Green Groups Bat for Innovations to Beat the Waste and Climate Crisis

Quezon City. Green groups pushed for “zero waste for zero warming” in a timely gathering of local government officials held in Quezon City, insisting that innovative solutions are available to break the wasting and warming cycle.

The three-day national conference organized by the Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) from May 13-15, 2008 delved on the theme “Out of the Box, Out of the Dumps: Innovative Solutions to Waste” and was graced by Sen. Pia Cayetano, Chair of the Senate Committee on the Environment, Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte, and Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio, with some 200 local government officials and other LGU representatives from Metro Manila and the regions participating.

The conference took place against a backdrop of growing public pressure to wipe out from the country’s landscape all illegal dumpsites that continue to thrive despite the explicit ban on open dumping under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“Anyone who generates waste has the responsibility to make sure that the waste is dealt with in a manner that will not bring harm to humans or other creatures or the environment. It therefore does away with the old, discredited practice of garbage hauling and dumping which pollutes our air, water and soil and causes inestimable damage to our health and biodiversity,” Marie Marciano, MEF President, said.

“We need only to tap the creativity and resourcefulness inherent in the Filipino to achieve the healthy, waste-free and beautiful environment we all hope for. Look to the simple, low-tech, local and low-cost innovations in the grassroots, and watch your hopes grow,” she further said.

The conference rightly drew the participants’ attention to the oft-neglected linkage between wasting and warming.

Waste disposal, explained the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), directly contributes to the warming of the planet via the discharge of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide from incinerators and methane from dumps and landfills. The outmoded burning or burying of discards also drives climate change by depriving the economy of reused, recycled and composted materials.

Speaking before the conference, Manny Calonzo of GAIA and the EcoWaste Coalition affirmed that “a climate-positive alternative, known as Zero Waste, hugely reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for extraction, processing, and transport of raw materials, as well as avoiding emissions from disposal.”

As defined by the EcoWaste Coalition, Zero Waste 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.”

In her message to the conference, Sen. Cayetano expressed hope that the gathering would “help bring total consciousness on the environmental problems we currently face due to irresponsible waste disposal” to which the green groups agreed.

Among the recipients of the MEF’s “Out of the Box” Awards include the Northern Samar Provincial Government for issuing an official resolution to adopt the zero waste framework for the entire province; Caloocan City for being the first to employ the “citizen’s suit” in its push for citywide compliance with R.A. 9003; Sta. Barbara, Iloilo for its municipal ban on plastic and promotion of earth-friendly alternatives; Teresa, Rizal for closing its dumpsite and taking steps to rehabilitate it; BarangayBagumbuhay, Quezon City for residuals management; and Mayor Belmonte for his unique incentive program of giving back to barangays 50% of garbage hauling costs saved by the city as a result of their implementation of ecological solid waste management, which diverts wastes from dumpsites.

For details, please contact Marie Marciano, MEF President, 09202735325

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376