To illustrate the severity of the waste crisis, the Coalition presented a scene with an activist dressed as a waste monster called “Dumpbuhala” terrorizing communities with toxics from the unabated dumping of waste resources. Community representatives confront the lethal ogre, carrying notices for dump closure and policy shift from landfills to zero waste.
“Our country is littered with over 1,000 polluting dumps. It is crucial that we pursue the closure, clean up and rehabilitation of these dumps. We need a people-driven national push for ecological solutions,” said Eileen Sison, who chairs the EcoWaste Coalition, adding that “we need to engage the whole nation in the pursuit of zero waste. “
Visiting recycling economist Peter Anderson from Winsconsin, USA described landfills as a failed technology, saying that “Modern engineered landfills are hopelessly flawed as liner-based systems only postpone ‘not prevent’ the contamination of drinking water supplies and environmental degradation.”
Speaking at the EcoWaste Coalition’s General Assembly, Anderson pointed to the fact that even the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has acknowledged that the intricate system of barriers in even the most highly engineered landfill “will ultimately fail,” and when they do, “leachate will migrate out of the facility.”
He cited as another critical concern the uncontrolled releases of climate changing methane gas from landfills. Methane emissions from municipal waste landfills in US comprised 94% of total landfill emissions, while industrial landfills accounted for the rest.
Anderson emphasized the necessity of keeping organics out of landills and proposed separating organic materials for composting to restore the fertility of depleted farmlands, just as bottles, cans and papers are segregated for recycling. Intensive composting will contribute to significant waste diversion away from landfills and help communities get closer to the zero waste target.
Zero waste, according to the Coalition, is the synergy of principles, cultures, beliefs, systems, methods and technologies that aims to eliminate wasting and ensure full and beneficial use of resources to restore ecological balance and provide for the needs of all creation.
The EcoWaste Coalition brings together diverse public interest groups working on waste and pollution issues. It was set up in 2000 in a waste conference organized by Greenpeace and the church-backed Landfill Watch.