Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Catholic prelate supports global drive for “respect for recyclers”

Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. has
joined a growing campaign for recognition, respect and support for
recyclers, particularly the waste pickers, as governments meet in
Tianjin, China to continue the stalled negotiations for a global
climate agreement and action plan.

“We are called upon to recognize our brothers and sisters who work
very hard to reclaim and recycle tons of valuable resources from the
bins, trucks and dumps,” said Bishop Iñiguez, who also heads the
Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the

“As we struggle against the ecological crisis afflicting the planet,
let us give the recyclers the recognition and respect they deserve for
their service to the environment and society that we often take for
granted,” he added.

The Quezon City-based Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
(GAIA), which is currently in Tianjin together with its partner waste
pickers’ groups, thanked the Caloocan Bishop for his timely statement.

“We thank Bishop Iñiguez for encouraging our society to ponder and
acknowledge the special role of waste pickers in helping to stabilize
the earth's climate through their painstaking labor," said Manny
Calonzo, co-coordinator of GAIA.

Bishop Iñiguez, who attended a waste pickers’ workshop organized by
the EcoWaste Coalition last August, had earlier said “the waste
pickers belong to the poorest of the poor who work in the most
difficult and toxic condition to make ends meet.”

“In appreciation of their role in the recycling chain, let us do
whatever is necessary to make their work more humane and less
injurious to their health,” said Bishop Iñiguez.

According to the GAIA report “Respect for Recylers: Protecting the
Climate through Zero Waste,” about 15 million people worldwide rely on
waste picking and the recovery of discards for their livelihoods.

Programs that reduce, reuse and recycle municipal waste are effective
and high-impact means of reducing GHG emissions, the report said.

When discarded materials are recycled, they provide industry with an
alternative source of raw materials from which to make new products,
the report explained.

This results in less demand for virgin materials whose extraction,
transport and processing are major sources of GHG emissions, the
report stated.

Recycling thus reduces emissions in virtually all extractive
industries: mining, forestry, agriculture, and petroleum extraction,
the report further said.


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