Dumaguete, Philippines – Silliman University (SU), a private university in the central part of the Philippines, is implementing a new policy that eliminates single-use plastic bags and aims towards Zero Waste, the first university in the country to do so. SU’s new environmental policy was approved unanimously by its Board of Trustees (BOT) on November 17.
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Originally posted in Ciel.
We are overwhelmed by plastic pollution. This is the last call to save the planet.
by: Claudia Fiorella Santonocito, Geneva-based intern of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
Marine plastic pollution is now under the magnifying glass of a group of experts tasked with recommending a global response to the plastics crisis. Here’s what to expect at their meeting next week.
Plastics are a product of the fossil fuel industry. Not only is the fossil fuel industry the most polluting industry in the world and largely responsible for climate change; it’s also driving the plastics boom.
Indeed, between 5 and 13 million tons of virgin plastic are contaminating our oceans each year. (In total, an estimated 8,300 million tons of virgin plastics have been produced to date.) But despite growing attention to the issue, plastic production is expected to grow by 33% by 2025, with dramatic consequences for human health and the environment.
So far, many fragmented initiatives have been promoted to address marine plastic pollution, but a lack of coordination and legally binding commitments have undermined their effectiveness. To truly address the problem of plastic pollution, we have to start at its source — fossil fuels — and address plastic throughout its entire lifecycle. Clearly, there are no easy solutions for addressing the plastic pollution crisis. That’s why we must act now to reduce, reuse, and redesign plastics at the global level.
How is the global community addressing the plastic pollution crisis?
The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) — the highest political forum on environmental matters, involving all 193 member states of the United Nations — has set into motion discussions on how the world will tackle plastic pollution. In December 2017, UNEA established a group of experts to present options for combating marine plastic litter and microplastics. Among other things, this group is tasked with identifying ways to address the plastic problem and determining how feasible and effective those different options will be.
What will the Expert Group work on next week?
Building on the outcomes of its first meeting in May, the Expert Group will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, on December 3-7 to provide concrete recommendations for addressing legal, financial, and technological barriers to combating marine plastic litter and microplastics from all sources. The group of experts, with representatives from member States, international and regional conventions, NGOs, and other relevant stakeholders, is tasked with identifying a wide array of options for tackling plastic pollution as a global community.
Why a new global convention on plastic pollution is needed
None of the 18 international environmental agreements or 36 regional environmental agreements are primarily tailored to address marine plastic pollution, according to a UNEP assessment. Because of the urgency and complexity of the plastics crisis a new, a comprehensive treaty is needed to adequately and effectively address plastic pollution in addition to implementing other conventions and develop shorter term national and regional initiatives.
For this reason, the Expert Group is expected to adopt a shared vision on this issue and may include a request to UNEA for further commitment to pursuing a treaty. CIEL will be at the meeting, coordinating a global civil society task force composed of experts, academics, and other NGOs to push the process towards a new convention on plastic pollution.
Four pillars for a convention on plastic pollution
CIEL and our partners have developed a thought starter on what such a convention should cover and what it could look like. In that respect, it is critical to consider the full impact of plastics, beyond just marine waste. Plastics and microplastics have been found not just in our oceans, but also in our freshwater, soil, and air. In fact, they disperse and accumulate much faster in soil and freshwater environments than in the ocean, having deep impacts on human health.
CIEL and our partners propose an international convention based on four pillars:
The convention should aim to strengthen cooperation among different governing bodies and better coordination of rules from the main pollution-oriented conventions.
The convention should include measures to reduce plastic pollution (such as reducing and restricting the production of certain polymers and toxic additives, and banning single-use plastics and packaging) and to harmonize legislation and standards for labeling and product design.
The legal framework should include a mechanism for providing financial support for developing countries to implement the agreement, taking inspiration from the successful experience of the Montreal Protocol on the Ozone Layer, which aimed to reduce emissions responsible for destroying the ozone layer. The convention should set up a multilateral fund, similar to the one set up under the Montreal Protocol, to help developing countries start projects to reduce plastic pollution and to cover implementation costs.
The convention should provide technical support in order to ensure informed, science-based decision-making and avoid false solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. This could include knowledge exchange networks, as well as scientific and economic committees or ad hoc scientific and economic groups, both of which would draw upon experts from academia, industry, and civil society.
More than 90 organizations have already joined us in asking UNEA4 to advance the process for a future free from plastic pollution. We want to give a strong signal to delegates that there is massive support to address the roots of plastic pollution. If you are an organization interested in signing on, click here to join us!
