying of pesticides will be a welcome step towards
preventing chemical pollution and reducing chemical risks. It will
hopefully induce the industry into switching to environmentally sound and
safer substitutes, including non-chemical alternatives to managing pests,”
said Australia-based Dr. Mariann Lloyd Smith, Co-Chair of IPEN.

Ecologically-produced food, Smith pointed out, is gaining market traction
in Japan (the main destination of commercially-grown Cavendish bananas)
and elsewhere as consumers become more conscious about food safety and
human rights.

PAN-AP works with grassroots peasants' and women's movements in Asia and
the Pacific and envisions “a society that is truly democratic, equal,
just, culturally diverse, and based on food sovereignty, gender justice
and environmental sustainability.

IPEN is a global network of more than 600 public interest non-governmental
organizations working together for the elimination of persistent organic
pollutants, on an expedited yet socially equitable basis.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia, which has offices in Bangkok, Jakarta and
Manila, seeks to “safeguard environmental rights, expose and stop
environmental crimes, advance clean development.”

GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 600 grassroots groups,
non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 80 countries whose
ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration. (Mark S.

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