26 June 2008

Green Groups Back Proposed Summit to Address Metro Garbage Woes

Quezon City. Environmental groups welcomed the proposal by Sen. Pia Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources and Co-Chairperson of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, for a summit that will map out plans to reduce Metro Manila’s huge garbage output of 7,417 tons per day and cut landfill dependency.

In a text and phone survey conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition, concerned groups expressed support for a summit that will hopefully unite Metro Manila mayors, the Metro Manila Development Authority, the industry, civil society organizations and the citizenry in enforcing waste prevention and reduction measures to solve the perennial garbage woes in the national capital region.

Among those who saw the relevance of a summit in the face of the recurrent garbage disposal crisis are the Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, Earth Renewal Project, Environmental Broadcast Circle, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm, Institute for the Development of Educational and Ecological Alternatives, Miriam PEACE, Miss Earth Foundation, Mother Earth Foundation, November 17 Movement, Sagip Pasig Movement, Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan, Soljuspax and Zero Waste Philippines.

“The summit should serve as a venue that will affirm and fast track ecological and sustainable strategies for the progressive reduction to zero of the volume of garbage being dumped and burned. We would like to see the summit agreeing on the urgent need to shift the money being spent for costly waste disposal to funding Zero Waste solutions, including the establishment of community ecology centers in all barangays,” Rei Panaligan of the EcoWaste Coalition said, adding that “a good number of existing models and best practices in different local communities prove that we can win the war over garbage without dumps and incinerators.”

“The summit should ensure that vital enforcement mechanisms are on board and in place. It must be well-planned so that it will yield concrete action plans that will support and strengthen alternatives to wasting, dumping and burning. Otherwise, it will just be another exercise in lip service and a waste of public funds,” many of the green groups pointed out.

The EcoWaste Coalition hopes that the summit can lead to the establishment of more ecology centers or MRFs in the metropolis to energize community recycling at the grassroots level. Data obtained from the MMDA show that only 435 barangays out of 1,695 barangays have MRFs.

The Coalition further hopes that the summit can address the low public awareness regarding Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. A Greenpeace-commissioned Social Weather Survey released in January 2008 revealed that 50% of the respondents were not aware of environmental laws passed to help prevent pollution in the country, while only 27% were aware of R.A. 9003 -- an indicator of how poorly the law is enforced.

Other potential action points that the proposed summit can endorse and act upon, according to the green groups, include the enforcement of waste segregation at source, the imposition of a ban on landfilling of compostable and recyclable materials, the integration of waste pickers in ecological waste management, the introduction of volume-based fees for trash collection, the regulation of single-use plastic products and packaging materials, and the adoption of producer responsibility for their products and packaging throughout their life cycle.

According to a letter received by the EcoWaste Coalition from the MMDA in March 2008, all of Metro Manila’s 17 local government units (LGUs) have constituted their solid waste management (SWM) boards. Out of 1,695 barangays in the metropolis, 1,380 or 81.42% have organized their barangay SWM committees.

However, the same letter revealed that only 806 barangays or 47.55% are implementing segregation at source and segregated waste collection, resulting in a dismally low waste diversion rate of only 25.69% with the recovery of recyclables and the composting of organics.


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

24 June 2008

Stop Cooking the Planet

Quezon City. Campaigners for public health, environmental justice and climate protection today marked the 9th year of the Clean Air Act by calling for the strict enforcement of the ban on garbage incineration as well as the ban on open dumping.

Gathered in front of a huge banner that says “Uphold the Ban: Dump Not, Burn Not,” EcoWaste Coalition members, together with Ms. Earth-Water 2006 Cathy Untalan, staged a tableau simulating the “cooking of the planet” to draw public awareness and action versus preventable sources of air pollutants such as waste dumps and incinerators.

Dumps and incinerators, the waste and pollution watchdog explained, contribute to climate change by emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, trapping the heat and causing global temperature to rise.

To demonstrate the deleterious effects of wasting to the climate, the EcoWaste Coalition members put a huge globe made of papier mache on top of a big earthen pot to suggest the “cooking of the planet” as a result of polluting human activities such as garbage dumping and burning.

