Green Groups demand ADB to drop WTE incineration from their Energy Portfolio

Green groups belonging to No Burn Pilipinas demand Asian Development Bank (ADB)  to stop funding waste-to-energy incineration projects especially in Developing Member Countries like the Philippines. In its statement, NBP urges ADB to refrain from investing in incinerators as energy development and waste management strategies that systematically fail to take a “do no harm”, “precautionary” approach, prioritize “climate-resilience” investment, or meet other basic principles outlined in ADB’s own social and environmental safeguard standards. The ADB recently released its sector-wide report on Energy Policy and Program from 2009 to 2019 based on the evaluation conducted by the Independent Evaluation Department (IED). The groups call on ADB to reconsider recommendations from the IED, particularly those that include waste-to-energy incineration as part of the circular economy and that of the renewable energy mix.  “Waste-to-energy incineration should not be associated with climate solutions or efforts toward a circular economy because this “end-of-pipe” approach produces hazardous residue streams, blocks the implementation of Zero Waste strategies (e.g. product redesign, sorting at source, composting), imposes long-term financial burdens on local governments, and perpetuates the linear economic model of extraction, production, consumption, and disposal,” says Glenn Ymata of No Burn Pilipinas. WTE Incineration has No Place in the Circular Economy In the European Union (EU)'s latest Taxonomy Report, waste-to-energy incineration has been excluded from the list of economic activities that are considered as “sustainable finance.” This list of sustainable finance activities refer to those that can contribute to climate change mitigation without significantly impacting environmental objectives such as transition to a circular economy, waste prevention and recycling. One principle of a circular economy model is designing waste out of local and national systems.  By continuing to fund waste-to-energy projects, ADB is preventing developing member-countries from transitioning to an authentic circular economy, which they claim to promote in the region. Projects involving the burning of waste are reinforcing dependencies on finite resources, and upholding unsustainable consumption because of its reliance on generated waste for its operations.  WTE Incineration is not a Climate Solution  Incinerators emit significant quantities of direct greenhouse gases, and are large sources of indirect greenhouse gases. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that incinerators emit more carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour than coal-fired, natural-gas-fired or oil-fired power plants.  Zero Waste Europe cites the high levels of carbon intensity produced in waste-to-energy incineration, which is 296 g CO2eq per kWh. This means that the carbon intensity of energy produced through waste incineration (580g CO2eq/kWh) is already about two-times greater than the current EU average electricity grid carbon intensity. Carbon intensity refers to the amount of CO2 emissions equivalent per unit of electricity generated or per unit of output. Under electricity generation, the EU Taxonomy requires activities to produce less than 100g CO2/kWh. A 2015 Eunomia study found that “[t]he management of waste as residual waste makes a net contribution to the climate change balance” and that “[t]here is not that much difference between the landfill and incineration scenarios.” WTE incineration is No Better Than Coal  WTE incinerators are also fossil-fuel based because plastic waste, which comprise a significant fraction of municipal discards, are largely used as feedstock. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) guidelines, when the CO2 emitted is of fossil origin, it is counted as a net anthropogenic emission of CO2 to the atmosphere. Thus, the emission from waste-to-energy incineration is no different from that of coal-fired power plants. It is actually worse. The incineration of 1 metric ton (Mt) of municipal waste in municipal-level incinerators is associated with the production/release of about 0.7 to 1.2 Mt of CO2. The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) estimates that about 2.9 Mt of CO2 is released into the atmosphere when 1 Mt of plastic packaging is incinerated. WTE incinerators also exceed coal power plants in terms of toxic and poisonous fumes produced. Burning trash in incinerators releases various types of emissions including lead, mercury, dioxins and furans, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, acidic gases (i.e., SOx, HCl), metals (cadmium, lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic, and beryllium), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and brominated polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHS). Direct exposure to such toxins risks the health of facility workers and residents in nearby communities while indirect exposure, through the food chain, poses global risks.   WTE displaces people, jobs and livelihoods Like any other power plant projects, waste-to-energy incineration plants have the tendency to displace people from their communities where the facility will be constructed. Further, as WTEs assume the role of waste management, tens of thousands of households relying on waste picking and recycling will lose their jobs and livelihoods. On average, informal workers account for approximately 0.6% of the population. This translates to around 648,000 Filipinos that depend their livelihood on the waste management sector based on the latest estimate of the country’s population of 108 million. Incinerators burn and destroy finite resources that ought to be recycled and brought back to a productive economy. In developing countries like the Philippines, other informal waste workers depend on materials recovery and recycling for their livelihood or income, and in doing so provide unrecognized services for reduction and recycling. Investing in community-centered recycling and reduction efforts will improve the quality of the livelihoods of these workers. In contrast, incinerators destroy livelihoods by extinguishing recyclable and recoverable materials. Finally, allowing waste incineration will not help in the implementation of the National Framework Plan for the Informal Sector in Solid Waste Management approved through NSWMC Resolution No. 47 which says that the Informal Waste Sector (IWS) such as waste pickers should be mainstreamed in solid waste management.   Recommendations to ADB The groups advised the Asian Development Bank to: 1) revise its Energy Policy to eliminate WTE incinerators from the list of renewable energy options to be financed and recommended; and 2) explicitly promote Zero Waste solutions for waste management concerns in borrowing member countries as well as energy solutions that do not rely on the incineration of waste. # # # For more information, please contact: Glenn Ymata, No Burn Pilipinas Campaigner, +63 9178377625 Geri Matthew Carretero, BFFP PH Communications Officer, +63 9176216901 ____________________________________________________________________________ About No Burn Pilipinas (NBP) – No Burn Pilipinas is an alliance of environmental, justice, climate, rights and health groups who are opposed to waste incineration, including thermal waste-to-energy, and are working to promote the Zero Waste approach to resource management. www.facebook.com/noburnpilipinas About BFFP Philippines Project– The #breakfreefromplastic Philippines project is a collaboration of #breakfreefromplastic members EcoWaste Coalition, GAIA Asia Pacific, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm Southeast Asia and Mother Earth Foundation working towards a future free from plastic pollution.  


