By Chito Chavez
The local governments of Quezon City and Davao City were cited by an environmental group for taking concrete actions to safeguard children and other vulnerable groups from being exposed to lead, a highly hazardous chemical found in paint and dust.
The EcoWaste Coalition lauded the City Councils of Davao City and Quezon City for passing on June 5 and June 13, respectively, ordinances requiring the mandatory procurement and use of lead safe paints in publicly funded construction, maintenance and renovation projects and activities in their geographical jurisdiction.
Councilors Pilar Braga and Jimmy Dureza co-introduced the Davao City ordinance, while Councilor Elizabeth Delarmente introduced the Quezon City ordinance.
The approval of the ordinances came on the heels of a Memorandum Circular 2018-26 issued by Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año on February 28 on the “Mandatory Use of Lead-Safe Paints by LGUs.”
“We laud the local authorities of Davao and Quezon cities for heeding DILG’s directive to adopt policies that will institutionalize the procurement and use of lead safe paints, especially for painting jobs paid out of public funds,” said Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
The group had earlier recommended the mandatory procurement of lead-safe paints for government purchasing in support of the ongoing phaseout of lead-added paints in the country.
“The adopted ordinances conform to the global goal of phasing out lead-added paints and reducing the risks posed by such paints to public health and the environment,” Dizon noted.
According to the EcoWaste Coalition, the ordinances adopted by the Davao City and Quezon City Councils have bolstered the enforcement of the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for Lead and Lead Compounds issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The CCO, issued in 2013, phases out paints containing lead above 90 parts per million (ppm), the strictest regulatory standard for lead in paint worldwide.
The EcoWaste Coalition expressed its hope that other LGUs will adopt similar measures to protect their workers and constituents against lead exposure.
As a major paint consumer, the LGUs have a responsibility to ensure that only lead-safe paints are bought and used to decorate government-financed buildings, facilities, and amenities, the group emphasized.