Serve Closure Notice to DENR
for Condoning Toxic Pollution
Quezon City, Philippines. As the international community faces up to the looming climate change, public interest groups from over 30 countries across the globe are pushing for “Zero Waste for Zero Warming” as an urgent solution to cut back and combat greenhouse gas emissions from dirty waste disposal technologies. To mark the annual Global Day of Action against Waste and Incineration, now on its sixth year, environmental health and justice groups took action to raise citizens’ opposition over the reckless marketing and financing for landfills and incinerators, highlighting the fact that dirty technologies will not clear the atmosphere of climate changing emissions. Together, the groups called for global support for Zero Waste alternatives to dirty waste disposal technologies.
“We ask governments and funders to cease from poisoning our communities with toxic pollutants from the obsolete practice of dumping and incinerating discards, which significantly contribute to the climate change crisis. Instead, we call for global support and action towards Zero Waste that will eliminate trash and pollution, advance sustainable systems for managing discards, conserve materials, save energy, and create green and sustainable jobs for the people,” said Gigie Cruz of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives / Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance (GAIA).
In Quezon City, some 100 community representatives and environmental activists trooped to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ main office to symbolically close it down for its gross negligence in upholding its mandate to protect public health and the environment. The protestors installed a huge signage with a mock padlock that says “DENR Closed for inaction against climate-changing pollution from toxic dumps, landfills and incinerators.”
Romy Hidalgo, representing the EcoWaste Coalition, expressed the group’s support to the promotion of Zero Waste as a core strategy in preventing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saying that “waste policies, programs and funds must prioritize waste prevention, reduction, reuse, repair, recycling and composting as concrete measures to save energy and avoid greenhouse gases.”
“We are serving this notice of closure to the DENR and the National Solid Waste Management Commission because of their dismal failure to stop the destructive practice of waste dumping and burning, which emits toxic pollutants that contribute to the worsening weather patterns. Our action today reflects our extreme dissatisfaction with the government’s failure to shut down the over 1,000 illegal dumps in the country and pursue best practices in ecological waste management, without dumping and incineration,” Hidalgo said.
Hidalgo reiterated the need to ban the disposal of biodegradable waste in dumps to prevent the production of methane. “Let us keep organic materials out of dumps and landfills. When biodegradable materials are left to rot in dumps, they emit methane gas that contribute to climate change. It is ridiculous to throw these materials away when they can be composted and used as completely safe and organic soil enrichers, instead of using chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides that leach and contaminate soil and groundwater,” he explained.
In the face of the climate crisis, incinerator and landfill industries, observed the EcoWaste Coalition and GAIA, are aggressively peddling these end-of-pipe toxic technologies in the guise of “green energy”. By using names like Waste-to-Energy, gasification, and plasma, waste disposal companies have gained access to public money handouts and subsidies through renewable energy policies and some “green” programs encouraging the construction and expansion of expensive, pollution-ridden and climate-changing disposal projects, hampering community-based efforts to stop waste and global warming.
A European study shows that incinerators blow more carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the stack per unit of electricity generated compared to coal-fired power plants. In the U.S., landfills are the largest source of methane (CH4) – a global warming gas 23 times more powerful than CO2. Disposal technologies feed on diminishing resources that should be recycled or composted like paper, food waste, plastic, and aluminum, and are counter to efforts to reduce what is put in the trash in the first place.
Incineration further drives a negative spiral of increased energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Restrictive policies in typical incinerator contracts require a set amount of garbage. These contracts impose fees that that are a disincentive for a city to improve waste prevention strategies and recycling and composting collections.
Today’s protest at the DENR was participated in by Bangon Kalikasan Movement, Buklod Tao, Cavite Green Coalition, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance/Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm Asia, Krusada sa Kalikasan, Mother Earth Foundation, November 17 Movement, Sagip Pasig Movement and Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan.
For more information, please contact:
GAIA: Gigie Cruz – 4364733, 0917-8250802
EcoWaste: Rei Panaligan – 9290376, 0920-9062348
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376