Faith-based groups, academic institutions, and civil society organizations express alarm over waste to energy incineration proposal

Faith-based groups, academic institutions and other civil society organizations from all over the country expressed their concerns about the government’s plan to allow waste incineration as a solution to manage our garbage problem. During the virtual conference on Wednesday organized by the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM-Pilipinas) and partner organizations, talked about the waste-to-energy law being pushed in Congress and asked for widespread education about the issue. “Waste-to-energy incineration poses tremendous threat to ecological integrity because it weakens the ability of our ecosystem to support life. WTE is just a euphemism to waste incineration that produces climate relevant emissions and dangerous chemicals including dioxins and furans,” said Glenn Ymata of No Burn Pilipinas. “The problem of waste is well accounted for in the Laudato Si, the encyclical letter of Pope Francis. Our concerted efforts should focus on preservation and conservation not on destroying things.In short, addressing the throw-away Culture,”said Fr. John Leydon, Chairman of GCCM-Pilipinas. At the end of the virtual gathering, member organizations, community partners and allies of GCCM Pilipinas call for a wider effort on public information drive regarding the Waste to Energy from the perspective of papal encyclical Laudato Si.   ### To watch the webinar, please visit: https://bit.ly/3mapnyt  For more information, please contact: John Din 09178624008 GCCM Pilipinas Secretariat Geri Matthew Carretero 09176216901 Break Free From Plastic Philippines ____________________________________________________________________________________ About GCCM-Pilipinas– GCCM is a global, grass-roots movement of Catholics committed to living out the message of Laudato Si': On the Care of Our Common Home. About No Burn Pilipinas (NBP) – No Burn Pilipinas is an alliance of environmental, justice, climate, rights and health groups who are opposed to waste incineration, including thermal waste-to-energy, and are working to promote the Zero Waste approach to resource management.  www.facebook.com/noburnpilipinas About BFFP Philippines Project–  The #breakfreefromplastic Philippines project is a collaboration of #breakfreefromplastic members EcoWaste Coalition, GAIA Asia Pacific, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm Southeast Asia and Mother Earth Foundation working towards a future free from plastic pollution.


