PLEASE KEEP GUAM INCINERATOR-FREE
As the Ordot Dump in Guam reaches its full capacity in less than a year, the Solid Waste Law Review Commission headed by Senator James Espaldon moves to amend Public Law 25-175, a legislation that bans municipal waste incinerators and Waste-to-Energy facilities to address Guam's current waste problem. Public Law 25-175 further mandates that no public funds should be used for incineration.
The Solid Waste Company Guam Resource Recovery Program (GRRP) on its recent correspondence with Senator James Espaldon proposed the construction of a "Waste-to-Energy" facility which they consider a "viable solution" to the impending closure of the said dump. According to reports, the contract with GRRP costing $64 million will require GovGuam to provide land to the said proponent and pay for the disposal of 300 tons of garbage every day.
These recent developments raised concerns from some government representatives and other civil society groups like the Recycling Association of Guam since they believe that incineration will not address the problem. These groups advocate for waste prevention and implementation of recycling programs as genuine solutions to Guam's problem.
We write to ask you to sign the petition addressed to the Solid Waste Law Review Commission to stress our stand against end-of-pipe solutions such as landfills and incineration.
Review Letter to the Guam Government:
Dear Senator James Espaldon and Members of Solid Waste Law Review Commission,
We, environmental justice advocates and zero waste practitioners around the world, would like to raise concerns over the planned amendments to Guam's Solid Waste Management Law that will allow utilization of Waste-to-Energy technologies to address the island's waste problem. We believe that Waste-to-Energy as a technology does not genuinely address the problem, it will simply transform wastes into a secondary waste stream more toxic than its original form and will still endanger human health and the environment.
It is not sensible to waste resources on such a complex and expensive discard management technology. The capital and operation costs of incineration are so high that it results in the indebtedness of the host country. Based on a 2000 World Bank report, capital and operating requirement for incinerator plants are at least twice the costs required for landfills. Recycling and composting facilities are far cheaper.
As the world acknowledges the inevitable effects of climate change, we hope that your government will rally sound solutions in preventing this environmental crisis. Incinerators, even so called "waste-to-energy" or "energy from waste", is not the solution. Studies by the US EPA and other environmental groups show that energy generated by incinerating is small compared to the energy conserved when waste is prevented, reused and recycled.
We therefore urge your government to invest on Zero Waste strategies that aspire to maximize recycling and resource recovery, minimize waste generation and ensure that products are made to be reused, repaired or recycled back into nature or the marketplace. Zero waste is a community-based model that aims to eliminate incinerator and landfill disposal by the application of simple solutions and materials management systems that are healthy for people and the planet. Success stories around the world attest to the economic and environmental advantages of Zero Waste where Guam can learn from. By choosing Zero Waste over waste incineration, you will conserve natural resources, generate jobs for constituents, help prevent climate change, prevent dioxins and furans from polluting the air and food supply, and ensure that tourists will continue to come and enjoy your beautiful island.
Please keep Guam incinerator-free.