“Through our action today, we are telling the government to keep its promise of protecting the public health from dump and incinerator pollutants that can put our people, water, food, environment and climate in grave danger, while depriving the economy of valuable resources that can be reused, repaired, recycled or composted,” Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives said.

“We all know that climate change is real and that wasting contributes to the warming cycle. To address this most serious threat to the planet, we can take action in our own home, workplace and community by avoiding wasteful consumption, recycling our discards, saving energy and living sustainably,” Cathy Untalan, Executive Director of Miss Earth Foundation, said.

Today’s event drew the participation of the following groups: Buklod Tao, Cavite Green Coalition, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, Earth Renewal Project, Earth UST, GAIA, Health Care Without Harm, Krusada sa Kalikasan, Miss Earth Foundation, Mother Earth Foundation, November 17 Movement, Sagip Pasig Movement, Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan and Zero Waste Philippines.

Even with the skyrocketing oil prices, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed that it does not make any sense to weaken or lift the ban on incineration for the so-called purpose of generating energy from waste.

Incinerators, the green group pointed out, waste more energy by turning reusable, recyclable and compostable materials into toxic ash and smoke. Waste prevention, reduction, recycling, composting and other elements of Zero Waste conserve more energy by hugely decreasing the need for virgin raw materials.

According to the EcoWaste Coalition, Zero Waste is climate-friendly for it reduces the releases of carbon dioxide from the use of fossil fuel energy associated with the extraction, processing and transportation of raw materials and their manufacturing into goods. It minimizes the cutting of trees and the clearing of mountains, while it increases the carbon storage in soils with the composting of biodegradable discards and the application of the byproduct compost into the soil.

The Clean Air Act (Republic Act 8749), signed by then President Joseph Estrada on 23 June 1999, is a comprehensive legislation providing for a national air pollution management to protect the right of every person to breathe clean air. The Clean Air Act, among other measures, prohibits the incineration of municipal, medical and industrial wastes that emits toxic and poisonous fumes.

The following year, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act 9003) was enacted, reinforcing the ban on incineration with the explicit exclusion of incineration as among the best environmental practices in solid waste management. R.A. 9003 further bans the open dumping and open burning of discards.

The EcoWaste Coalition considers the ban on incineration ban now enshrined in two major environmental laws as a vital preventive policy that has, among others, avoided valuable resources from being turned into toxic ash and smoke, reduced the discharge of harmful byproducts from combustion processes, and averted the squander of public funds for expensive,
imported and superfluous materials destruction technology.

Additional information: 1. The report “Stop Trashing the Climate” that was released on June 5, 2008 indicates that “a zero waste approach is one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective strategies we can use to protect the climate and the environment.” Please click to read the full report, executive summary and key findings of this report published by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Eco-Cycle and GAIA:
http://www.stoptrashingtheclimate.com/

2. The same report shows that 1) “landfills are the largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions in the U.S.” and 2) “incinerators emit more CO2 per megawatt-hour than coal-fired, natural-gas-fired, or oil-fired power plants.”

3. Percentage of energy saved by using recycled instead of raw materials to manufacture: 40% for glass, 40% newspaper, 60% steel, 70% plastics and 95% aluminum. (Source: Natural Resources Defense Council, Aluminum Association, both of US)

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

18 June 2008

Plastic Bag Levy to Sway Consumers to Opt for Reusable Bags

Quezon City. A waste and pollution watchdog expressed support for a bold legislative measure that will hopefully change consumer behavior and lead to reduced consumption and disposal of plastic bags.

House Bill 4134 filed by Albay representative Al Francis Bichara, if enacted, will make free plastic bags a thing of the past with the imposition of an environmental levy of P2.50 per plastic bag issued by retail outlets.

“While we find P2.50 disproportionate to the environmental and climate impacts of plastic bags, we welcome the proposed levy as this will regulate the unrestrained use of plastic bags and encourage consumers to switch to reusable bags and containers,” Anne Larracas of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force on Plastics said

The plastic bag levies, as proposed by HB 4134, will accrue to the “Environmental Protection Support Fund” that will, among others, finance pollution prevention and reduction projects.

“The revenues from the collected levies on plastic bags, we hope, will be used to support ecological solutions to the waste and climate crisis, particularly in setting up community-oriented ecology centers or materials recovery facilities in place of polluting dumpsites and landfills,” Larracas added.

The EcoWaste Coalition referred to the success of Ireland in dramatically reducing plastic bag pollution with the introduction of the plastic bag levy in March 2002.

Citing information obtained from the website of Ireland’s Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the EcoWaste Coalition reported that plastic bag per capita usage in the country dropped by over 90% from 328 bags to 21 when the levy took effect. Before the levy commenced, retail shops gave out more than 1.2 billion plastic bags free of charge to consumers or 328 bags per person per year.

The latest available data from the National Litter Monitoring Report of Ireland indicate that plastic litter, which used to account 5% of litter, dropped to only 0.22% (a decrease of over 95%) when the levy when into operation.

Revenues to date amount to over 80 million Euros, or a whopping 5.5 billion pesos, from the 15 cents (approximately 10 pesos) levy per plastic bag. The levy was increased to 22 cents (about 15 pesos) in July 2007.

The plastic bag levies contribute to the Environment Fund created under the Waste Management Act of Ireland, which is then used to support environment-friendly initiatives, including the implementation of waste prevention, reduction and recovery schemes, the enforcement of waste regulations, the prevention of litter and the promotion of environmental
awareness among the citizenry.

A survey on Irish attitudes and actions on the environment in 2003 further shows that 90% of shoppers used reusable or long life bags, 6% cardboard boxes, 4% plastic bags and 1% used other means to carry goods bought, indicating the law’s success in influencing consumer behavior.

“We know how slow the legislative process is and how vested interests can block progressive legislation. We hope that HB 4134 will be duly debated by the 14th Congress and even made bolder and stronger, with inputs from the civil society and other stakeholders, to effectively curb plastic bag pollution,” the EcoWaste Coalition stated.

A discards survey by the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace Southeast Asia in 2006 showed that 76% of the garbage floating in Manila Bay were mostly synthetic plastic materials, with plastic bags comprising 51%, sachets and junk food wrappers 19%, Styrofoams 5% and hard plastics 1%. The rest were rubber 10% and biodegradable discards 13%.

For now, the EcoWaste Coalition urges consumers to say no to plastic bags and switch to reusable bayong and other reusable bags for the sake of the environment that has long been suffocating from plastic litter.


For more information about the Irish plastic bag levy, please log on to:
http://www.environ.ie/en/Environment/Waste/PlasticBags/
http://www.environ.ie/en/Environment/Waste/PlasticBags/FAQs/


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

16 June 2008

Lawmakers Cautioned on Legalizing Use of Incinerators

Quezon City. The reported talk among some lawmakers to lift the incineration ban under the Clean Air Act in light of the country’s growing energy requirements was met with strong disapproval from public health, environmental justice and climate action groups.

“Our lawmakers should realize that waste to energy incinerators actually result in a waste of energy and resources. We would be regressing in our attempts to improve the recovery of finite resources and curb global warming if these misinformed initiatives push through,” Von Hernandez of Greenpeace Southeast Asia said.

A fact sheet prepared by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) on incineration, energy and climate explains that incinerators waste huge amounts of energy, while releasing high levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Incinerators are deemed “energy wasters,” capturing small amounts of energy by destroying large quantities of recyclable materials. Preventing, reducing, recycling and composting discards, on the other hand, are regarded as “energy savers,” conserving energy by significantly reducing the need for virgin raw materials. The percentage of energy saved, for instance, by using recycled instead of raw resources to manufacture is 40% for glass, 40% newspaper, 60% steel, 70% plastics, and 95% aluminum.

The new report “Stop Trashing the Climate,” which was released on World Environment Day, reveals that incinerators emit more carbon dioxide per megawatt hour than coal-fired, natural gas-fired and oil-fired power plants, further confirming that incinerators are not climate-friendly.

“Lifting the prohibition on garbage incineration will deal a death blow to ecological solid waste management, terminate the resource cycle and lead to further degradation of the environment,” warned Ester Perez de Tagle, founder of the Concerned Citizens Against Pollution and member of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force on Open Burning and Incineration.

The EcoWaste Coalition sees the incineration ban under the Clean Air Act of 1999, which was later reaffirmed in the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, as an essential policy that has, among others, prevented valuable materials from being turned into toxic ash, reduced the discharge of harmful byproducts from combustion processes, and averted the squander of public money for costly, imported and superfluous materials destruction technology.

In the face of skyrocketing oil prices and climate change, the legislature, instead of thinking of lifting the incineration ban, should hasten the passage of the renewable energy bill now pending at the Senate, the EcoWaste Coalition stated. This will, once enacted, lay down the development framework for the country’s massive renewable energy potential estimated at 200,000 megawatts from a combination of wind, solar and other energy sources.

“We appeal to every member of the House of Representatives and the Senate to uphold the spirit and intent of the incineration ban under the Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, support renewable energy sources to meet the country’s power needs, and back Zero Waste as a vehicle for fostering sustainable enterprises, generating green jobs, cleaning up the environment and protecting the climate,” Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition and GAIA said.

- end -

Link to the two-page fact sheet “Incinerators vs Zero Waste: Energy and the Climate”:
http://www.zerowarming.org/downloads/Incinerators%20vs%20Zero%20Waste:%20Energy%20and%20the%20Climate.pdf


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

13 June 2008

EcoWaste Coalition Warns against Toxic Air Pollutants from PVC Shower Curtains

Quezon City. Health and environmental advocates expressed concern over the presence of more than 100 chemicals that are released into the air from certain types of shower curtains commonly used in homes, gyms, hospitals, hotels and resorts.

Members of the waste and pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition, in a briefing held to launch the new report "Volatile Vinyl: The New Shower Curtain's Chemical Smell,” revealed that shower curtains made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) contain many harmful chemicals. Published by the US-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), the report was based on tests conducted on PVC shower curtains bought from popular US retail shops and used as laboratory samples.

The PVC shower curtains tested positive for chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phthalates and organotins, which are known to cause developmental damage as well as damage to the liver and central nervous, respiratory, and reproductive systems. Some of these chemicals can cause cancer in animals, while some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. These chemicals make up that "new shower curtain smell" or that strong chemical odor unique to PVC shower curtains.

"The CHEJ report provides laboratory evidence of toxic air contamination from PVC shower curtains," Sonia Mendoza of the EcoWaste Coalition and Mother Earth Foundation said, adding that "the report should stir the health, environmental and trade departments as well as the House of Representatives and the Senate to regulate consumer products that contribute to indoor air pollution and cause harm to health and the environment."

Indoor air pollution, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed, is a public health concern that requires preventive and precautionary actions to protect Filipino families, especially the children, from toxic pollutants. The World Health Organization, US Environmental Protection Authority, American Lung Association and numerous other public health and environmental agencies and organizations consider indoor air pollution as a major risk to human health.

Dr. David O. Carpenter of the Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany, State University of New York, explained that "the brain is a major target for VOCs, causing everything from headache and loss of concentration to learning disabilities in children whose mothers were exposed before their birth, as shown in a recent Canadian study. Since there are safe alternatives to vinyl shower curtains, such exposures should always be avoided."

The report on the PVC shower curtain’s chemical smell, the EcoWaste Coalition said, should push the National Solid Waste Management Commission, Department of Trade and Industry and other agencies to enforce the phase out of non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging materials in the market as directed by Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The "Volatile Vinyl" report recommends steps that the governments, manufacturers, retailers and consumers can do to safeguard public health and the environment such as by implementing an immediate phase-out of PVC in shower curtains, recalling PVC shower curtains from store shelves, labeling of material content of shower curtains, rejecting products that are not properly labeled, and choosing PVC-free alternatives.

The “Volatile Vinyl” report, co-authored by Stephen Lester, Michael Schade and Caitlin Weigand of CHEJ, was released globally on 12 June 2008 in 17 states in the U.S. and in Bulgaria, Canada, India, Lebanon, Philippines, South Africa and United Kingdom.

Its launch in the Philippines was initiated by the Task Force Plastics of the EcoWaste Coalition, which includes the Earth U.S.T., Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm, Kaalagad Katipunang Kristiyano and the Mother Earth Foundation.

The “Volatile Vinyl” report is available for free download at www.chej.org/showercurtainreport.


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

08 June 2008

Protect the Ocean from Trash and Pollution

Quezon City. A waste and pollution watchdog called for solidarity and action to protect the ocean from turning into a “floating landfill” as the World Ocean Day is observed today around the globe.

“The ocean and other water bodies are turning into pollution hotspots where huge amounts of non-biodegradable trash, particularly plastics, are dumped daily and thus creating floating landfills. Fertilizer and pesticide runoffs from farms as well as untreated effluents from residential, commercial and industrial establishments are also damaging and killing the marine ecosystems,” Ben Galindo of the Sagip Pasig Movement and the EcoWaste Coalition said.

“We can no longer put too small a price on the world’s ocean. As its common beneficiaries, we need to protect the ocean from trash and pollution and other harmful activities,” he added.

According to the EcoWaste Coalition, the ocean is home to diverse creatures and ecosystems that provide humans not only with food, but also with vital ingredients for medicines and other products. The ocean helps in regulating the climate as well as in spawning storms that bring fresh water needed by land-dwelling plants and animals. The ocean is also important for moving materials between continents and for creating jobs from related industries such as fishing, trade and tourism.

A discards survey conducted in 2006 by the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace Southeast Asia reveals that synthetic plastic materials account for 76% of the floating trash in Manila Bay, out of which 51% are plastic bags.

The EcoWaste Coalition also called to mind a report in 2006 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) saying that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic trash.

To help with the global effort to conserve and protect the ocean, the EcoWaste Coalition urge the public to cut down on the use of plastic bags, reject all forms of littering and dumping, reduce trash and make it a habit to separate discards at source for reusing, recycling and composting.

Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition endorsed a global petition asking the United Nations to issue a resolution officially designating June 8 as World Ocean Day. First proposed by Canada in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the World Ocean Day has yet to obtain official recognition
from the UN.

A UN-proclaimed observance of the World Ocean Day, the petition says, should serve “as a means each year to celebrate the world's ocean and its rich diversity of life; highlight global ocean awareness, education and action programs to promote a healthy and productive ocean; and remind nations, governments, businesses, and individuals of their responsibility to protect the world's living ocean and conserve its resources for present and future generations.”

“We invite everyone to endorse as well this global petition and make a difference for our ocean planet,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.


To sign on, please log on to:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/help-make-a-difference-for-our-ocean-planet


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

05 June 2008

EcoWaste Coalition Calls for Action vs. Plastic Addiction

Quezon City. As the nation observes the Philippine Environment Month, environmentalists belonging to the EcoWaste Coalition yesterday staged an advocacy walk for reusable eco-friendly bags in Quiapo, Manila.

Proudly carrying their bayong and cloth bags, the green activists led by film actor and environmentalist Roy Alvarez, mingled with vendors and buyers, providing them with “Ayaw Ko ng Plastik” leaflets that explain the problems with the obsessive use of plastic bags and the need to switch to reusable ones for the sake of the environment.

Representatives of Buklod Tao, Cavite Green Coalition, Earth Renewal Project, EARTH UST, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Health Care Without Harm, Krusada para sa Kalikasan, Malayang Sining Community Theater, November 17 Movement, Sagip Pasig Movement, and Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan joined the advocacy walk.

“Our addiction to plastic bags is already taking a heavy toll on the environment. We see them strewn all over, dirtying our streets, clinging to fences, and polluting our water bodies. Even the sky has not escaped being defiled by buntings made of plastic bags,” said Alvarez, who is also
the vice-president of the EcoWaste Coalition.

A study made by the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace Southeast Asia in 2006 showed that 76% of the floating trash in Manila Bay were mostly synthetic plastic materials, with plastic bags comprising 51%, sachets and junk food wrappers 19%, Styrofoams 5% and hard plastics 1%. The rest were rubber 10% and biodegradable discards 13%.