Environmental groups tell Gatchalian: Quit pushing legalization of waste incineration

Green group warns vs Gatchalian’s Waste-To-Energy incineration proposal; Says move will only benefit the plastics industry and waste management companies

Groups belonging to the No Burn Pilipinas alliance today warned against the proposal by Sen, Gatchalian to push incineration under the guise of waste-to-energy projects to deal with the country's burgeoning waste problems, stressing that apart from worsening toxic pollution, the proposal will only benefit the plastics industry and foreign waste management companies. Gatchalian said that poor implementation of Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003) is to blame for what he is calling “garbage crisis” citing a DENR report that only 30 percent of barangays actually segregate their collected waste properly, with 31 percent who have access to MRFs, and that 22 percent of the 1,634 cities and municipalities nationwide could be accommodated by 164 sanitary landfills across the country. “We believe that Sen. Gatchalian is making these statements to condition the minds of the public to accept his proposal of allowing waste incineration in the country,” said Glenn Ymata of No Burn Pilipinas.  Gatchalian is the principal author of Waste-to-Energy bill (SB 1789) in the senate.  Once the proposed legislation is approved, burning of waste through the incineration process becomes legal, one thing that the Clean Air Act and Ecological Solid Waste Management Act prohibit. “Sen. Gatchalian’s proposal for waste incineration will only turn the situation from bad to worse,” said Sonia Mendoza, Chairman of Mother Earth Foundation.  “For every four trucks of waste incinerated, at least one truck of ash residues is produced that needs to be disposed of in landfills as well. Ashes from burnt materials are more difficult to manage than ordinary garbage because these residues contain contaminants which are dangerous to human health and the environment, hence we will need more engineered sanitary landfills for the ash from the WTE incinerators and this is a big added cost to our waste management,” she added.  "It needs to be pointed out that Senator Gatchalian appropriately identified the problem: the huge volume of both plastics and organic waste in our waste stream - and these are what he needs to pay keen attention to.  Instead of championing false solutions like waste-to-energy incinerators, perhaps he can champion a bill that quickly phases out single-use and other disposable plastic products, and a bill that promotes the development of environment-friendly systems that divert organic wastes from landfills and towards sustainable technologies like anaerobic digestion," said Paeng Lopez of Healthcare Without Harm-Asia. Gatchalian’s report is misleading.  While the projection of 16.6 million metric tons of waste may be true the volume should not fill up 99 Philippine Sports Arena if RA 9003 is properly implemented. 52% or 8.6 million metric tons can be composted, 28% or 4.6 million tons are being recycled, and only 18% or 3 million metric tons would have left for disposal in the landfills. The remaining 0.6 million or 600,000 tons are special waste. The waste characterization of the Philippines remains the same for the volume or weight of waste generated. The real problem is that LGUs are not getting the much-needed support for waste management such as financial and technical assistance. If we examine the composition of our waste, at least half or 52% are biodegradable that can be converted into fertilizer which then can be used to improve productivity of the country’s agriculture sector. This was pointed out by Sen. Cynthia Villar when she interpellated Gatchalian’s privilege speech at the senate last week.  Another 28% are recyclables that provide jobs and livelihoods especially to thousands of waste pickers. Only 2% are special wastes that require other methods for management and disposal. This leaves 18% residual waste that should only go to sanitary landfills per RA 9003. Of that, 10.55% or 2.2 million metric tons are mismanaged problematic plastic waste.  “If only the National Solid Waste Management Commission and DENR did their job in identifying non-environmentally accepted products (NEAP) like single use plastics, our residual waste can be reduced significantly to 8% or measly 1.67 million metric tons,” said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition. “Should the Gatchalian proposal become law, the only real winners would be foreign waste management companies, the plastics industry and the corporations who profit from the continuing use and proliferation of sachets and other throwaway plastics. Plastics are the ideal feedstock for these waste-to-energy plants, and they provide a convenient escape hatch for plastic polluters to evade their responsibility for dealing with the pollution associated with their products,” said Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator of Break Free From Plastic.  “The losers on the other hand, will be local governments, taxpayers, local communities, recyclers, informal waste collectors and the environment.” he added. The group also issued an open invitation to legislators to visit cities, municipalities and barangays in the country that are successfully practicing zero-waste programs in accordance with RA 9003, instead of flying abroad to participate in junkets organized by incinerator pushers, and which are clearly intended to promote a polluting technology. ### For more information, please contact: Glenn Ymata, No Burn Pilipinas Campaigner, +63 9178377625 ____________________________________________________________________________ About No Burn Pilipinas (NBP) – No Burn Pilipinas is an alliance of environmental, justice, climate, rights and health groups who are opposed to waste incineration, including thermal waste-to-energy, and are working to promote the Zero Waste approach to resource management. www.facebook.com/noburnpilipinas  About BFFP Philippines Project–  The #breakfreefromplastic Philippines project is a collaboration of #breakfreefromplastic members EcoWaste Coalition, GAIA Asia Pacific, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm Southeast Asia and Mother Earth Foundation working towards a future free from plastic pollution.


