By VINCENT GO, VERA Files
WHAT chemicals do factories discharge into the waterways of Metro Manila and Luzon?
Claiming that even the government does not have the exact data, activists and community leaders on Thursday demanded that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources install a pollution disclosure system that will require industrial facilities to publicly declare the chemicals they use in their products and manufacturing process, and report how these are discharged, treated or transported.
The call was made at the launching of the three-week "Right -to-Know" Water Patrol Expedition which intends to gather water samples from suspected pollution "hot spots" along the 85-kilometer waterway that stretches from Marikina River to Laguna Lake. The expedition was timed with World Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday.
The expedition, organized by Greenpeace, Buklod Tao Inc., Samahang Magdalo and community leaders of San Mateo, Rizal, deployed 12 boats to undertake the "investigation" as its initial salvo.
Stressing the need for a Pollutant Release and Transfer Registry, Greenpeace's Beau Baconguis said, "Communities along our rivers and lakes directly bear the brunt of these toxic discharges which can ultimately contaminate our source of drinking water."
The activist group has established water patrol units in Marikina City, a pilot project that encourages citizens to send videos or images via the Internet and report water abuse and pollution or water conservation efforts.
(VERA Files is put out by senior journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. VERA is Latin for true.)