Advocates for both sides continue to argue their cases but everyone agrees that the best way to solve this problem is to BYOB: Bring Your Own Bag. NY did so when the eco-friendly “I am not a plastic bag” totes made by Anya Hindmarch from the UK hit the stores, making BYOB a must-do and must-see by Yankees. It only goes to show that when fashion leads the way, everybody follows.
Q 2. The Case of the Philippine Marcopper Mining Incident in Marinduque: An Act of God or The Fault of Man?
The people of Boac, Marinduque will always remember March 24, 1996. It was the fateful day when a poorly plugged drainage pipe burst and more than three million tons of mine tailings inundated the river. The rising flood spilled over the farms and residential areas causing irreparable damage to their homes, livelihood, source of food, irrigation, and water. Many people survived but the Boac River did not.
The local community knew who to blame for the tragedy: Marcopper Mining Corp. The villagers hold the company accountable for their irresponsibility and even suspect that it had been doing illegal activities during its operations. With the support of the national government, NGOs and other civil organizations, the community expediently filed a lawsuit against Marcopper Mining Corp. and its major shareholder, Placer Dome Inc., a Canadian firm.
Marcopper had been digging for copper only a few years but its parent company, Placer Dome has been mining gold there since 1970. In 1998, it posted profits amounting to 105 million US dollars and was among the top five gold mining industries in the world. Placer Dome owns some 14 mines all over the globe, among them Marcopper Mining.
But even with such high acclaims, Placer has been allegedly involved not only causing environmental disasters in the countries of United States, Papua New Guinea, and Costa Rica but health problems as well. The same was true for the Philippines because when the site was tested in February 1997, it was found that the toxic chemicals have leached into the soil and the water table. This made the land unfit for farming and the water positive for heavy metal poisoning.
Even with the strength of the arguments and valid accusations of the people, Marcopper had denied responsibility for the matter. Instead, it blamed the event to the earthquake that happened three days prior to the tragedy. According to the company, it was an act of God, a natural phenomenon that cannot be helped.
Although they have washed their hands off of the occurrence, Placer Dome proposed a solution to the problem: Submarine Tailings Disposal (STD), a process where the tailings will be pumped off to the sea through an underwater pipe. However, it was found ‘socially unacceptable’ by the people and was therefore rejected. And this is rightly so because it was later found that it banned in their home country, Canada.
This case is an issue of environmental justice because it provokes ethical questions regarding the equity and equality of rights between countries.