Makati residents face mercury exposure from fluorescent lamps dumped at sidestreet
MANILA — A toxic product watchdog has asked the Makati City government to look into the dumping of fluorescent lights along the side streets of the city, warning that the mercury from the lamps can be harmful to the residents.
EcoWaste Coalition said in a statement on Monday that they sent a letter to Makati City Mayor Romulo Kid Peña informing him of the illegal dumping of fluorescent lamps on the sidewalk of Pablo Ocampo Sr. Avenue Extension, near the corner of Zobel Roxas Street in Barangay La Paz.
EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect coordinator Thony Dizon said the group chanced upon the pile of busted linear fluorescent lamps, which were illegally disposed of along with construction debris and other garbage at the street corner.
He noted that garbage collectors in the city have informed him this was not the first time lamps were thrown in the area.
“For the safety of the waste workers and the general public, particularly the children and the pregnant women who are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of mercury exposure, we request your office to act on our report,” Dizon added.
When these lamps are broken, crushed or improperly disposed of, the mercury contained in them are released into the air, water and land, which could pose a threat to the environment and the people, Dizon has explained.
“As an immediate action step, we asked the Makati City Government to install a warning sign against the dumping of busted compact, circular and linear fluorescent lamps and other garbage in the said place,” Dizon said.
EcoWaste also recommended the revival of the city’s lamp waste recycling program, which was launched in 2011. It said that about two tons of discarded lamps and batteries were taken to a government-accredited treatment, storage and disposal facility.
“We hope that such a program will be implemented in all the city’s 33 barangays,” the group added.
Makati City Information Officer Gibo Delos Reyes said the Makati Department of Environmental Services and the city’s health department have been investigating the report and doing measures to prevent such dumping from happening again. SFM
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