Environment group hits proposed Waste-To-Energy Bill, criticizes legalization of garbage incineration in the guise of waste-to-energy plants

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_code _builder_version="3.0.98"]<iframe width="560" height="515" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bByO1ZLtYJ0" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>[/et_pb_code][et_pb_text] No Burn Pilipinas together with environment groups hit Sen. Gatchalian for being hell-bent on pursuing waste incineration in the Philippines despite opposition from various civil society organizations, academe and health institutions due to a number of concerns as experienced in other countries. The senator is expected to sponsor a substitute bill on waste-to-energy in today’s regular session of the senate.  “We are asking the senator the big question WHY is he still insisting his bill would allow waste incineration? During public hearings and technical working group meetings, we have already presented our case why incineration is bad for our environment, health and climate.” said Glenn Ymata, No Burn Campaigner of Break Free From Plastic Philippines in a statement. “Moreover, waste-to-energy incineration projects will also only drain the coffers of the local government units because of lopsided contracts with WTE operators. Soon these LGUs will go bankrupt.” added Ymata. The groups say that Sen. Gatchalian is being misled to believe that waste-to-energy is safe and can provide a significant contribution to the country's energy mix. With the 22 WTE projects being proposed across the country, the total combined output is just 300 MW. To sustain these WTEs, it will require around 15,000 metric tons per day as feedstock which will eventually produce an estimated 3.67 million metric tons of CO2 emission annually. Not to mention the dioxins and furans that these incinerators will release into our environment. These are the most harmful persistent organic pollutants known scientifically and could last in our surrounding for up to a hundred of years.  Once the bill is approved, the real winners are the plastics industry and big waste companies who will be absolved of their culpability of plastic pollution. It will enrich them more from the profit they will gain at the expense of taxpayers. Vulnerable communities will also be more susceptible to the impacts of waste incineration on health, climate and the environment.  Finally, the government is being asked to provide subsidies and incentives in billions of pesos just to build and sustain these WTE facilities. “In times of crisis that we are currently experiencing due to Covid-19, isn’t it more proper to be prudent in public spending and prioritize public health instead of burning our trash and people’s money?” ended Ymata. # # # For more info, a video statement is also available at: https://bit.ly/3gyl23Z Contact: Geri Matthew Carretero, BFFP Philippines Communications Officer, +63 917 6216901 About No Burn Pilipinas – No Burn Pilipinas is an alliance of environmental, justice, climate, rights and health groups who are opposed to waste incineration, including thermal waste-to-energy, and are working to promote the Zero Waste approach to resource management. www.facebook.com/noburnpilipinas  [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]


University of California system moves to scrap single-use plastics

Following a student-run campaign, the UC’s commitment will significantly reduce plastic pollution in California

