Celebrating Zero Waste in Asia Pacific
[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" background_layout="light"] As governments plan for the post-pandemic transition, the need to build more sustainable local economies, strengthen public health, and use resources efficiently is necessary now more than ever. Overwhelming evidence of the throwaway culture has shown that we must reevaluate how we handle our waste management systems, especially during such times of global upheaval where ordinary environmental health efforts cannot address the demands of the current situation. A key to a socially and economically just transition is to embrace a zero waste approach. Rather than band-aid solutions that focus at the end of the pipeline stage, zero waste tackles the very root cause of the plastic crisis by continuously reducing and recovering material discards, and advocating for the phase-out of materials that cannot be recycled without negative consequences for health and the environment. Zero waste cities and communities ensure the livelihood of waste pickers – who can be said to be our last defence against plastic pollution. Zero waste cities decentralise their leadership to communities, thereby promoting intergenerational equity - a sustainable ecological future generations. Zero Waste Month celebrations originated in the Philippines in 2014, partially due to the Presidential Proclamation No. 760, and promoted widely by NGOs and communities that had already adopted this approach to manage their material discards. These celebrations have amassed such momentum as celebrated in nearly all countries in Asia and are garnering traction in other regions of the world. This year, BFFP members in Asia Pacific showcased local and innovative practices that reduce single-use plastics, promote composting of biodegradable wastes and reuse. The event highlighted the region as a haven of real solutions to plastic pollution and mainstream zero waste practices. In January, BFFP members in the Philippines lined up various activities, from the management of pandemic waste and composting of holiday food leftovers to campaigns against the promotion of waste-to-energy by lawmakers. EcoWaste Coalition, Mother Earth Foundation and No Burn Pilipinas have featured local, sustainable actions and waste reduction practices in the Philippines. Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance hosted “Zero Waste Tet” at the beginning of February, an online contest that invited participants to share zero waste practices to increase awareness in promoting a sustainable celebration of the Lunar New Year. The event reached 110,000 people on their Facebook page and 3,000 post engagements. VZWA ended the month with a successful launch of the Vietnam Brand Audit Report. In New Zealand, Refill New Zealand hosted the Refill Challenge supported by the Gisborne District Council. During the event, select businesses served as refill stations, where participants of the challenge could fill up their water bottles for free. RefillNZ aims to promote refilling with water taps to reduce plastic bottle use in Tairawhiti Gisborne, New Zealand. Trash Hero World launched an online challenge called Trash Hero Zero Waste Month to increase awareness of zero waste practices such as using reusable containers, composting food wastes, and buying bulk. The online challenge engaged 32,000 people on Facebook, with more than 24 individuals from Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia sharing photos and stories of their zero waste commitments on social media. Environmental and Social Development Organization (ESDO) hosted a webinar on Zero Waste Community and Sustainable Living where they shared effective practices to establish zero waste communities. In Indonesia, the National Waste Awareness Day was observed on February 21, commemorating the infamous landslide of Leuwih Gajah Landfill in Bandung. Several groups and organisations, including Trash Heroes, conducted a series of clean-ups and brand audits. Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI) discussed the economic potential of zero waste and how zero waste sustains livelihoods. Break Free from Plastic hosted online screenings of Story of Plastic, a documentary revealing the complex problem of plastic pollution. The documentary exposes the oil and gas sponsorship of plastic production, plastic recycling inefficiency and emphasises the need for a systems change. Between January and March, the Global Alliance of Incineration Alternatives (GAIA) hosted the annual International Zero Waste Cities Conference, highlighting that a zero waste approach is possible even in different contexts and cultures through community participation. GAIA also launched the Job Creation Potential of Zero Waste Solutions book, showing that waste management systems with the best environmental outcomes create the most local employment. Zero Waste Month highlights effective zero waste practices and the efforts of BFFP members in the Asia Pacific. The month-long celebration in February shows that zero waste is only possible if communities and sectors work together towards a post-pandemic era free from plastic, centred on equity and environmental sustainability. The information used in this blog was collected from BFFP member organisations in Asia Pacific. If you’re interested to know more, you may send an email to Janssen Calvelo <firstname.lastname@example.org>. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
Eco Groups, Environmental Advocates, and Artists Unite Against Senate’s Waste-to-Energy Incineration Bill
[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text] Manila, Philippines—Various environmental organizations will join hands on March 6, 2021 (Saturday) at 5pm in a live virtual concert titled Artists for Clean Air to call on the country’s top legislators to scrap the Waste-to-Energy Bill and UPHOLD the Clean Air Act. Spearheaded by the EcoWaste Coalition, No Burn Pilipinas, and Break Free From Plastic PH project together with artists, and other advocacy groups, the concert will feature performances from musicians including the calls and demands of community members, barangay leaders, and environmental advocates who are concerned with the legalization of burning waste citing that doing so would violate the country’s key environmental laws. The Philippine 18th Congress is set to enact a legislation that would allow waste incineration as proposed in the Senate Bill 1789 otherwise known as the Waste-to-Energy Act authored by Senator Win Gatchalian saying that this is a more sustainable power generation and waste management system. The groups are hoping that the government will reconsider its stand on the proposal and find other sustainable means to solve the garbage problem such as the implementation of Zero Waste programs by recycling, composting, and reuse to help decrease the volume of trash sent to landfills They are also urging and asking for support from different communities, cities, and local government units to join their petition and to refuse Waste-to-Energy incineration facility proposals in their areas. To watch the live concert on March 6, 2021, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/EWCoalition # # # For more information, please contact: EcoWaste Coalition email@example.com Break Free From Plastic PH Project firstname.lastname@example.org [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text] (Berlin) March 4, 2021 – Top European banks, including Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, are contributing massively to global plastic pollution through their billion-dollar investments and financing of the plastics industry, according to Facing Finance’s Dirty Profits report, launched today. None of the banks investigated in the reporthave a comprehensive plastic policy yet, either for chain of production or the consumer goods sector. The report analyses the plastic-linked investment and financing behaviour of eight major European banks with financial relationships worth more than €146 billion with plastic manufacturing or processing companies. In total since 2017 these banks have raised capital of around €95 billion for companies investigated in the report, to finance their plastic-heavily business models. The banks with the most significant capital investments were HSBC, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Spain’s Santander. Banks also made investments totalling almost 52 billion euros. “Banks contribute to global plastic pollution, especially through their financing, and must finally embed in their policies a financial shift away from non-sustainable plastic-intensive business models,” demands Thomas Küchenmeister, Managing Director of Facing Finance and publisher of the report. “The EU’s Sustainable Business Taxonomy provides guidance here. It classifies a company’s plastic production as sustainable,only if no more than 10 percent of the end products are single-use plastics or if at least 90 percent of the starting material is recycled. If financial institutions would make such a requirement the basis of their financing, a lot would already be gained,” explains Ute Straub, Ethical Investment Officer at Brot für die Welt. The 14 companies investigated in the report, including raw material suppliers ExxonMobil and Shell, and also BASF and Ineos which synthesize the raw materials, contribute a significant share to global plastic pollution. All of these companies do too little to mitigate the environmental damage of this pollution. “We demand ambitious and binding commitments from companies to significantly reduce their plastic consumption. The plastic processing industry must also comply with human rights and environmental due diligence obligations, as also provided in the recent draft of the supply chain law. Companies should also be liable for the damage caused by their plastic production and the use of the products – especially the extreme accumulation of microplastics in ecosystems,” says Dr. Klaus Schilder, an expert on responsible business at Misereor. Eliminating plastic must remain the top priority, according to the report. “The international community must work for a binding treaty under international law to address the plastic crisis. In addition to a binding plastic pollution reduction target, the use of non-recyclable or difficult-to-recycle single-use plastic items and toxic additives should be restricted,” demands Vanessa Müller, Facing Finance project coordinator of the Dirty Profits Report. The report calls for future incentives to avoid plastic, the introduction of reusable systems, and the capability of banks to financially support a circular economy and make it easier for consumers to consume packaging-free and sustainably. Globally, single-use plastics total half of all plastics ever produced. Over almost 70 years approximately 8.3 billion tons of plastic has been produced, generating 6.3 billion tons of waste, of which only 9 percent was recycled and 12 percent incinerated. Almost 80 percent of plastic waste ends up in landfills in the open countryside. The Dirty Profits report is funded by Brot für die Welt, Misereor, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the KindernothilfeFoundation and the Swedish Development Agency Sida. Facing Finance is a non-profit and non-governmental association based in Berlin. It aims for a responsible and sustainable management of financial resources. Facing Finance calls on investors, financial service providers, banks and insurance customers to avoid investing in companies that violate human rights and environmental protection or companies that profit from corruption and the production of weapons that violate international law. The “Dirty Profits” report is published annually on a different focus topic. More information can be found online: www.facing-finance.org The report is available here in pdf format. Statements from the companies and banks studied can be found here. CONTACTS Thomas Küchenmeister Managing director Facing Finance e.V. +49 (0)175 4964 082 email@example.com Renate Vacker Press spokesperson Brot für die Welt Telefon + 49 (0)30 65211 1833 firstname.lastname@example.org [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
Italian Company Caught Illegally Dumping Plastic and other Municipal Waste in Tunisia
Réseau Tunisie Verte - Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) - Basel Action Network (BAN) - Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) - European Environmental Bureau (EEB) - Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) - Greenpeace MENA - Rethink Plastic alliance (RPa)Brussels, March 3, 2021. International, European, Italian and Tunisian environmental groups have joined in demanding the immediate return of 282 containers full of mixed municipal waste that were illegally exported from Italy’s Campania region to the Port of Sousse in Tunisia between May and July 2020. According to the environmental organizations, the exports violated European Union law, Tunisian law as well as international waste trade treaties -- the Basel Convention, the Bamako Convention and the Izmir Protocol of the Barcelona Convention. A short report shows how weaknesses in EU regulations may have contributed to this waste being exported for disposal under the cover of recycling. Under the terms of international and EU laws, Italy should have returned the shipments many months ago. Bales of Italian waste exported to Tunisia by Sviluppo Risorse Ambientali photographed during a visit by Tunisian legislators and journalists to the port of Sousse in December 2020 (Credits: Hamdi Chebaane). Indeed, the Italian Administrative Region of Campania has already demanded that the exporting company Sviluppo Risorse Ambientali (SRA) return the waste at their own cost. SRA reportedly appealed this request to an administrative court in Naples and the court ruled it has no jurisdiction to counter the regional demand. Regardless, the responsibility to enforce the international rules lies ultimately with the Italian national government. "We fail to understand why Italy has not moved decisively to resolve this case and have these unwanted wastes returned,” said Ms. Semia Gharbi of Réseau Tunisie Verte, in Tunis. “We cannot wait indefinitely. We, therefore, call upon the European Commission to get involved and take the necessary actions to ensure that Italy fulfills its clear legal obligations. Tunisia is not Europe’s dumping ground!” Tunisia is a Party to the Bamako Convention and the Izmir Protocol of the Barcelona Convention. Both of these agreements make it illegal for Tunisia to import wastes collected from households. At the same time, Italy’s obligations under the Basel Convention and the European Waste Shipment Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006) require them to not approve of any exports to countries that have banned the import of such wastes. Therefore, the shipments are considered as illegal traffic under the Basel Convention and the EU Waste Shipment Regulation that implements that treaty in the European Union. Illegal traffic under these rules is a criminal act. Shipments that are illegal due to the fault of the exporter, as is the case in this instance, must be taken back by the exporting state within 30 days from the time the exporting state was made aware of the illegal shipment, or otherwise disposed of in an environmentally sound manner under the direction of the exporting country. “Italy was made aware of the illegal shipment by the Tunisian government on 9 December 2020,” said Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network (BAN). “They are therefore nearly two months overdue in acting as required by law. This is unacceptable. We call upon the European Commission to take the necessary action to ensure compliance.” “Italy ought to take responsibility for preventing and managing its own municipal waste, rather than exporting its problems to Tunisia”, said Sirine Rached of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). “Every additional day of delayed repatriation adds to this injustice”. “This type of trade is immoral and environmentally destructive; it is not acceptable to import waste from Italy to Tunisia for landfilling. Landfilling of waste can generate toxic leaching and contribute to the degradation of human health and the environment," added Mohammed Tazrout, campaigner for Greenpeace Middle-East and North Africa. “This is another striking example of a weakness in European legislation and enforcement causing ethical and environmental harm to others,” said Pierre Condamine, waste policy officer at Zero Waste Europe. “The first clear and immediate step is for Italy to repatriate the shipment. The following step should be to fix and properly enforce EU legislation to avoid doing any more harm.” END Press contacts: Jim Puckett, Executive Director Basel Action Network email: email@example.com phone: +1 (206) 652-5555 Semia Gharbi Réseau Tunisie Verte email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: +216 98 997 350 Ana Oliveira Zero Waste Europe email: email@example.com phone: +32 (0) 485 986 111
New report reveals plastic polluters’ attempt to derail ambitious implementation of EU circular economy targets in Spain
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◾ The investigation "More Trash, More Cash: who is really behind the plastic crisis in Spain" exposes the plastics industry's continuous attempts to undermine progressive legislation to address plastic pollution in Spain.
◾ FMCGs and retailers are endorsing a voluntary initiative proposed by Ecoembes, Reciclos – a distraction tactic aimed at derailing the implementation of a Deposit Return System in Spain and hence undermining the country's ability to meet EU targets.
◾ The report also calculates the cost of littering: Spanish taxpayers pay up to €744 million per year just to clean litter generated by single-use packaging. A significant part of this – up to 529 million EUR/year – is the cost of cleaning up beverage containers.
Spain is at a key decision moment on how it will address the plastics crisis. This year it is expected that the Waste Law and the Royal Containers Decree will be published through which the Spanish government intends to implement the EU waste legislation. As one of the biggest plastic users, Spain is also the second biggest polluter of the Mediterranean Sea and has failed to meet 2020 EU targets on recycling.
In this context, the investigation 'More Trash, More Cash: who is really behind the plastic crisis in Spain' - published by the Dutch foundation Changing Markets with the support of the Spanish Alianza Residuo Cero and the Break Free From Plastic movement - reveals how the plastic polluters have successfully prevented any attempts to reform the Spanish waste management system for years and are now once again gearing up to derail meaningful implementation of new EU targets, adopted in the Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive.
The latest attempt to derail real solutions to the plastic crisis is once again spearheaded by the producer responsibility organisation Ecoembes, which unites the biggest consumer goods companies, like Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nestlé, and Danone, and the biggest supermarkets, like Mercadona, Alcampo, Carrefour and Lidl. The industry has rallied behind Reciclos, a voluntary return and reward system that the report defines as a false solution that has already been rejected in other countries. The Changing Markets investigation details significant shortcomings in this industry-supported project: it does not incentivise consumers to return more than 10 used containers a week, it excludes various groups (youth, people who do not own a smartphone, etc.), and it is potentially open to fraud. In addition, it is evident that Ecoembes does not have a plan for a significant roll-out of this system to achieve meaningful volumes of plastic bottles return, which makes it impossible for the industry to meet the separate collection target of 90%, as stipulated by EU SUP. In fact, the Balearic Islands’ and Valencia’s governments have already indicated that real solutions lie elsewhere.
"Reciclos is the industry's latest desperate attempt to delay real solutions in Spain such as the introduction of a Deposit Return System and reuse policies,” said Ximena Banegas, Campaigns Adviser from the Changing Markets Foundation. “Without a doubt, Reciclos is one of the worst examples of greenwashing, and the Spanish government must not fall for this trick. By betting on real prevention and reuse policies, the government should focus on real solutions that reduce the cost of plastic pollution, create new jobs and better opportunities for local businesses".
This research shows that Ecoembes is at the forefront of defending the industry's interests due to its obsolete business model. Since 90% of its income is generated by licencing Green Dot fees based on the weight of packaging producers put on the market, its business model was dubbed "more trash, more cash", as the more single-use containers are placed in the market, the higher its income.
The new report also reveals double standards of large beverage producers (Coca-Cola, Danone, Unilever and Nestlé), who on the one hand claim to support "a well-designed Deposit Return System" through their associations at the European level, but on the other hand, hide behind Ecoembes and its ability to lobby the Spanish government against progressive legislation and to promote false solutions, like Reciclos. The investigation reveals that Coca-Cola, Danone, Unilever, Nestlé, Lidl and Carrefour support the return of cans, bottles and Tetra-Paks to the store in some countries, while not expressing their support for the introduction of DRS in Spain.
"Unfortunately, the hypocrisy of some of the biggest plastic polluters, who use a series of tactics to derail progressive legislation, has no limit,” continued Banegas “While Coca-Cola, Danone, Nestlé and others now claim to be supporting deposit return systems in Europe, they are still allowing Ecoembes to continue with its dirty tricks in Spain. Given that new European targets oblige producers to introduce recycled content, meet separate collection targets and pay the costs of litter clean-ups, this lack of support for good legislation is really a short-sighted strategy that will cost them a lot of money in the long term."
The report also features calculations from UK consultancy Eunomia Research and Consulting showing the true cost of cleaning packaging litter. Only cleaning-up packaging litter on streets and coastal areas costs Spanish municipalities and therefore taxpayers up to €744 million every year. And a crucial part of these costs, up to €529 million, is associated with beverage packaging, such as bottles, cans and Tetra-Paks, which could be reduced by up to 80% if the drinks were sold with a deposit.
“DRS is crucial to enable reuse and achieve high performance collection and recycling. It’s already implemented in more than 40 jurisdictions around the world and has recently been announced in many EU countries, including Portugal,” says Delphine Lévi Alvarès, European Coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement. “The tide is shifting, and the Spanish government must take swift and ambitious measures to implement Deposit Return Systems and reuse measures to not lag behind.”
The Changing Markets report can be downloaded on this link: https://changingmarkets.org/portfolio/talking-trash/
Campaigns Adviser Changing Markets Foundation
+44 (0) 7508 022310
Members in the Spotlight: Surfrider Foundation Europe
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Why is plastic pollution an important issue for your organisation? What’s the story?
Surfrider Foundation Europe started in 1996 its first Ocean Initiatives programme. The objective is to raise awareness about waste and litter impacting the Ocean and our coasts. The Ocean initiative programme which still exists today is not about collecting waste for the sake of it, but to raise awareness, initiate change and very importantly to collect data so we can then stop the problem at its source. This data is used as evidence to urge policy makers to take or adapt measures against pollution. Every year, thanks to the Ocean Initiatives, Surfrider Europe produces its annual environmental report, which gives a thorough analysis of the state of Europe’s marine litter issue. And every year, the results leave no doubt: plastics account for more than 80% of the litter we find. ⅓ of our plastic production ends up in our nature, in our Ocean, seas, rivers and lakes and along our coasts. This would represent between five and 13 million tonnes of plastic estimated to end up in the ocean every year. In certain areas of the globe, plastic represents up to 95% of the total marine debris. Most of the plastic pollution is under the surface and threatens around 700 marine species. Plastic pollution of our ocean is also increasingly coming from microplastic primary sources.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_padding="0px|0px|0px|0px" _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"]
This is the reason why our Break The Plastic Wave campaign focuses on stopping pollution coming from both microplastics and macroplastics. All these dramatic facts about plastic pollution and its impacts on ocean health and on our health explain why 30 years ago, from the very start, Surfrider Europe was created to stop ocean pollution, with, since then, specific campaigns and programmes developed to specifically fight plastic pollution.[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"]Tell us more about your ongoing campaigns and activities. Surfrider Europe has many activities in the making or about to be finalised, as part of its Break the Plastic Wave Campaign: from a social media campaign calling for stronger EU action to restrict microplastics added to our products in Europe, or an exhibition travelling in several EU countries on the impacts and sources of microplastics. Within the Break The Plastic Wave campaign, one of our main focuses for 2021 will be to launch a new campaign to mobilize citizens in Europe on the monitoring of the implementation of the SUP directive and call both companies and Member States for compliance. We want to ask EU citizens to help us spot forbidden SUP in their supermarket or their favourite restaurant and share them on social media. It’s going to be a huge campaign and we’re super excited to present it very soon to other members of the BFFP Europe when ready. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"]When did your organisation become a core member of BFFP? Surfrider Europe became a core member of BFFP at the very start, together with our partners from Surfrider International network when the movement was still called “Plastic alignment process”. Being part of the BFFP movement means a lot for our organisation and allows us to amplify our impacts over the world in a more coordinated manner. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_padding="27px|0px|0px|0px" custom_margin="|||" _builder_version="3.0.98" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat" module_alignment="center" custom_margin_last_edited="on|desktop" custom_margin_phone="|||" padding_2_last_edited="on|desktop" padding_2_phone="|||"][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_image src="https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/evian-bottle-min.jpg" align="center" _builder_version="3.0.98" custom_margin="|||"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="3.0.47" padding_phone="|||" padding_last_edited="on|desktop" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat" custom_margin="|||"]
What is the most ridiculous plastic product or packaging that you have seen?|
Examples are many unfortunately but one which particularly shocked us was the Drop of Water from Evian which was actually “the drop of water that broke the camel's back”. In 2019, Evian put on the market a 20 cl water plastic bottle, the smallest format ever. This new bottle was closed with a non-repositionable plastic cover. 155,000 signatures were collected asking Evian to remove this nonsense from their production line, which the company ended up doing.
What do you find shocking in the plastic waste landscape that you think everybody should know about?
Something shocking is certainly the growing emergence of false solutions, quick fixes and fake claims to exploit andcapitalise on citizens’ concerns about plastic consumption and plastic pollution, which mislead consumers and divert them away from real solutions. It is the reason why Surfrider Europe has decided to focus part of its Plastic campaigns to[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_padding="0px|0px|0px|0px" _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"]
the fight against what we have called “plastic fake-outs”. In 2020, Surfrider Europe issued three infographics to denounce recycling alone, “bioplastics” and cleaning up the ocean as solutions to the plastic crisis. We’re planning on issuing more materials on this topic as we see more and more ramping greenwashing as Europeans increasingly seek to buy environmentally sound products and more scientific studies on the state of our ocean make headlines.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
Environment Group calls on Senate to uphold environmental laws amid EDSA anniversary
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Manila, Philippines—The pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition calls on the country’s top legislators to safeguard public health and the environment by keeping intact the Clean Air and Solid Waste Management laws as the Philippines marks the 35th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.
“We are honoring the Filipino people whose bravery and dedication toppled the oppressive leadership of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Sr.. After 35 years of EDSA revolution, our communities and environment are again threatened by the unjust political and social structures that favor transnational corporations and a few individuals,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition.
From the martial law period until now, the Philippines still counts as one of the deadliest countries in Asia for land and environmental defenders especially when it comes to fighting for the rights of nature against corporations who pollute the environment.
According to Lucero, one of the recent injustices against nature was the push by the House of Representatives in promoting incineration under the guise of waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities, and the vicious attempt to repeal specific provisions in the Clean Air Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and other relevant laws.
Last year, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the declaration of a climate emergency in the country, several environment groups, including the EcoWaste Coalition, made the urgent call for policies in mitigating the waste and climate crisis and demanded the government to disallow the funding of dirty energy projects by corporations that greatly contribute to environmental crises and disasters which endanger the health of citizens due to the release of poisonous chemicals such as dioxins and furans.
“This year, as the country continues to battle COVID-19, it is also of utmost importance to use environmentally safe measures in dealing with waste to protect public health and the environment which is obviously not through waste-to-energy incineration,” added Lucero.
“Moreover as we commemorate the EDSA Revolution, we also call on the members of the Senate to set a high moral leadership and put into action the virtues of democracy and love for our country. We need to stop sacrificing our communities and it will start by scrapping the Waste-to-Energy Bill,” further added Lucero.
According to a factsheet by GAIA Asia Pacific, while marketed in the guise of advancing renewable energy, WTE incineration is not an environmentally sustainable form of energy source and waste management solution. It is a known fact that when burning of waste happens, toxic substances are released which undeniably compromise the health and safety of individuals, the factsheet said.
