Clean act

The Philippines finally enacts a law to reduce pollution

 
Published: Saturday 31 July 1999

twelve years after it was first proposed, the Philippines has finally enacted a law to reduce air pollution. "We have one of the world's most polluted city, according to the World Health Organisation," said the law's chief sponsor, Heherson Alvarez. "Clean air is a right we all deserve," said House Speaker Manuel Villar.

According to the new law, all petroto the strict new standards. The law alsleum products will have to be lead-free by 2001. By 2003, levels of sulphur and benzene in fuels will have to be halved, and aromatics content reduced from the present 55 per cent to 35. Alvarez conceded many car owners would be hard put to conform o sets strict standards for industrial emissions and bans incineration as a method of waste disposal.

Environmental pressure group Greenpeace has hailed the Clean Air Act saying that the ban on incinerators was a positive step to stop a definite source of toxic pollution. Meanwhile, oil companies Pilipinas Shell and Caltex Philippines, which had mounted a well-funded campaign against the law, have increased the price of fuel. They had earlier threatened to raise the prices if the law was enacted. n

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