  • For more information:
  • For interviews:
    • Valerie Nguyen, Chairperson for CALPIRG Students at UC Berkeley, valn@berkeley.edu, (408) 410-0689
  OAKLAND -- University of California campuses will start phasing-out single-use plastics, paving the way for campuses free of non-essential plastics by 2030, the UC Office of the President (UCOP) and CALPIRG Students announced jointly today. The new policy will transition UC away from plastic bags in retail and dining locations and eventually eliminate single-use plastic food service items and plastic bottles, helping to reduce the production of plastic pollution in California and prevent microplastics from contaminating waterways.   “Students are more conscious than ever of the consumption of plastic and its negative impact on our environment and public health, so we're thrilled that our institution, which has so much purchasing power in California, is taking major steps to eliminate single-use plastic,” said UC Berkeley graduate Nicole Haynes, CALPIRG’s statewide Plastic-Free Seas coordinator.  CALPIRG Students worked closely with the UCOP in crafting the new policy. The Plastic-Free Seas Campaign collected more than 12,000 student signatures over the past year and sponsored resolutions with the UC Student Association and local student government on several UC campuses to support phasing out non-essential, single-use plastic on all UC campuses. Given its significant purchasing power and size, this major initiative underscores UC as an even more impactful environmental leader, advocating for less plastic pollution and fewer landfills. UC researchers have shown that plastics can have a significant impact on the environment as only a small fraction of such products, especially single-use items, are recycled. “The persistent environmental damage wrought by plastics on the environment and human health is well-known,” said David Phillips, associate vice president for UC’s Department of Energy and Sustainability. “With changes in the recycling industry that make it more difficult to reuse plastic products, the clear solution is to phase out single-use plastics so they never enter our waste stream in the first place.”  UC researchers have shown that plastics can have a significant impact on the environment as only a small fraction of such products, especially single-use items, are recycled.  The timetable for the policy is as follows:

◾ Plastic bags in retail and food service establishments will be eliminated by Jan. 1, 2021.

◾ Single-use plastic dining accessories (e.g., straws, utensils, stirrers) will be eliminated and replaced with local compostable or reusable alternatives by July 1, 2021, with exceptions for accessibility needs.

◾ Dine-in facilities will provide reusable food service items (e.g., plates, cups, clamshell containers) for food consumed on site by July 1, 2022, and to-go facilities will provide reusable or locally compostable alternatives.

◾ Campus food service operations will phase out the purchase, sale and distribution of single-use plastic beverage bottles by January 1, 2023. To support this change, UC locations are encouraged to install water refill stations.

◾ In addition, the policy directs campuses to make plans to get their campuses to be free of non-essential plastics by 2030.

This system-wide policy allows campuses to decide how to tailor the implementation of these changes to the location-based needs of their food establishments and retail services. As examples, UC Berkeley has already enacted a wider-reaching local policy to eliminate all non-essential, single-use plastics by 2030 while UCLA is finalizing a policy with earlier implementation. CALPIRG Student leaders worked with both UC Berkeley and UCLA on their policies. The California Legislature is currently considering legislation that would similarly tackle California’s plastic pollution problem. The Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (SB 54 and AB 1080) would reduce plastic waste in California by 75% and require all single-use plastics to be recyclable or compostable by 2032.  “Today’s announcement by the UCs to phase out disposable plastics is a testament to both California’s leadership and the tenacity of these students who continue to prove that not only is progress possible, but we have a duty to keep pushing for the change we want to see,” said Senator Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica. “SB 54 and AB 1080 will tackle plastic statewide, finally requiring businesses to do their part and take responsibility for the plastic packaging they are placing on the market – so we can to turn the tide and reduce the amount of plastic waste piling up in our communities.” Roughly two-thirds of all plastic ever produced has been released into the environment and remains there in some form. As these items fragment into smaller particles, known as microplastics, they concentrate toxic chemicals and increasingly contaminate our food and drinking water sources. Microplastics have been found in tap water, bottled water, table salt, fish, shellfish, and agricultural soils. Experts agree that upstream reduction of packaging and packaging waste is the most effective, and least expensive way to protect human, wildlife, and environmental health. “The new policy from the UCs is a huge achievement for the environment, and now we are calling on the Legislature to follow suit by passing the Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act,” finished Haynes. “Nothing we use for a few minutes should threaten our health and pollute our future for hundreds of years.” For more information on UC’s sustainability efforts, go here.


