Filipino bags international award for campaign vs lead paint


Posted at Apr 23 2018 05:52 PM

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MANILA - A Filipino environmentalist has won the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize for his campaign against lead paint.

The Goldman Environmental Foundation named Manny Calonzo as one of 6 winners worldwide who were recognized for their efforts to protect the environment and their communities. 

Calonzo was recognized for his campaign that persuaded the Philippine government to implement a ban on the production, use and sale of lead paint.

The other winners are Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid of South Africa of Kenya, Francia Marquez of Colombia, Khanh Nguy Tui of Vietnam, LeeAnne Walters of the United States, and Claire Nouvian of France.

The Goldman Environmental Prize is awarded annually to grassroots environmental heroes from each of the world's 6 inhabited continental regions, according to the foundation. 

Aside from Calonzo, two other Filipinos have received the prestigious award - Fr. Edwin Gariguez in 2012 and Von Hernandez in 2003.


2018 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Manny Calonzo. Goldman Environmental Prize.

Hailing from Makati, 54-year-old Calonzo spent 30 years of his life working on consumer and human rights issues.

A past president of EcoWaste Coalition, Calonzo started a campaign to call for the ban on lead paint.

In 2008, Calonzo started a national campaign against lead paint. Under his leadership, EcoWaste conducted studies over the next four years, testing lead content in paint and dust found in the environment surrounding homes, schools and daycare centers.

The campaign attracted media attention, and in 2013, the Philippine government announced the Chemical Control Order, establishing a legal maximum of 90 ppm for lead in paint.

By 2016, the two leading paint companies in the Philippines were certified lead-safe by the program Calonzo helped create.

By January 2017, 85% of the paint market in the country had been certified as lead safe.

With his success in the Philippines, Calonzo is now spreading his advocacy across Asia, partnering with local organizations in Mongolia, Pakistan, Malaysia and Vietnam. He is also introducing the certification program to paint brands in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.