The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) recently marked their 25th year of successful partnership in implementing projects that improve the country’s environmental conditions.
One of ongoing UNIDO’s funded projects is the Implementation of the Safe Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) and E-Waste Management Project.
The project aims to protect people’s health and the environment through sound management of *PCB and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) in electronic waste or e-waste. It includes the management of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in waste electrical and electronic equipment, and PCB-contaminated equipment, PCB waste and stockpile from electronic cooperatives. The other components of the project are institutional strengthening, capacity building and awareness raising, and project monitoring and evaluation.
“For 25 years, UNIDO's assistance in implementing environmental projects, which are geared towards improving the living conditions of our communities and curbing the negative effects of environmental pollution, has been very significant,” said Atty. Jonas Leones, the DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs, during the Project Partner’s Meeting held in Quezon City.
He stressed that UNIDO, together with the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), had helped the country comply with its commitment to international agreements, such as the Rotterdam Convention and the Stockholm Convention.
“UNIDO in the past 10 years has been very visible in the field of chemicals and waste, open burning, dioxin furan projects and PCB-related projects and now even in electronic waste or e-waste and management of POPs related to e-waste,” he said.
UNIDO is currently assisting the Philippines in the preparation of a road map for the chemicals and waste component under the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
During the event, project implementation partners who were instrumental in facilitating the achievement of project objectives so far were recognized. Among these were Cebu Common Treatment Facility Inc., Integrated Recycling Industries Philippines Inc., and Market! Market! under the project’s e-waste component; the rest included the Natural Resources and Development Corp., Development Bank of the Philippines, National Electrification Administration, Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, and the Energy Regulatory Commission under the PCB component
Moreover, UNIDO turned over the x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and PCB screening equipment to the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), the lead implementing agency of the project. (PCB-WEEE/ Karen Ann Foster-Pacpaco)
* PCBs are hazardous and persistent chemicals which are among the priority POPs targeted for worldwide phase-out under the Stockholm Convention on POPs. They travel long distances through air and water and accumulate in the fatty tissues of people and wildlife, can increase cancer risk and suppress the immune system.
In the Philippines, the phase-out on the use of PCB as dielectric fluid on transformers and capacitors, and the ban on its importation started in 2004.
Improper management of e-waste may result in the release of PBDE, which poses serious health threats.