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PIA Press Release

Expert calls on gov't to open public debate on nanotech

By Mai Gevera

Davao City (7 October) -- The world is going nano; and yet barely few Filipinos even know nano technology - the "in thing" that's been influencing the world.

Expert on the Action Group on Erosion, Technology, and Concentration (ETC) Pat Mooney briefed Davao media yesterday on the possible impact of nano technology on agriculture, food, and livelihood.

Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the scale of atoms and molecules, is rapidly converging with biotech and information technology to change food and agricultural systems.

He said this technology is just so powerful that it can replace raw materials into another.

"Copper, for one, is a major mineral used for electrical wiring. But with nano technology, copper can be replaced by sand at nano scale," he shared.

The industry is seeing such replacement 10 to 15 years from now which would also lessen the production cost since sand is way cheaper than copper.

Mooney said that the ETC Group admitted that nano tech could bring in advantages to the people in terms of sustainable energy, clean water, and clean production.

However, one of the problem areas cited is the absence of a government regulatory regime that would address nano-scale or the societal impacts of the invisibly small.

ETC Group bared that the market now offers food and nutrition products that contain unregulated nano-scale additives, the same holds true on pesticides.

He bared that the Philippine government has been joining international fora and meetings regarding nano technology.

However, very few Filipinos have heard about the issue, much so understood through public debates and discussions.

While the world is seriously preparing for the effects of these rapid changes with nano technology, he said the Philippines remained in the dark and could possibly carry the effects and impact of the said technology.

"The European Union has formed its framework seven to seriously discuss the technology while Beijing is adding more scientists to work on nano tech," he said.

He added that there must be some serious effort on the part of the Philippine government to let the public understand what nano technology is and what is happening in the world.

"Civil society organizations must engage in a wide debate about it and its multiple economic, health, and environmental implications," he said. (PIA) [top]

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