Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Philippines Halting Indiscriminate Coal Fly Ash Disposal

A Mandaue City court issued a directive on Saturday halting the disposal of coal ash generated by coal-fired power plants located in Naga and Toledo Cities in Cebu. Last August 20, Mandaue City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Presiding Judge Marilyn Lagura-Yap issued a temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) to remedy the "indiscriminate coal ash disposal" in the cities of Naga and Toledo. The Philippine Earth Justice Center (PEJC), EcoWaste Coalition and other concerned groups and residents acted as petitioners for invoking the precautionary principle to uphold the constitutional rights of affected communities in seeking protection from improperly disposed coal ash, which constitutes a public health hazard.

PEJC and other petitioners said that "even in the absence of full scientific certainty as to how much harm coal ash affects the health of petitioners and the ecosystem, this Court is still required under the rules to exercise and adopt a precautionary attitude." It also cited the "Supreme Court Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases," which said that the following factors may, among others, be considered in applying said precautionary principle, namely: Threats to human life or health, inequity to present or future generations, or prejudice to the environment without legal consideration of the environmental rights of those affected. (Yahoo News, Manila Bulletin, 8/21/2010)

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