13 October 2011

EcoGroups Express Alarm on Massive Outbreak of Waste Incinerators in Mindanao


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Environmental justice and health networks EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) expressed alarm on the massive increase of waste incineration proposals and contracts signed in different areas in Mindanao at the culmination of the Anti-Incineration Road Show (AIR Show), a series of workshops and community consultations about waste-to-energy held in General Santos, Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City.

Teachers, government employees, public officials, lawyers, advocates, social workers, media and health workers attended the AIRshow in the three cities.


“We are saddened by the news shared by different stakeholders from Mindanao that local government units are signing or are about to sign multi-year contracts with different incinerator companies that will allow dirty facilities to be built within their respective areas. Once these waste burners operate, they will bring immense environmental and health problems to many marginalized communities and threaten even more the island’s already critical environment,” said Rei Panaligan of the EcoWaste Coalition.


During the AIR Show, the groups discovered that the German company Herhof GmbH already secured 25 to 50-year deals with the local governments of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur; Glan, Sarangani; Panabo City, Davao del Norte; and Midsayap, North Cotabato. Herhof’s proposal is also pending and being discussed by the local governments of Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City.


Herhof and its recently formed local counterpart TIG Green Mindanao plan to put up “stabilat” plants in different areas in Mindanao to “pelletize” mixed municipal and hazardous wastes to be burned in their facilities or sold as co-fuel for cement kilns. In the small, quiet town of Glan the company is demanding at least 1,000 tons of garbage per day.


“We hope LGUs will not be misled by the grand promises and sham statistics of waste burning companies hiding behind high-tech sounding names like ‘pyrolysis’, ‘gasification’, ‘plasma arc’ or ‘stabilat’,” said Paeng Lopez, National Campaigner of GAIA.


“Herhof promotes the collection and burning of mixed waste which run against our aim to reduce the volume of our solid waste and protect our environment as stated under our Clean Air Act and Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. To say yes to the wanton burning of discarded papers, bottles, metals, plastics, and other useful discards is to say yes to the continued destruction of our remaining ecosystems, because incineration sustains the need for further extraction of raw materials to manufacture new products. Think of incinerators as parasites – they suck out the life of our environment by burning its resources,” he emphasized.


For her part, HCWH Executive Director Merci Ferrer shared that, “environmentally-sound waste management alternatives like discards segregation, re-use, recycling and composting are easier to do and are much cheaper. Even hospital wastes, after disinfecting them through the use of autoclaves or microwaves, can be treated as regular household wastes and be recycled.”


“On the other hand, waste incineration produces carcinogenic dioxins – the most toxic man-made compound – and neuro-toxic heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, etc. These are poisons that will inevitable contaminate our communities if we say yes to waste burning,” Ferrer warned.


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