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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Local environmentalists question continued use of Endosulfan

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY/ June 28, 2008 -- The sinking of the Princess of the Stars which carried about 10 tons of the very toxic pesticide Endosulfan opens a pandora's box of how multi-national agriculture companies are poisoning our land, air and now water.

While the halt to the Search and Retrieval Operations for the ill-fated Sulpicio Lines vessel is salt rubbed on the wounds of the grieving victims of the sea disaster due to the dangers posed by Endosulfan, this environmental disaster should push government to penalize companies using Endosulfan.

Although, multi-national companies like Del Monte may argue that they have gotten excemptions on the use of the very toxic pesticide in its pineapple plantations in Bukidnon in Southern Philippines, it is hypocritical of them to claim that their product are healthful products.

The statements of Del Monte that their use for several decades of the deadly chemical has not caused any single health incident should be taken with a grain of salt and should push authorities to incisively investigate its impact on human health and the environment especially in its plantations in Bukidnon and among the plantation workers and community members there, said environment lawyer and Partido Kalikasan Northern Mindanao Chairperson Atty. Manuel R. Ravanera.

As a signatory of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS), the Philippines should have been diligent in enforcing laws that restrict the use of Endosulfan. "How Del Monte Philippines got around this restriction should be investigated and those accountable in government for this should be dealt with accordingly," said PK Northern Mindanao Secretary General BenCyrus G. Ellorin.

Endosulfan, a neurotic organochlorine insecticide is highly toxic and when released in the open environment bio-accumulates. Ellorin explained that bio-accumulation is very dangerous as the chemical remains with the organisms that ingested it. Meaning if fish eat anything contaminated with Endosulfan, the poison remains with the fish and can still cause poisoning to anyone eating the contaminated fish.

"This is crazy especially that the area where the Princess of the Stars sunk is one of the richest fishing grounds of the country," He added.

Ravanera added that the issue now is not just on why Endosulfan got loaded in the ill-fated ship, but but on why is it still being used by reputable companies like Del Monte Philippines. "They cannot simply pass the buck on Sulpicio Lines this time, they should answer why they are still using the restricted chemical in their pineapple plantations?" the environmental lawyer a

Press Statement:
Contact Persons:
Atty. Manuel R. Ravanera, Chapter Chairperson, (88) 8586143, 09189125238
BenCyrus G. Ellorin, Secretary General, (8822) 71-0635, 09292146198

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