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[GreenYes] Waste Not Asia Denounces Hazardous Technologies & Misuse of CDM

Waste Not Asia Denounces Hazardous Technologies & Misuse of CDM

Resource Recovery Route advocated

January 18, Trivendrum: Environmental, human rights and occupational health
workers and activists from 14 countries such as China, South Korea,
Phillipines, Cambodia, India, Nepal and others gathered at the fifth Waste
Not Asia (WNA) conference called for adoption of Integrated Zero Waste
Management instead of polluting technologies like incinerators being
promoted by governments in the name of municipal waste to energy projects.
India is a stark example of failure of such projects, which are now being
pushed by vested interests to claim carbon credits by misusing Clean
Development Mechanism (CDM) despite the fact that it violates Kyoto Protocol
and causes global warming. It condemned the trans-boundary movement of
wastes in general and hazardous waste in particular. The issue of dumping of
obsolete ships such as Le Clemenceau and Blue Lady also found mention in the

WNA called upon the Asian governments to open all decisions on waste
management to full public participation and transparency at every stage of
the process; ensure waste solutions are democratically decided and socially
just; provide avoided disposal costs to communities and businesses which
divert recyclable and compostable materials from landfills; end hidden
subsidies for landfills and incinerators; prioritize waste reduction at
source, clean production, pollution prevention and sustainable material use;
phase-out unsustainable materials such as PVC and other chlorinated
compounds; support the demand for elimination of POPs in the ongoing treaty
negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program;
track the elimination of POPs by determining levels of dioxins and furans
and other chemicals in the food chain and in mothers' breast milk on a
regular basis.

The conference reiterated their allegiance to the WNA vision, which was
adopted at its inception. Waste Not Asia (WNA) is a coalition of citizens'
groups and individuals from Asia and the Pacific who support a commitment
to: a decentralized community-based reuse, recycling and composting
programmes that promote materials recovery rather than materials
destruction; opposing waste landfills, incinerators and other end-of-pipe
interventions; ensure that manufacturers are held responsible for designing
products an d packaging that are ecologically sound through every stage of
their life cycle; eliminate persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and move
towards a toxic free future; reduce generation of waste, promote clean
production, and move towards a zero waste society. The delegates argued that
incinerator is an industrial furnace in which valuable resources were
needlessly burned, creating toxic gases and ash. They called upon the
communities to work towards ending this insane practice.
The increasing consumption in Asia is resulting in growing mountains of
garbage and other wastes which are sought to be disposed in landfills or
burnt openly or in incinerators. Asia is under siege from multinational
corporations, international financial institutions, aid agencies and
governments who seek to push material disposal and destruction technologies
such as landfills and incinerators. Many countries are running out of both
physical and political space to site new landfills.

Although burning waste, with or without the recovery of energy, puts
dangerous substances such as toxic metals, dioxins, furans, and and
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), into the air and into the residual ash and
the United Nations Environment Program has identified dioxins, furans and
PCBs as persistent organic pollutants requiring priority global action, the
practice continues to find favour from policy makers.

The poor economic and environmental track record of incinerators and
landfills in industrialized and developing countries has led to intense
public opposition to such technologies. Many incinerator and landfill
proposals have been linked to corruption scandals and undemocratic
decision-making processes. The disposal and destruction of materials robs
future generations of resources, drains local communities of finances and
resources, thwarts local economic development and undermines rational
approaches to waste management, and concentrate economic benefits in the
hands of a few corporations. A large informal sector in many Asian countries
already exists that provides invaluable service by recovery and recycling.
Incinerators, landfills and other "end-of-pipe" solutions endanger the
progressive and superior alternatives that are being pioneered in
communities and municipalities around Asia and detract from initiatives to
reduce waste and toxics in manufacturing. The over-reliance on "end-of-pipe"
solutions encourages exploitation via the export of wastes and dirty

The production and use of unsustainable materials such as PVC (polyvinyl
chloride) has led to the poisoning of human health and the environment. The
presence of dioxins, furans and other chemicals in breast milk and human
bodies is a form of chemical trespass that threaten the well-being of
particularly vulnerable populations namely fetuses and infants. This
chemical trespass violates women's fundamental rights to bear healthy
children and to breast feed.

In the light of the above the conference demanded that that multilateral,
bilateral and private aid and lending institutions including Japanese
International Cooperation Agency (JICA), USAID, the Asian Development Bank,
and the World Bank: end funding for materials destruction methods, including
incineration and related disposal technologies; cease providing secretive,
distorted and biased prescriptions on waste management to governments. The
UN and affiliated bodies should condemn and end the promotion of
incinerators and other materials destruction technologies. And the concerned
governments should ban new incinerators and phase-out existing ones; promote
materials recovery rather than materials destruction; support local
initiatives, which benefit communities rather than corporations.

The conference concluded its deliberations on January 18, 2007. The
conference started on January 15 at Mascot Hotel in Trivendrum, Kerala,
India. Similar WNA meetings have earlier been held at Bangkok, Thailand in
2000, Taipei, Taiwan in 2001 and in Penang, Malaysia in 2003. During the
GAIA Global Meeting in Seoul, South Korea in 2004, the WNA has evolved as
GAIA's regional platform in Asia. Global Alliance for Incinerator
Alternatives (GAIA) was formed in the year 2000 with a Secretariat in the
Philippines with 360 members in 66 countries. The WNA has evolved as GAIA's
regional platform in Asia.

Gopal Krishna

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