With the aim to reduce hazardous effects of chemicals within the campus environment, the Environmental Resource Management Center Office (ERMaC) strengthened their policy to manage the purchase and usage of chemical products and services in the University.
ERMaC Director Marlon Pareja pointed out that the ERMaC regularly reviews the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), a document comprising details of each chemical product’s potential dangers and possible safety measures, to ensure that certain chemical components of items purchased by the University are safe to one’s health.
“Imbis na bumili tayo ng produkto tapos mag-create siya (sic) ng health or environmental problem, mas magastos ‘yon at mahirap [ayusin] kaysa ‘yong sa umpisa pa lang, nalalaman na natin na ito ‘yong gusto (policy) natin,” he said.
Pareja added that the purchased chemical products verified by a third party certification body will help protect people from being exposed to toxic substances. “Based on studies, napakalaki ng impact niya (lead) sa mental health,” said Pareja.
In purchasing chemical products, Pareja said the Purchasing Office shall require the product supplier to provide an MSDS, which will be submitted to the Pollution Control Officers (PCOs).
“Titingnan ng PCOs [ang MSDS]. Sila na ang magsasabi kung puwedeng bigyan ng discount o hindi. Tapos, dadalhin ‘yon sa ‘min (ERMaC’s office), i–che-check namin ‘yong MSDS. Kung hindi siya (product) approved, ilalagay namin [ang dahilan] kung bakit hindi siya approved o ano ‘yong pre-cautionary measures na dapat gawin,” he continued.
Pareja said they are keeping a record of purchased chemical products and a list of its respective suppliers for monitoring. “Kagaya sa Food Square, pinupuntahan namin (ERMaC). Nape-penalize sila [dahil] hindi sila sumunod sa standard policies natin,” said Pareja.
If caught committing a violation, the canteen administrator has to pay a P500 fine which will directly go to the scholarship fund, he specified.
Meanwhile, he clarified that the policy, which was implemented in August 2015, did not require any funding since ERMaC’s primary task is to mandate the chemical purchases of the University for the safety of the Lasallian community.
ERMaC’s efforts lauded
The Ecological Waste Coalition of the Philippines, Inc. (EcoWaste Coalition) commended the initiatives of ERMaC such as the procurement and usage of lead and mercury-free products to promote environmental protection and conservation within the campus.
EcoWaste Coalition is a network of non-government organizations and public interest groups promoting sustainable solutions to waste and pollution issues in the Philippines.
In a letter from the EcoWaste National Coordinator Aileen Lucero, the EcoWaste Coalition said ERMaC’s usage of lead-safe paints in decorating the campus facilities and amenities will help the members of the school community from being exposed to possibly harmful lead found in paint, dust, and soil. With a report from Jazmine Estorninos.