Thursday, December 2, 2010

Green groups conduct ‘waste audit’ of Manila Bay

ENVIRONMENTAL groups conducted a “waste audit” of Manila Bay to mark the ninth “Global Day of Action” against waste and incineration.

Greenpeace, EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) led the audit as they call on Filipinos to “Stop Trashing the Climate”.

GAIA, which claims to have 650 members from 92 countries, urged people, industries, and governments to formally commit to “Zero Waste” policies.

The group said it would mean designing waste out of the system with prevention, reduction, reuse, recycling and composting, instead of resorting to dirty and unsustainable technologies like incineration and landfilling.

GAIA cited toxic pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and high costs of incineration among the reasons for shifting to Zero Waste approaches.

“Manila Bay is only one of the innumerable examples where our dependence on disposable stuff such as plastic bags is choking the life out of our living environment,” said Gigie Cruz of GAIA.

Greenpeace toxics campaigner Beau Baconguis said Manila Bay and its estuaries have for a long time been symbolic of all the trash people throw in waters.

“We can clean visible trash, but toxic discharges which are actually more harmful remain invisible. In line with Zero Waste principles, Greenpeace is calling for a mandatory pollution disclosure system that will be the first step to eliminate these hidden toxics in our waters,” she said.

The waste audit was also conducted as part of the 10th anniversary of both GAIA and Greenpeace Southeast Asia (GPSEA).

Greenpeace’s flagship “Rainbow Warrior” is in Manila as part of its “Turn the Tide” tour of the region to highlight solutions to the threat of climate change.

In 2006, Greenpeace, GAIA, EcoWaste, and other groups also conducted a waste audit in Manila Bay where 1,000 liters of waste were collected. Results revealed that plastic bags composed 51.4% of the discards recovered.

“Ten years of working together across continents has made it clear that Zero Waste is a much better alternative for the climate, the environment, our health and our economies,” Cruz said.

“Zero Waste has significant climate benefits since it conserves resources, saves energy, and cuts greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, it creates many jobs and strengthens economies,” she added.


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