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[greenyes] Int'l Alliance Condemns Incineration

April 21, 2004

Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance/
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)
Monica Wilson
(510) 883-9490 ext. 2#


Brenda Platt
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
(202) 898-1610 ext. 230


Washington, D.C./Manila - An international coalition of 111
organizations in 39 countries issued a new report today
condemning waste incineration. "Resources up in Flames:
The Economic Pitfalls of Incineration versus a Zero Waste
Approach in the Global South" details how waste incinerators
could spell financial disaster for host communities. The
international coalition, coordinated by GAIA (Global
Anti-Incinerator Alliance/Global Alliance for Incinerator
Alternatives), challenged policymakers to reject incineration
technology in favor of non-burn options and zero waste planning.

According to the GAIA report, prepared by the Institute for
Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), waste incinerators generate
pollution, harm public health, and place huge financial burdens
on host communities. Pitfalls such as high capital costs,
tonnage shortfalls, expensive pollution control equipment, and
hampering least-cost options such as recycling can beset an
incinerator project in California as easily as one in Manila.
The report points out the economic benefits of non-incineration
strategies and indicates that sorting recyclables alone employs
at least 11 times more jobs than incineration on a per-ton basis.

At least 16 jurisdictions worldwide have banned or restricted
municipal solid waste incineration. Chicago, California's Alameda
County, and Rhode Island are U.S. examples. The Philippines is
the first country to explicitly ban all types of waste incineration.

Brenda Platt, co-director of ILSR and the report's author, asks
"Why invest millions of dollars in a technology that after 30 years
leaves you with a pile of potentially toxic ash, when that same
money could be redirected to readily available cheaper and safer
options which create many more jobs and new businesses for local

Platt adds, "Even new incineration technology is not clean, efficient,
nor safe. All incinerators release pollutants, many of which are known
to be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. Ironically, the better
the air pollution control, the more toxic the ash. Neither high
temperatures nor pollution control can make incinerators safe."

According to GAIA co-coordinator Ann Leonard, "In the face of growing
opposition to expanding business in North America and Europe, the waste
incinerator industry is now looking to industrializing nations as a new
market in which to sell its polluting and expensive product."

While the report introduces the need for zero waste planning and
highlights the growing worldwide zero-waste movement, it emphasizes
that non-burn alternatives are readily available. In the global South,
where organic material is the single largest component of the waste
stream, composting will be the easiest and least-expensive method to
divert discards from disposal.

The 76-page "Resources up in Flames" is available as a PDF file on
GAIA's web site at Parts of the report have
been translated into 22 languages.


For more information on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and GAIA,
please visit their web sites at and, respectively.

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