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IPEN CEWE Regional Highlights

 
Dear colleagues,
I am sending you a brief selection of notable, interesting or inspiring news from IPEN participating organizations in our region from the second half of 2022.
I wish you a succesful year 2023. Of course, we can expect many inspiring activities in the coming months.
Best regards

Jan Šamánek
IPEN Central, Eastern and Western Europe Regional Coordinator
Arnika - Toxics and Waste Programme

Seifertova 327/85, 130 00 Praha 3 │Czech Republic
tel.: +420 728 860 048 │ jan.samanek@arnika.org
 

STUDIES & RESEARCH


ChemSec released this year’s ChemScore report. It assesses the world’s 54 largest chemical companies on their environmental impact and hazardous chemicals management, setting the benchmark for a sustainable chemical industry. Overall, the results are no better than last year, discouragingly enough. Few companies have made significant positive changes, and nearly half have scored worse than they did in 2021. The report can be found here.
 
Greenpeace Hungary carried out fresh measurements on the Sajo to re-examine the river's arsenic contamination. The test results showed arsenic contamination in samples taken on the Slovak side, close to the Hungarian border, almost six times higher than the Hungarian limit values. 
 
The waterproof function of most children's outdoor jackets made by Czech manufacturers is achieved with the use of so-called forever chemicals or PFAS. that's a result of a research recently conducted by Arnika. At least one of the 58 analyzed PFAS substances was detected in 9 of the 10 children's jackets. You can read more here.

POLICY


Over 100 European civil society organisations signed the „PFAS manifesto“. They urgently demand EU member states and the Commission to ban all PFAS in consumer products by 2025 and across all uses by 2030. The Ban PFAS manifesto was initiated by CHEM Trust, Arnika, Tegengif, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), EEB, ClientEarth, and BUND. The manifesto is available in English, French, German, Spanish (and soon in Italian) here: https://banpfasmanifesto.org/en/
 
To raise awareness about the presence of hazardous substances in food contact materials and to explain why we need more protective regulations to address them, HEAL has teamed up with Zero Waste Europe and CHEM Trust to launch a new website on toxic-free food packaging: www.toxicfreefoodpackaging.com.
 

SKILL SHARING & EDUCATION


HEAL produced a science to policy communications toolkit for fellow NGOs and anyone working on clean air advocacy. It covers the importance and potential impact of using recent scientific findings around air quality in our communications efforts. Find the full toolkit here.
Plastic Soup Foundation published a children’s book on plastics. "Back to the plastic age" takes children to the year 2132 in which the plastic problem has long since been solved. See the book here,
 
Hej!Support released a new booklet “EDCs in GHS: toward a global solution to the identification of EDCs.” It highlights the importance of developing the EDC criteria for GHS and elaborates on the ideas of moving forward. It can be downloaded here.
 
HCWH published a new booklet on plastics and health - An urgent environmental, climate and health issue. you can download it here.
 

SHORT NEWS


  • Hundreds of residents of Podrut, Croatia and its surroundings protested against building of pyrolysis, or any other waste incineration facility in their settlement or anywhere in Croatia. The protest was motivated by the plans for a waste incineration in a vacuum pyrolysis plant that weren’t properly communicated to the public. Zelena Akcija helped with organization of the protest.
  • Lawyers at ClientEarth, together with 13 NGOs, have taken the Flemish authorities to court to block petrochemicals giant INEOS’ plastics project, its biggest ever investment, in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium. This action is the culmination of a sustained legal battle by the groups against INEOS’ ‘Project One’ – a €3 billion project which would be built beside a protected nature site and convert fossil gas into ethylene, one of the building blocks of plastic. INEOS has so far failed to present an adequate assessment of how the project would impact the climate, nature and surrounding air quality – all of which are likely to suffer significantly if the project goes ahead. Plastic Soup Foundation, WWF Belgium and Zero Waste Europe are also involved in the campaign, besides others
  • ChemSec staff decided to have their blood tested for PFAS. It turns out that nine out of the twelve exceed the guideline value of 6,9 ng/mL set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The average PFAS level among ChemSec employees was 7,1 ng/mL, and although the majority found themselves in the same range, there were two outliers on either extreme. The employee with the highest PFAS level landed at 11,3 ng/mL, while the lowest “score” only showed 2,3 ng/mL in that person’s blood. Read the full story here.
  • Ecologistas en Acción has presented its allegations in the new public information period processed by the Industry and Mines Service of the Huelva Territorial Delegation of the Ministry of Industrial Policy and Energy, which intends to give the go-ahead to a re-growth of the closing walls of the mining ponds proposed by Atalaya RioTinto Minera SLU. In this way the closing walls of both ponds, Copper and Aguzaderas sections, will reach a height of 417 meters above sea level, to house 161 million tons of sludge added to the 182 million cubic meters of toxic sludge they already contain. Ecologistas en Acción strongly oppose any expansion of these mining dams, along the lines established in the September 2019 technical report "Risk Analysis of Tailings Dams at the Rio Tinto Mine".
  • Générations Futures published an exclusive report based on the analysis of the European guidelines intended to enable public authorities to best protect residents exposed to pesticides. The research discovered that the non-treatment distances (ZNT) set according to these guidelines are not protective of the most vulnerable people and do not cover all real situations. y:
  •  A short new study published by the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) investigates the alternatives to chemical-synthetic pesticides in agriculture and what can they do. Using practical examples from agriculture, it presents how farmers are already using non-chemical methods to protect their arable crops.
  • WECF released a handbook for building an ecofeminist movement. It can be downloaded here:
...and of course, there has been much more done by other IPENers in our region.
If you have some interesting story about your work please don't hesitate to let me know or share the news with the listserve.
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