(Stockholm, Sweden): The 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize award to Manny Calonzo for his coalition efforts to eliminate lead paint in the Philippines brings attention to the ongoing threat of lead paint exposure to children in most of the developing world. Lead paint, the greatest single cause of childhood lead exposure globally, can cause irreversible neurological damage. Mr. Calonzo’s work to forge partnerships with the public, NGOs, health ministers and paint manufacturers was a winning model in the Philippines and is inspiring similar campaigns to eliminate lead paint throughout the world.
“Together with allies from the public, industry and government, we proved we can rid ourselves of a damaging source of toxic pollution for the good of children in the Philippines. I hope this prize will help reduce lead exposure to children across the planet and paint a healthier future,” said Mr. Calonzo.
A long time campaigner for environmental health, Mr. Calonzo, former president and advisor of the EcoWaste Coalition in the Philippines and leader in IPEN’s global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign, was instrumental in securing the adoption of the first national law banning lead paint production, use and sale in the Philippines. This new law, one of the world’s most protective, safeguards nearly 12 million young children from exposure to lead. Lead exposure, even at the smallest amount, can cause lifelong, untreatable harm, including brain damage, harming a child’s ability to learn, read, write, and focus in class and participate in society.
While the United States effectively banned lead-based paint in 1978, in many developing countries—even after decades of research showing how lead is linked to learning disabilities, lower IQ, and other health effects in children—the element is still abundantly applied in paint products, with lead concentrations sometimes up to 100 times higher than what’s permitted in the US.
The Philippines had long been a prime example of this. Just ten years ago, local activist Manny Calonzo decided to test the paint in his home country—the first person to publicly do so. Calonzo had long been involved in consumer safety, working for Consumers International in Penang, Malaysia, in the late 90s. After he returned to his home country, in 2008, he became president of pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition, a network of more than 150 environmental groups based in Quezon City.
(Gothenburg, Sweden): UN human rights experts have raised concerns about human rights violations at Samsung Vietnam (20 March 2018) in a joint statement. The three UN human rights experts, Mr. Baskut Tuncak, Ms. Anita Ramasastry, and Mr. David Kaye, expressed concern that Samsung’s intimidation and legal threats against workers and researchers who conducted a study into the lives of women workers constitute a breach of human rights.
News media across the globe have been heaping praise on Samsung's cool new Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones. But amid all the raves about the tech innovations and fancy features of these devices, the lives of the mostly female workers who make them have been virtually ignored.
Few consumers or reporters are aware, for example, that half of all Samsung phones are manufactured in Vietnam by a female-majority workforce in their twenties.
Our organizations explored this hidden story by conducting in-depth, open-ended, confidential interviews with 45 women who work on the assembly lines at two Samsung factories in Vietnam. What we found was shocking.
This edition of IPEN's bi-annual Global Newsletter for 2017 focuses on women and chemicals. The newsletter opens with a message from the IPEN Co-Chairs, and includes highlights, stories from the field, and news. All contributions were provided by the IPEN Regional Hubs and Participating Organizations, working together for a toxic-free future.
Please see the newsletter in the following languages:
To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, Landscapes News is publishing a series of stories honoring women with a laurel for their dedication to improving the landscape. In this profile, Landscapes News contributor Alexandra Popescu writes about Yuyun Ismawati. Check Viewpoint all week for more laurel recipients.
A lifelong environmental activist working to improve livelihoods across Southeast Asia, a Goldman Environmental Prize laureate for grassroots activism and most recently an entrepreneur, Yuyun Ismawati is a tireless campaigner for greener, healthier landscapes.
“I have always been curious and wondered what I could do to make things better,” says Ismawati, who is currently working to clean mercury-contaminated soils using renewable energy while earning a doctoral degree focused on the impact of mercury on child health at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany.