Zero Waste Groups Join Clamor for Climate Justice ahead of Paris Climate Conference

Groups championing zero waste as an authentic and cost-effective solution to the climate crisis have added their voice to the clamor for climate justice ahead of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference on November 30 to December 11 in France.

Through a joint press statement, the EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) and Oceana Philippines urged government negotiators at the upcoming climate talks to support an ambitious, fair and legally binding agreement to dramatically and rapidly cut global warming pollution and promote climate justice.

In solidarity with grassroots communities and sectors who are most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change to livelihood, health and environment, the groups expressed support for the November 28 “March for Climate Justice Pilipinas” organized by the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

The groups pressed negotiators to embrace zero waste solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to the waste sector, particularly from disposal activities such as waste incineration, dumping and landfilling.

“GAIA calls on all governments to include zero waste initiatives in their mitigation actions and, thus, finance zero waste solutions instead of false solutions like waste to energy technologies, and come up with firmer carbon accounting systems to weed out bogus actions from real,” said Paeng Lopez, Campaigner at Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

According to GAIA, “zero waste solutions—including waste reduction, redesign, composting, biogas, producer responsibility, consumption transformation, and recycling—could be implemented today, using existing innovations, with immediate results.”

Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, identified some specific measures, which, if carried out, would mean reduced emission of polluting gases from the burning and burying of discards, as well as from the linear production and consumption systems that depend on constant extraction of materials and use of energy to produce new goods.

“Some of these measures include stopping biodegradable materials from being disposed of in landfills and incinerators, upholding the incineration ban under the Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, phasing out single-use plastic products and packaging and providing incentives for locally-based reuse, recycling and composting programs, jobs and businesses,” she said.

Vergara also emphasized the importance of recognizing and integrating waste pickers who divert organics, recyclables and reusable resource materials from dumps, landfills or incinerators as stewards of greenhouse gas mitigation.,

Sonia Mendoza, Chairman of MEF, stated: “Let’s leave our children with a living planet.  Harness clean and sustainable energy from the sun, wind and biogas, not from coal, incinerators and nuclear power.”

For her part lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, Vice-President of Oceana Philippines, said: “With the global decline of fish stocks, including in the Philippines, and the devastation of natural ecosystems due to our own irresponsible and fossil fuel dependent lifestyles, the impacts of climate change which are now felt by fisherfolks and have affected them deeply, will surely exacerbate the already  worrisome state.  We urge nations to cut the greenhouse gas emissions now and mainstream sustainable fisheries management and in the production and consumption of goods.  Think food security.  Think of our children’s future.”