Earthlife Africa Jhb
6 December 2008, Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, South Africa.
As thousands of government officials, civil society advocates and other participants gather in Poznan, Poland to negotiate a new climate change treaty, a global alliance of public interest groups press for decisive steps to cut green house gas (GHG) emissions from dirty waste disposal practices.
Groups united within the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), including the GreenHouse Project, Injiya ya Uri and Earthlife Africa, urge governments to adopt Zero Waste as an essential strategy to spur dramatic reduction in GHG from landfills and incinerators.
As part of the yearly Global Day of Action against Waste and Incineration, at least 165 groups from 39 countries seeking environmental, climate and economic justice wrote to their government negotiators asking them to incorporate Zero Waste into their deliberations and plans at the Poznan climate talks.
The GreenHouse Project supported by Earthlife Africa Johannesburg has with funding from the Department of Environment and Tourism (DEAT) facilitated the establishment of a neighbourhood recycling cooperative. In addition to this development the GreenHouse Project and partner organisations like Injiya ya Uri and Earthlife Africa continue to facilitate the establishment of community based neighbourhood materials reclamation programmes for reuse, recycling and, where possible, composting. The aim is to reduce waste generation by 25% and disposal by 50% as declared in the Polokwane Declaration that government adopted in 2000.
“We therefore join the global push for “Zero Waste for Zero Warming” to shift from costly and GHG-producing waste disposal to a climate friendly program that will also stimulate green investment, infrastructure and livelihoods that benefit the economy and society,” adds Mabule Mokhine, Programmes Coordinator, GreenHouse Project.
“Governments are neglecting the cheapest and quickest way to reduce GHG emissions: Zero Waste,” Neil Tangri, GAIA Waste and Climate Campaigner. “In the US, a national reduce-reuse-recycle program would cut emissions by as much as taking half the country’s cars off the road,” he pointed out.
Zero Waste aims to reduce to zero the volume and toxicity of materials being disposed to landfills and incinerators by creating a closed-loop economy where all discards are reused, repaired, recycled or composted and implementing clean production, extended producer responsibility and other policies to redesign goods that cannot be safely reused, recycled or composted.
Zero Waste will put a lid to the wasting and warming cycle that requires new resources to be pulled out of the earth, processed in factories, shipped around the world, and burned or buried in our communities’ a process that leaves a trail of GHGs and other toxic health and environmental pollutants.
In a statement of concern on waste and climate change, GAIA, in addition to urging governments to adopt Zero Waste, also recommended that mitigation funds to be used in the waste sector should support Zero Waste projects.
According to GAIA, incinerators, landfills, and other “waste-to-energy” projects which undermine Zero Waste should be ineligible for mitigation funds, offset credits and other forms of climate-related financing and subsidies.
The full text of the GAIA statement can be downloaded at: http://no-burn.org/cc