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Philippines: TSIP (Toxic Sites Identification Program)

the details…

Pure Earth’s TSIP (Toxic Sites Identification Program) identifies and assesses contaminated sites in low- and middle-income countries, where public health is at risk. Pure Earth-trained local TSIP investigators visit and document sites using the Initial Site Screening (ISS) protocol. The data is then reviewed and entered into Pure Earth’s TSIP database of polluted sites, which helps governments understand, prioritize and address pollution in their countries. 

Between 2009-2011, over 120 sites were identified under TSIP, 114 of which underwent on-site assessments. Data from these site assessments indicated that artisanal gold mining, mining and ore processing, used lead-acid battery recycling, and other large-scale industries located along river basins are probably the most significant environmental hazards in the Philippines. Specifically, mercury and lead are the two chemical pollutants that pose the greatest risk to human health. This information was key in having the first National Summit on Health and Pollution in the Philippines in June 2011.

The TSIP data was used in an Asian Development Bank effort to utilize urban redevelopment in remediating contaminated sites and spurring socio-economic opportunities. A total of 20 sites were assessed and ranked depending on a number of environmental, land use, and redevelopment criteria. For the Philippines, this resulted in an urban redevelopment plan for a legacy lead contaminated site in Meycauayan, Bulacan, which was identified as a critical area during the first national inventory of contaminated sites.

TSIP data was also used in another project funded by the Global Environment Facility/United Nations Development Programme. This entailed a nationwide survey of 282 establishments involved in the collection, storage, recycling, and/or selling of ULABs, 50 of which were prioritized and assessed for lead contamination. As a result, exposure mitigation for a community of 12 families (44 individuals, 15 of whom are children) was accomplished in a lead contaminated site in San Simon, Pampanga, Philippines, in November 2017.

A more comprehensive investigative assessment approach was employed to evaluate Iloilo City and Tagbilaran City from 2017 to 2019 evaluated soil quality in a total of 80 barangays in Iloilo City and 15 barangays in Tagbilaran City.

In 2019, In a detailed site assessment was completed at a former Informal Used Lead Acid Battery Recycling site in Sitio Tinga-an in Cebu City.

The results of the assessment, which generated a total of about 19,000 soil samples from the cities of Iloilo and Tagbilaran, were presented to the respective local governments and stakeholders along with the short- and long-term recommendations. Generally speaking, neither city is faced with alarming levels of contamination, allowing them to be preventative in their approaches moving forward. Both city governments have expressed appreciation for the project and interest in an extension so that Pure Earth may assist them in jumpstarting the implementation of the recommended next steps.  It is envisioned that this same effort and capacitation will be extended to other pro-active local governments in the Philippines.

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