“Countries all over the world have taken notice of the plastic bag problem, with China enforcing a tough restriction on the free distribution of ultra-thin bags to prevent pollution and save on oil used to manufacture these bags. It’s high time that the Philippines takes action now,” Anne Laracas of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force on Plastics said.

China, beginning June 1 this year, banned the production of plastic bags under 0.025 millimeters thick and their use in shops and supermarkets, imposing a maximum fine of 10,000 yuan (US$1,200) for retailers found violating the ban. The law also requires retailers to charge for other plastic bags not covered by the ban.

Many countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Taiwan, Eritrea, Rwanda, France, Ireland, Italy, Australia and the United States, have imposed national or area-specific bans or restrictions on plastic carry bags, while many others, are mulling similar measures.


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

04 June 2008

Green Groups Back Zero Waste as Top Climate Protection Strategy


Manila, Philippines. Filipino waste and climate activists marked the World Environment Day in the historic Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila with a poignant call to stop wasteful consumption and disposal that is “warming the planet.”

Led by the EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), the participants coming from various school, community and non-government organizations made a pitch for a “Zero Waste” approach to protect the climate and the environment.

“The dumping and burning of discards add to the warming of the planet. Worse yet, by destroying materials that could be reused, recycled or composted, these dirty disposal practices drive a climate changing cycle that demands new resources to be extracted, processed, transported, and dumped or burned in our communities,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition and GAIA.

Film actress Chin-Chin Gutierrez, recognized by Time Magazine as one of the “Asian Heroes” for her environmental advocacy, graced the creative event, holding a placard that says “Go Zero Waste for Zero Warming” next to a huge globe depicting a hurting planet.

“I hope that this timely activity will create a much-needed dent in the people’s environmental awareness and encourage our citizens, especially those who occupy critical posts in decision-making, to act with care and vigilance to trim down our climate footprint,” said Gutierrez, founding chair and president of Alaga LAHAT, a partner group of the EcoWaste Coalition and GAIA.

The event coincided with the release in the U.S. of “Stop Trashing the Climate”, a new report published by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (Washington D.C.), Eco-Cycle (Boulder, Colorado) and GAIA (Berkeley, California) that affirms Zero Waste as a top climate protection strategy.

“Stop Trashing the Climate” documents the link between climate change and unsustainable patterns of consumption and wasting, dispels myths about the climate benefits of landfill gas recovery and waste incineration, and offers a roadmap for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The report provides key policy recommendations such as setting of local and national zero waste targets, eliminating subsidies to waste disposal, and ending the practice of waste incineration. The report calls for an end to the practice of landfilling and incinerating biodegradable materials, thereby preventing potent greenhouse gas emissions.

The main findings of the report include:

1. Preventing waste and expanding reuse, recycling and composting programs — a combined approach known as “zero waste”—is one of the fastest, cheapest and most effective strategies we can use to protect the climate. It also offers at least 10 times the amount of jobs as landfilling and
incineration.

2. Landfills are huge emitters of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and the global warming impact of these methane emissions in the short term are three times greater than reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

3. Incinerators emit more carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour than coal-fired power plants and waste three to five times more energy than recycling conserves. This means that incinerating recyclable materials is akin to spending three to five units of energy to make one unit.

4. Significantly reducing the amount of materials that we bury in landfills and burn in incinerators has climate benefits comparable to closing one-fifth of all U.S. coal-fired power plants, the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.

5. The one-way flow of materials from extraction, processing, and consumption to disposal directly contributes to climate change. Waste disposal is linked to more than one-third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions; new resources must be continually extracted to replace those
buried or burned.

According to the EcoWaste Coalition and GAIA, “‘Stop Trashing the Climate’ provides communities and nations, including the Philippines, with critical insights about the trash system in U.S. and the prevailing patterns of wasteful consumption and disposal that we must avoid to bring us to the path of climate stability and a sustainable future for all.”

The World Environment Day event in Plaza Miranda drew the participation of Alaga LAHAT, Buklod Tao, Cavite Green Coalition, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, Earth Renewal Project, EARTH UST, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Health Care Without Harm, Krusada para sa Kalikasan, MASCOMTHEA, Mother Earth Foundation, November 17 Movement, Sagip Pasig Movement, and Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan.


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