Work closely with communities’: BAN Toxics on citizen participation in research and development in the ASGM sector in the PH
Several environmental organizations on Thursday, May 5, gathered during the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN)’s D-Tox Session which aimed to discuss various toxic and waste issues in the Southeast Asia (SEA) region.
The topic of the D-Tox Session was Citizen Science: A strategic approach to solving toxic waste and chemical issues in the region. The event was attended by participants from the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Taiwan.
Among the resource speakers was environmental watchdog BAN Toxics which was represented by their Policy and Research Officer, Jam Lorenzo. Lorenzo spoke about citizen participation in research and development in the Filipino artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) communities.
“BAN Toxics has been working with the ASGM sector for more than a decade, and what this has taught us is that we need to recognize community expertise and knowledge in conducting research as a valuable resource that helps us to understand situations more clearly and allows us to work more closely with communities,” said Jam Lorenzo.
Founded in 2006, BAN Toxics is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mandate is to promote sound chemicals and wastes management. The organization was established to respond to urgent waste and chemicals issues besetting the Philippines. BAN Toxics’ current grassroot interventions include capacity building programs for the ASGM communities in the Philippines.
Citizen science is a strategic tool that empowers communities affected by toxic and waste issues with data and knowledge they can use to exercise their rights to a healthy and safe environment.
The D-Tox session was conceived in 2020 as a virtual platform for non-government organizations in Southeast and East Asia which are members of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) to discuss various toxic and waste issues in the region. Additionally, D-Tox is also an online capacity-building platform that helps POs improve their performance.
Furthermore, the session was also attended by CitizenScience.Asia, EARTH Thailand, ECOTON Indonesia, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) Philippines, Taiwan Watch Institute, and Greeners Action Hong Kong.
This D-Tox session was organized by IPEN, with the help of CitizenScience.Asia, Ecological Alert, and Recovery Thailand, and EcoWaste Coalition.