Clean Air Act: The World is Watching - Greenpeace

Press release - April 20, 1999
In an appeal sent from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, which is visiting Manila to mark the beginning of the bicameral negotiations on the Clean Air Act, the international environmental group has called upon the Philippine government to enact the Clean Air bill with its provisions for cleaner fuel and an undiluted ban on incinerators.

In an appeal sent from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, which is visiting Manila to mark the beginning of the bicameral negotiations on the Clean Air Act, the international environmental group has called upon the Philippine government to enact the Clean Air bill with its provisions for cleaner fuel and an undiluted ban on incinerators.

The Clean Air bill has taken many twists and turns since it was first introduced during the last Congress. If enacted in its present form, the Philippines Clean Air Act will be the first in the world to ban the use of waste incinerators. Other important provisions include the setting up of progressive targets for cleaner fuel and the elimination of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

Unfortunately, the incinerator manufacturers - who are faced with shrinking markets and strong community opposition in pollution-conscious Northern countries - are putting up a fight to reserve the right to sell their outdated technology in the Philippines.

"The Arctic Sunrise is in Manila to tell the Philippines that the world is watching the negotiations on the incinerator ban with great interest. Greenpeace has a tradition of bearing witness to significant global environmental events, and we definitely count the passing of a complete incinerator ban in the Philippines as a positive step towards a toxics-free future, " said Bob Graham, Captain of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise.

Greenpeace today came down heavily on the incinerator industry which is attempting to derail the incineration ban in the Act by lobbying the Government for an exemption of state-of-the-art incinerators. "There may be state-of- the-art incinerators, but there're no pollution-free incinerators," said Yon Hernandez, Greenpeace toxics campaigner. Incinerators are inevitable emitters of life-threatening poisons such as heavy metals and super-toxins like dioxins and furans.

Drawing upon experiences from various developing countries, Greenpeace today cautioned Philippine legislators and citizens against falling into the regulation trap. Even countries, such as the Netherlands, Germany and Japan, which have impossibly tightened regulations on these incinerators continue to incur monumental costs to clean up the pollution caused by incinerators.

Greenpeace, instead, recommends the implementation of clean and sustainable options - such as recycling, reusing and composting - for garbage management. These recommendations were handed in the form of a Waste Prevention Plan to Speaker Manuel Villar, Senator Gregorio Honasan, and Secretary Orlando Mercado today onboard the Arctic Sunrise. "Recycling requires investment and training in people, as opposed to incinerators which require investments in fancy gadgets which fail most of the time. This is a fight for recycling and power to the people as much as it is against incineration and pollution, " said Hernandez.

Oil companies have also staged an onslaught on the bill's provision for cleaner fuel by threatening to hike prices. Greenpeace has urged citizens to exercise their right to Clean Air and demand the oil industry to live up to its responsibility of bearing the costs of providing cleaner, poison- free products. " It is deplorable that oil companies are prepared to place the health of their profit margins at par with the health of the Filipino public, " he added.

Categories