Toxic Texas: Responding to the Plastics Plant Fire in Grand Prairie

Photo Credit: Kathy Kamo

August 20, 2020 A massive fire at the Poly-America Facility in Grand Prairie, Texas continues to smolder more than 36 hours after causing a regional emergency. Community advocates and Break Free From Plastic movement leaders call for the closure of the facility and all similarly-dangerous plastic production  facilities. Thick pillars of black smoke from the burning of toxic polyethylene products led officials to urge anyone with respiratory issues to remain indoors while firefighters sprayed gallons of foam containing perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS chemicals) to contain the blaze. This is the second inferno in recent memory at the Poly-America Facility. “It was about 32 years ago, same exact scenario. I don't remember what started it that night. We had bad storms as well, same as this one,” said Bill Murphy, Assistant Chief of Operations with the Grand Prairie Fire Department. “It's going to be at least a two-day operation out here before it's completely extinguished." The only way to stop the burning of these toxic chemicals is to stop producing them in the first place. In recognition of the urgent need for systemic change, local leaders and Break Free From Plastic movement members offer the following statements responding to the Policy-America fire and pointing the way forward to a world free from plastic. ###   Last night a fire broke out at a plastics facility, and no one had any idea. It’s frustrating feeling trapped, surviving and watching news updates, all compounded by a global pandemic. Our state leads the nation in coronavirus cases. We’re trying to be safe through a pandemic only to know that now a fire is blazing outside. Firefighting foam has leached into North Cottonwood creek -- how is that controlled? What will the aftermath look like? What is the danger present in our bodies, air and local environment? Poly-America is devastating our most vulnerable communities during a global pandemic. The air can’t be safe. We are not safe. Where do you go when you cannot go home? - Ramon Mejía, Anti-Militarism National Organizer, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) “This is a dramatic and frightening example of why we must reduce our dependence on toxic plastics. The plastics industry has targeted Texas to expand dangerous facilities like this one to produce more unsustainable single-use products. Incidents like this remind us that we must transition to a cleaner economy and protect our health and environment from plastics. Our hearts go out to the residents of Grand Prairie and neighboring cities who live near this fire. Please keep your families safe and stay tuned for updates from public officials. We wish you and our first responders the best.” - Corey Troiani, Senior Strategy Director, Texas Campaign for the Environment The toxic plumes unleashed by the fire at the Poly-America plant are a devastating reminder that plastics are fossil fuels in another form, and that they pose threats to human health, the environment, and the climate all along their lifecycle, from production through to disposal. It's the people living in fenceline communities--many of them Black, indigenous and people of color--who bear the greatest risks from the plastic industry and the fossil fuels that feed it, due to daily exposure to pollution as well as the ever-present threat of accidents like this. - Nikki Reisch, Director of the Climate & Energy Program, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) Whether it’s burned in an incinerator after hauling trash just one time or by accident at a production facility, the lifecycle of a plastic bag is toxic from beginning to end. Communities whose lungs are already ravaged by a lifetime of air pollution are now more vulnerable to COVID. It is past time to ban these single-use plastics and shift towards equitable and healthy solutions for a circular, zero waste world. - Denise Patel, U.S. Program Director, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)   Press contact Brett Nadrich, US Communications Officer, Break Free From Plastic +1 (929) 269-4480, brett@breakfreefromplastic.org  


Re-Exportation of Last Batch of 80 Containers of South Korean Garbage Re-Ignites Call to Ban All Waste Imports