“It is really very important in calling on the government to scrap this proposal on waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration and to show its sincerity for the sake of the health and well-being of the people. Our lawmakers should instead uphold our existing environmental laws and approve the green laws pending in the 18th Congress, including the passage of the National Single-Use Plastics Ban as well as ordinances that would hold culprits accountable of polluting practices,” Lucero ended.
Greenpeace warns Clean Air Act under threat; calls on Senate to uphold law protecting Filipinos’ health
[et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.47" custom_padding="0px|0px|54px|0px" da_is_popup="off" da_exit_intent="off" da_has_close="on" da_alt_close="off" da_dark_close="off" da_not_modal="on" da_is_singular="off" da_with_loader="off" da_has_shadow="on" da_disable_devices="off|off|off"][et_pb_row custom_padding="0px|0px|27px|0px" _builder_version="3.0.98" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font="||||||||" text_font_size="13px" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"]Waste burning in the Philippines. © Daniel Müller / Greenpeace [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"]QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Greenpeace today warned that Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act of 1999—the country’s foremost law to protect Filipinos from the adverse effects of air pollution—is under threat. The environmental group is calling on Senators to defend the health of Filipinos and uphold one of the country’s most important environmental laws. In November 2020, the House of Representatives hastily passed House Bill No. 7829, which will allow waste incinerators to operate by repealing critical provisions of the Clean Air Act as well as RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. The Senate version of HB 7829, Senate Bill 1789 is currently pending second reading  “Repealing provisions in our laws that protect people’s health is an example of perverted lawmaking—particularly at a time when our country is struggling with the COVID pandemic,” said Greenpeace campaigner Marian Ledesma. “Our Senators must put to right their approach on sustainability and ensure that the well-being of waste-infested communities is not based on quick-fixes and false solutions.” Section 20 of the Clean Air Act prohibits waste incineration because of its toxic and poisonous emissions. Scientific studies show that incinerators are major sources of cancer-causing dioxins and furans, which pose serious health risks even in low concentrations . Studies also show a significant increase in the risk of dying from cancer in areas near incinerators . Incinerators are also known to emit mercury, a powerful neurotoxin that is now regulated internationally through the Minamata Convention, as well as particulate matter, including PM 2.5, which is not adequately monitored in the Philippines. A 2020 Greenpeace report  in air pollution showed that an estimated 27,000 Filipinos already die from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, such as in coal plants, as well as from transport pollution. Allowing waste-to-energy (WTE) incinerators to operate will add to the harm and deaths air pollution brings to people. Proponents of waste incineration claim that WTE incinerator facilities are environmentally sustainable and can contribute to energy security. However, Greenpeace maintains that WTE incinerators put Filipino communities at a disadvantage because they emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases that drive the climate crisis. Experiences from Europe show that the amount of energy generated by these facilities are negligible , while the costs to construct and operate the plants are excessive . Greenpeace said that the government must prioritize ecological and safe solutions to manage waste and produce electricity, which are also cost-effective, such as investing in energy grids powered by renewable technologies, shifting to zero-waste systems in cities and municipalities, and through strict enforcement of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. “It’s a travesty of lawmaking that our congress is considering bills that weaken safeguards to protect public and community health. We should remember that the country is in its worst economic downturn in decades because of a health problem,” Ledesma said. “We urge our Senators to stand for what is right and junk the bill. Protecting people’s health and promoting ecological solutions to waste and resource management must be the direction of our country’s green recovery post-COVID, towards a better normal.” Media contact: Angeli Cantillana Communications Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines firstname.lastname@example.org | +63 998 595 9733 or +63 995 419 1496[/et_pb_text][et_pb_button button_url="https://www.bataris.org.ph/petitions/scrap-waste-to-energy-bill" url_new_window="on" button_text="Sign the Petition calling on Members of the Philippines 18th Congress to scrap the harmful Waste-to-Energy" _builder_version="3.0.98" custom_button="on" button_font="||||||||" button_text_color="#ffffff" button_use_icon="off" button_text_color_hover="#ffffff" button_bg_color_hover="#3a8c9e" button_alignment="center"][/et_pb_button][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]