International environment experts, members of the academe and representatives from various industries and government and non-government organizations attended the Environmental and Occupational Toxicology seminar hosted by Mapúa Institute of Technology from May 22 to 24.
International environment experts, members of the academe and representatives from various government and non-government organizations and industries recently came together to bring greater public awareness of the hazards of chemical and other toxic substances and formulate initiatives that could control and mitigate their adverse effects on the environment and human health.
The gathering took place during a multi-sector workshop on Environmental and Occupational Toxicology (ENOTOX) hosted by Mapúa Institute of Technology from May 22 to 24 at The Linden Suites in Ortigas Center. The three-day event was funded by the Swedish Chemicals Agency (Keml) and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
Dr. Delia B. Senoro of Mapúa’s Sustainable Development Research Office pointed out that the project sought to develop a common approach that will reinforce the competency of people working for environmental, occupational and public health related concerns and issues. The ENOTOX workshop aimed to enhance the existing laws and the implementation of policies related to this field. Dr. Senoro was the workshop’s lead organizer, facilitator and the only Filipino participant of KemI-SIDA’s “strategies for chemical management” training program held in Stockholm, Sweden last year.
“ENOTOX is very relevant in today’s world amid massive calls for non-toxic environment and sustainable development. This workshop is just a first of the many steps in addressing the issue of environmental sustainability,” she said. “ENOTOX focuses on the study of adverse effects of toxics on the environment and public health, of which includes risk assessment and risk reduction strategies.”
A panel of foreign speakers shared their expertise with 40 Filipino participants in the workshop. These Swedish experts included Ule Johansson, KemI’s project manager for development cooperation in Southeast Asia; Jenny Ronngren of KemI, an expert in ecotoxicology; Professor Dr. Jan Örberg of Uppsala University, and American Dr. Gary Denton from the Water and Environmental Research Institute of the University of Guam.
Johansson explained that the study of ENOTOX is already a mature field in Western countries but still relatively new in the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia. He underscored the importance of enhancing the capability of developing countries in environmental toxicology, especially since the region is undergoing rapid industrialization.
“The rapid industrial development in the region has increased the need for this knowledge and expertise, both within industry, government and other institutions,” he explained. “Good education and training program are essential but many countries lack in this area of environmental and occupational toxicology.”
He added: “Environmental problems such as toxic chemicals and waste management should be addressed right before they get worse. You have to parallel your efforts by addressing current problems while adopting a preventive approach.”
He said government efforts should be consolidated to have a more solid stand against these ecological issues.
Local environment officials led the discussion of ENOTOX’s state in the country. Among them were Engr. Bonifacio Magtibay, technical officer of World Health Organization-Philippines Office; Engr. Ana T. Rivera of the Department of Health’s Environmental and Occupational Health Office; Engr. Cesar Siador, Jr. of the Environmental Impact Assessment Unit of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; and Engr. Geri-Geronimo R. Sañez, head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Hazardous Waste Management Section.
Engr. Sañez lauded Mapúa’s initiative as a good take off point to intensify and strengthen the multi-sector efforts against this environmental concern.
“Through this event, we learned more about the global best practices in chemical and toxic management, which in a way, further enhances our capabilities and makes us more adept in dealing with this environmental issue,” he said.
EcoWaste Coalition Officer-in-Charge and International POPs Elimination Network Co-Chair Manny Calonzo, likewise, lauded the efforts of Mapúa in spearheading a multi-sector approach in achieving environment sustainability. He also stressed the need for increased education of the public about the ill-effects of toxic chemicals as everyone is vulnerable to them.
“Chemical safety, after all, should benefit and protect those who are most susceptible to toxic exposure, and that is the public,” he said.
The ENOTOX project has put Mapúa in a position to lead in enhancing the country’s competence in this field as Dr. Senoro stressed that education is the best way to address the global sustainability issue. (Link)
Ule Johansson, Swedish Chemicals Agency's project manager for development cooperation in Southeast Asia, is one of the speakers in the Environmental and Occupational Toxicology (ENOTOX) seminar hosted by Mapúa Institute of Technology.
One of the participants of the Environmental and Occupational Toxicology seminar hosted by Mapúa Institute of Technology accepts a certificate from speaker Ule Johansson, Swedish Chemicals Agency's project manager for development cooperation in Southeast Asia. Johansson is assisted by Dr. Delia B. Senoro of Mapúa’s Sustainable Development Research Office.
The participants of the Environmental and Occupational Toxicology seminar hosted by Mapúa Institute of Technology discuss ways to further enhance the country's capabilities in dealing with environmental issues. International environment experts, members of the academe and representatives from various industries and government and non-government organizations attended the seminar that took place from May 22 to 24.