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Hamburg, Germany, 22 November 2018 – To disrupt Black Friday and Cyber Monday as major international moments for consumerism, Greenpeace and partners launch MAKE SMTHNG Week (November 23 – December 2). With more than 300 events in 41 countries, MAKE SMTHNG Week asks people to #BuyNothing and #MakeSmthng instead.
“We are already drowning in stuff – stuffed wardrobes, garages, and kitchens – yet we keep on shopping for more fashion, gadgets, food, single-use plastic, toys, and cars. With our throwaway lifestyles we are fuelling climate change, pollution and the destruction of people’s homes and irreplaceable natural wonders. MAKE SMTHNG Week offers a fun and creative way out of this wasteful consumerism,” said Robin Perkins, Make SMTHNG campaigner at Greenpeace.
“By sharing, caring, and repairing things we can make more of what we already own and give our beautiful planet a break,” he added.
Greenpeace, its global partners — Fashion Revolution, #BreakFreeFromPlastic, Shareable, Arts Thread, the Fab Labs Network and the Fab City Global Initiative, will bring together hundreds of designers, artists and makers to lead workshops where people can learn creative techniques of reuse, repairing, fashion upcycling and DIY.
Events include making sustainable Christmas presents, living a plastic-free life, community repair cafes, books and clothes swaps, and zero waste cooking — in 32 countries from Qatar to Peru, Canada, India, Germany, Italy, UK, South Africa and Spain.
“Shopping does not make us happy. But being with friends and people, learning new skills, and valuing what we already have, does. So this Black Friday, buy nothing and make something!” said Perkins.
On August first this year, humanity used up more natural resources than the planet is able to reproduce in a year. The over-consumption of convenience products like fast-fashion, single use paper and plastics, gadgets or toys designed not to last, and industrially-produced food, is pushing our planet to its limits.
“Large corporations continue to put profits first, while they reduce the quality, repairability and versatility of their products. Through omnipresent advertising we are told, again and again, to buy more and more stuff we don’t need. Companies won’t change unless we show them people want something different. Together we have to build something that will make this outdated, wasteful model obsolete,” added Perkins. ENDS
Photos and videos can be accessed here.
About MAKE SMTHNG week: Website; Resources to get involved; Press Kit; Instagram
#DisruptBlackFriday #BuyNothing #MakeSmthng
Lu Yen Roloff, Comms & Digital Engagement Lead, Germany: email@example.com, +49 151 10028267
Greenpeace International Press Desk: firstname.lastname@example.org, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)
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by: Anouk Van De Beek
Imagine being on a sailing ship, only seeing the ocean’s vastness, working with the elements, no other distractions whatsoever. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean in 2014 Dutch sailor Thomas van Thiel was already ten days out on the open sea when he suddenly saw a plastic bottle floating around. He was shocked, seeing something man-made that far from civilization. He started to see plastic everywhere and decided to take action. By the ocean we unite was born – a foundation that contributes to research worldwide, creates awareness and educates and activates people, organisations and governments to make much needed changes. It only takes one decision to start a whole movement.
The Mediterranean is one of the most polluted seas of the world. If on this tiny piece of the earth along the coast we easily fill up a bag with garbage that big that we literally have to push it through the door of our campervan, we can only feel confronted with our own behaviour; this is how we are treating the earth. It is not them, it is all of us, it is everywhere. 80% of all the waste in our oceans comes from land. Start cleaning your environment whenever you can! It is not THE solution. Letting the plastics go through your own hands does make you feel part of the problem, it makes you feel responsible. You’ll start to think of solutions, preventing more plastic from ending up in the ocean by reducing it at source.
You can see the whole documentary online, for free! www.anoukvandebeek.com
In 2016 it all came together: my love for the ocean, my desire to experience filmmaking and the need I felt to communicate a message about humans and the ocean. Thomas from By The Ocean We Unite asked me to join him and tell the world about the ocean. One subject stayed with us, it was tangible, we could not neglect it: plastic. This planet is a blue planet, seen from space. What happens when the biggest part of our planet is filled up with plastic in the form of bigger plastics, micro plastics and nano plastics? Our journey had started, we gathered a team for our first sailing expedition ‘Up to Norway’. By now, so many awesome people have joined us on our mission, Ziggy Alberts being one of them. His song ‘The Ocean Song’ immediately came to my mind when I started to make ‘By the Ocean we Unite – an awareness journey into plastic pollution’.
