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


Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>


Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>


Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>


Camp Shut Down: Refugees Must Be Rescued From Manus

On 31st October 2017, the detention centre on Manus Island in which the Australian Government has been holding more than 700 refugees was closed, leaving those living there in a desperate situation. More>>



Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC