Toxics watchdog bats for lead-safe playgrounds for Manila’s kids

By on February 28, 2016


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MANILA—A watchdog group promoting children’s safety from toxic exposure on Monday urged Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada to ensure that lead-safe paints are used in refurbishing the city’s public recreational and sport facilities.

Through a letter delivered Monday, the EcoWaste Coalition requested Estrada to instruct the Parks Development Office (PDO) and the Public Recreations Bureau (PCB) to use lead-safe paints in ongoing park and facility renovations.

“We reiterate our push for a lead-safe repair and restoration as some of the city’s basketball courts and playgrounds get much-needed facelift,” wrote Sonia Mendoza, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

Mendoza recalled that the EcoWaste Coalition reported to Estrada in 2014 the sorry state of the nine basketball courts and playgrounds that the group inspected and found the “lead paint coated flooring and equipment chipping and flaking off, posing chemical hazard.”

“Many of the playground equipment were partially, if not totally, wrecked, posing physical hazard,” she added.

To protect Manila children’s health and uphold their well-being, the group wrote anew to Estrada to request the city’s chief executive to instruct the PDO, PCB and other relevant offices involved in procurement and supply, building design and construction and facility renovation to:

“a. Buy and use only lead-safe paints for city government-owned facilities such as parks, playgrounds, schools, day care centers, sports centers, multi-purpose halls, as well as healthcare amenities;” and

“b. Observe proper procedures for the removal of old paints that might contain lead compounds to avoid the dispersal of hazardous lead-containing dust.”

“Mayor Estrada’s instruction will guide those in charge of constructing or renovating parks, playgrounds, schools and other children and youth-oriented facilities to buy and use latex or water-based lead paints (which generally do not contain lead), as well as solvent-based enamel coatings, epoxy enamel paints and anti-corrosive metal primers that contain no lead,” Mendoza said.

The requested instruction will be in line with a Manila City Council Resolution adopted in 2014, which called upon the City Government “to adopt and pursue a lead safe paint procurement policy” and “to issue a directive to reflect such requirement in the procurement procedures,” Mendoza pointed out.

Lead-containing architectural, household and decorative paints as per DENR Administrative Order 2013-024 will be phased out by December 2016, making it illegal to manufacture and sell such leaded paints effective 1 January 2017.