Throwing away is something we do naturally, it is part of the cycle of life. The problem is that ‘away’ is not ‘away’ when we talk about plastic. It can easily take more than a lifetime for it to disappear. By that time it will have killed animals and polluted our environment. Even many biodegradable products will only degrade under certain circumstances and not in the open environment, let alone in the ocean, where most of the waste from land ends up anyway. On the contrary, throwing away a piece of apple or carrot will contribute to a nice compost for our plants and trees, building a healthy soil. These days I am enjoying throwing away organic material and compost it. . Start throwing away more things that benefit the earth! Grow your own food, start to plant trees and buy more plastic free products.
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Mandaluyong City, Philippines, 9 November 2018 — Green groups today challenged the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to live up to its stated mandate and stop financing any form of waste incineration. Incineration, including so-called “waste-to-energy” (WTE) incineration, is a dangerous, costly, and unsustainable method of treating waste. The groups contend that ADB is flouting local and international laws by promoting incineration, and that the bank should facilitate—instead of obstruct—Asia-Pacific’s transition toward a sustainable circular economy.
The call came during the launch of the report ADB and Waste Incineration: Bankrolling Pollution; Blocking Solutions  published by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). The report is a critical review of how ADB promotes investments in WTE incineration despite documented negative impacts of these facilities on public health, environment, economy, and the climate. Joining the launch to call for the bank to pull out of waste incineration funding were No Burn Pilipinas, EcoWaste Coalition, Break Free From Plastic, Greenpeace, Healthcare Without Harm, Mother Earth Foundation, and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).
“Incinerator financing is a classic example of ADB’s schizophrenic funding policy,” said Lea Guerrero, GAIA climate and clean energy campaigner. “The bank is using public money to promote dirty and destructive projects that serve to prevent countries in the region from pursuing solutions that conserve resources, protect health and which do not harm the climate. This report challenges ADB to innovate, not incinerate: the world is already moving away from incineration and transitioning to a sustainable circular economy. ADB should follow suit and fund just, equitable Zero Waste systems that will enable this transition.”
The report shows that WTE incinerator facilities advanced by ADB present significant investment risks, fail to comply with key provisions of the bank’s safeguard standards as well as core pillars of the bank’s poverty reduction strategy, and present a lack of accountability to the very people within member countries it is mandated to serve. In Asia, the bank is the leading agency that is bringing the failed incineration model from the Global North. It also proactively partners with waste incineration companies to build WTE incinerators in the region. These facilities lock countries into enormous (and onerous) debts for environmentally and publicly harmful projects with exploitative “put-or-pay” contracts that obstruct the adoption of best practices for dealing with resources and waste.
Among incineration projects funded by ADB are incinerator facilities in China and Vietnam. The bank also recommends waste incineration to other countries through its technical assistance (TA) projects, such as in the Philippines.
“In the Philippines, ADB’s pro-incinerator policies contravene the country’s Clean Air, Ecological Solid Waste Management, and Renewable Energy laws,” said Glenn Ymata, No Burn Pilipinas campaign manager. “Aside from clearly going against its safeguard standards, ADB is potentially locking cities and municipalities, already stretched for funds, into decades of wastage and indebtedness. It is business as usual for ADB and it has been the same for over 50 years.”
Last October, the bank announced that its lending portfolio has no place for “dirty energy”. Green groups assert that WTE incineration is dirty energy and should not be financed by the bank. “ADB’s funding of incinerators is based on the industry lie that WTE incineration is renewable energy,” said of PMCJ. “WTE incineration is polluting, carbon intensive, and takes investments away from real RE solutions. It should not be part of the ADB’s portfolio.”###
Read the Executive Summary HERE.
- Sherma Benosa | Communications Officer, GAIA Asia Pacific | +63 9178157570 email@example.com
NOTE TO EDITORS
 The report highlights that incinerators 1) have adverse impacts on the health and wellbeing of people and the environment ; 2) contribute to climate change; 3) damage local and national economies; and 4) obstruct resource sustainability. WTE incineration is the most expensive way to manage waste and generate electricity and perpetuate the unsustainable “take, make, waste” linear economic model that abets climate change and pollution. At present, incinerator and WTE incinerator facilities are seeing a phaseout in Europe in recognition that incineration is not compatible with a sustainable, low-carbon, and resource-efficient circular economy.
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