History and mandate

OUR HISTORY

BAN Toxics was established in 2006 to respond to urgent waste issues besetting the Philippines. The organization was founded by public interest lawyer Richard Gutierrez whose work with US-based Basel Action Network (BAN), a campaigning organization dedicated to ending toxic waste trade, compelled him to form a similar organization based in the global south which was at the receiving end of the trade in hazardous wastes.

Over the years we have worked on issues related to toxic chemicals and waste and environmental justice. Together with allied environmental groups, we exposed the scandalous waste provisions in the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA). We raised the alarm on the rising volume of e-waste shipments to the Philippines which were being improperly dismantled and disposed in landfills.

We have also worked to promote awareness about harmful chemicals and the sound management of chemicals at all levels, through policy engagement with government agencies and policy makers, projects on the ground with communities and the Toxics-Free Schools Program (TFSP) with students.

Our pioneering work is focused on the sound management of mercury through successful policy and community engagements. We worked extensively on awareness programs and policy proposals on the handling of mercury-containing fluorescent lighting, including compact fluorescent lights, mercury-laden dental amalgam, and on the updating of the government’s Chemical Control Order for mercury.

We are one of the first NGOs to work closely with poverty-driven artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) communities in order to transform and uplift the sector. ASGM is the largest source of mercury emissions in the Philippines as well as globally. Our continuing programs have aimed to reduce and eliminate mercury use in ASGM mining processes and at the same time promote the empowerment of women and children, help improve labor conditions, and advocate for the formalization of the largely unrecognized artisanal and small-scale mining sector.

 


OUR MANDATE

We work to:

    • Promote environmental justice in the Philippines and Asia, ensuring that developing countries in the region do not bear a disproportionate burden of pollution coming from developed countries;
    • Prevent toxic trade in products, wastes and technologies, particularly trade from developed to developing countries in Asia through the promotion of self-sufficiency in waste management, clean production, toxics use reduction and other sustainable and equitable practices or methodologies;
    • Reach out and work in solidarity and partnership with allied groups locally and regionally, striving to instill a broader consciousness of the interrelatedness of each community and each country within the region and to uphold our collective fundamental human right to life and right to live in a healthy and peaceful environment;
    • Promote a new earth economics that accounts for nature’s services and the disservices from pollution that internalizes all costs including those transferred to the global commons, disenfranchised communities, the environment and the future; and
    • Develop local and regional initiatives through research, investigation and policy dialogue with government and grassroots organizations in order to actively share information and expertise.