4 August 2020, Quezon City.
After sitting in Northern Mindanao for two years, the final batch of 80 container vans of contaminated plastic waste from South Korea are set to sail home this week amid the continuing COVID-19 outbreak. Deceptively declared as “plastic synthetic flakes,” the contaminated plastic waste materials, which arrived in July and October 2018 at the ports in Villanueva and Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, were found by the authorities to contain unsorted plastic materials, used dextrose tubes, soiled diapers, discarded electronics and household garbage in violation of national laws and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. Following successful bilateral negotiations led by the Bureau of Customs-Region 10, which the EcoWaste Coalition attended, a total of 251 container vans of illegal waste shipments were re-exported to South Korea this year on July 18 (53 containers), March 27 (47 containers), February 16 (50 containers) and January 19 (50 containers), and last year on January 19 (51 containers). The last 80 containers are scheduled for re-shipment on August 4 and 8 bringing the total number of returned containers loaded with garbage to 331.
“The completion of the complicated re-exportation procedures in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis that continues to disrupt and claim people’s lives is a big win in our people's pursuit of environmental justice and the rule of law during these most difficult times,” declared Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.“As the entry of foreign waste will likely persist unless corrective regulations are put in place, we call upon President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to implement his abhorrence against waste dumping through an order banning the importation of all wastes, including plastics intended for so-called recycling,” Lucero emphasized, noting that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has yet to revoke a policy allowing the importation of waste, including “recyclable materials containing hazardous substances.” Dr. Joe DiGangi, Senior Science and Technical Adviser of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), said that “the return of illegally exported South Korean waste demonstrates that regulatory enforcement can and must continue during the pandemic.  Now the challenge for both countries is to ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment so that this sad history is not repeated."DiGangi noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a massive increase in plastic waste that may be hazardous and is not recycled including personal protective equipment (PPE) and other healthcare waste, as well as other single-use plastic bags, food take-out containers and many others.  "Countries should protect themselves from the possibility of adding to their waste crisis by doing two things. In the short term, countries should move quickly to ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment, which prohibits developed countries from exporting hazardous wastes to developing countries . In the mid-term, countries should enact a ban on the importation of all wastes," he said.
Greenpeace Country Director Lea Guerrero likewise pointed out that “the ratification of the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and the enactment of a total ban on waste imports is crucial, especially at a time when the nation grapples with recovery from a global pandemic that has led to the proliferation of medical and household waste.”  “Lack of prohibitions on waste imports and poor enforcement of existing regulations leave the country open to future incidents of illegal waste trade, which often results in recipient countries shouldering the health and environmental costs of foreign waste,” she added. Chinkie Peliño-Golle, Executive Director of the Davao City-based Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS), also echoed the need for countries to support the Basel Convention Ban Amendment, which entered into force last December 5, 2019. “As parties to the Basel Convention, we appeal to the governments of the Philippines and South Korea to ratify the Ban Amendment to prevent environmental injustice and to safeguard public health and the environment from the negative effects of the global trade in hazardous wastes and other wastes,” she said. 
The ratification of the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and the imposition of a national ban on all waste imports, especially electronic, plastic and other hazardous and toxic wastes, are absolutely necessary to actively prevent the recurrence of waste dumping and trafficking in the Philippines, the groups said.


Government to regulate environmentally harmful plastic packaging, tyres, e-waste

Massey University’s Political Ecology Research Centre is delighted by the Government’s decision to declare plastic packaging, tyres, electrical and electronic products (e-waste), agrichemicals and their containers, refrigerants, and farm plastics “priority products”.  The Ministry for the Environment invited Dr Trisia Farrelly to speak at the launch at Remarkit in Porirua yesterday on behalf of the New Zealand Product Stewardship Council.

The declaration means that product stewardship schemes must now be developed for each of the declared priority products.  Product stewardship puts greater responsibility on those who make and use products to reduce the waste and other environmental harm these products may cause throughout their full lifecycle.

This is a historic moment in our waste management legislation.  Until now, not one product has been declared a priority product under the WMA since it was passed in 2008.   This has meant that all product stewardship schemes have been voluntary until now. We know these have not been successful, as NZ has been recognised as one of the most wasteful countries in the world.

Mandatory product stewardship of these priority products will create a level playing field for producers and eliminate opportunities for ‘free riders’ as we have seen in the past.

One of the really exciting things about regulated product stewardship schemes is that, if well-designed, they can incentivise carbon neutral production, bio and eco benign products, alternative delivery systems which can eliminate the need for more materials or packaging altogether, and can dramatically reduce the variety of problematic materials flowing into and through our economy and entering our ecosystems.  The schemes should also ensure products are reusable, repairable, and recyclable.

Well-designed schemes will make it a lot easier for us to meet our national targets and regional and international obligations (e.g. to reduce ozone depleting substances, carbon emissions, and persistent organic pollutants). They will also help us to produce clean, sorted and high value post-consumption materials which will attract currently dwindling international markets.  Essentially, it could vastly improve our reputation as a country that reduces and takes care of its own trash rather than dumping it elsewhere.

Mandatory product stewardship means everyone benefits from making and using products, and ensures the true cost of a product is reflected in the purchase price.  Until now these costs have been predominantly carried by ratepayers, local authorities, and the environment.

Making the declarations is just the first step.  Now what is needed are ambitious schemes that focus at the top of the zero waste hierarchy (prevention, reduction, reuse, redesign, repair).

Future oriented, innovative, ambitious, and successful schemes will be co-designed and will include tangata whenua, local and central Government, industry, NGOs, recyclers and zero waste experts, and community and consumer representatives.

Regardless of the work ahead, the Massey University Political Ecology Research Centre is celebrating.  Aotearoa is one step closer to a zero waste economy.

WordPress Video Lightbox Plugin