World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Greenpeace Exposes Former US Base Equipment Leak

Greenpeace Exposes Former Us Base Equipment Leaking Poisons

Manila/Amsterdam, 29 February 2000: Greenpeace today removed a former United States military airbase transformer which was leaking extremely toxic industrial chemicals (PCBs) into the environment in a residential area of Mabalacat, in the Philippines.

Analysis of the soil samples from the community area where the transformer was found contained PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) up to 18 times higher than levels considered safe for residential areas, and up to three times the level considered hazardous waste. The 400 kva transformer, measuring 2 meters high and weighing about 1 to 2 tons, was clearly marked as containing PCBs and owned by the United States.

Greenpeace activists, wearing full hazardous materials protection gear, took action to clean up hazardous wastes abandoned by the United States in Clark Air Base, demanding that the US pay for the pollution and clean up the toxic contamination it left behind after American forces left the Philippines in 1992.

“Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Greenpeace decided to take steps to contain the PCB contamination from the transformer to prevent any further exposure. It's a shame that a rich country like the United States has chosen to ignore its responsibilities in the Philippines despite the fact that contamination at former US bases is already poisoning the environment and the people,” said Von Hernandez, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner in the Philippines.

PCBs are industrial chemicals used mostly in electrical equipment. They promote cancer and increase susceptibility to disease. PCBs harm the environment and have been classified as a persistent global pollutant by the United Nations Environment Program.(1)

“Local communities surrounding Clark Air base have for many years identified mysterious deaths and health complaints including cancer, nervous system disorders, and reproductive problems, ” said Hernandez.

There is already a lot of evidence pointing to serious contamination problems in the former US bases, in Clark and Subic Bay. Greenpeace believes this case represents only the tip of the iceberg as regards wastes from the former US bases. It is well known that a lot of US base equipment including PCB containing transformers have been looted out of the base by enterprising locals out to sell them for recycling or re-use.

“As an American, I am embarrassed that my government refuses to take responsibility for this pollution that is causing harm to innocent families,” said Jack Weinberg, advisor to the Greenpeace Toxics Campaign. “Neither Filipinos nor Americans should be forced to endure these hazards in their backyards

“It is no surprise that the US government opposes the efforts of other governments to establish an effective global treaty under the United Nations to eliminate these dangerous substances when it leaves its waste in other countries backyards, ” added Weinberg.

For more information:

Footage available on request; Pictures will be available from Greenpeace's picture desk website: http//


For information please contact: Greenpeace International Press Office T: ++ 31 20 5249515 F: ++ 31 20 5236212

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>


Myanmar: UN Chief Rohingya Refugee Crisis Enters Second Year

Over 700,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar to ramshackle refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar area, Bangladesh after being forced from their homes by a military operation which UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein compared, at the time, to ethnic cleansing. More>>


Scott Morrison In Hot Seat: NZ Congratulates Current Australian PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today congratulated Scott Morrison on winning the leadership of the Australian Liberal Party and has acknowledged outgoing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. More>>


Swing States: Gordon Campbell On Why The US Needs MMP

After the bizarre events this week in Helsinki, the world will be hoping and praying that the US midterm elections in November can put a restraining brake on the presidency of Donald Trump. This may happen, but there’s a highly undemocratic reason why such hopes may be frustrated. More>>