Greenpeace hits moves to repeal burner ban in Clean Air Act

Press release - January 19, 2001
Officials and politicians seeking to repeal the incineration ban in the Clean Air Act should redirect their energies towards implementing preventive and real solutions to the country's burgeoning garbage crisis instead of using the ban as a scapegoat for the government's inability to deal with the problem, according to the international environmental group Greenpeace.

Officials and politicians seeking to repeal the incineration ban in the Clean Air Act should redirect their energies towards implementing preventive and real solutions to the country's burgeoning garbage crisis instead of using the ban as a scapegoat for the government's inability to deal with the problem, according to the international environmental group Greenpeace.

Among those pushing for the lifting of the incineration ban are DILG Secretary Alfredo Lim, Rep. Nereus Acosta, Rep. Victor Sumulong, Rep. Dante Liban, and DOH Secretary Alberto Romualdez.

"In their panic to find a convenient political escape hatch for the garbage crisis, these officials and politicians would not think twice about selling the ecology and economy of the country further down the drain," said Von Hernandez, campaign director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

"With vulture-like precision, these incinerator pushers are rushing to take advantage of a stinking situation. It is lamentable that instead of moving forward with the ecologically and socially acceptable solutions, these back-end-thinking government officials are still obsessed with waste disposal options that are bound to fail," he said.

Added Hernandez: "This propensity for quick fixes and magic bullets is exactly the same mindset responsible for the rotten situation the metropolis finds itself in today, the same way of thinking that inevitably makes sacrificial victims out of poor and powerless communities who will end up hosting these dirty facilities."

Incineration proponents argue that this technology is safe citing its widespread use in countries like Japan. But in fact, incineration has been identified as the main source of cancer-causing dioxins and other toxic heavy metals in many places including the United States, Japan and European countries. Contrary to pro- incineration propaganda, incinerators will not eliminate the need for landfills since the ash generated from the burning process will still be dumped in a landfill, most likely situated beside the incinerator itself.

"Taken in this context, incineration presents a multiple whammy for communities. Not only is incineration environmentally destructive, it is also economically catastrophic. It will suck local governments financially dry, rob poor people of their livelihood and serve as a magnet for big-time corruption," said Francis de la Cruz, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner.

Landfills and incinerators will not make waste disappear. Rather they are the most costly of all solid waste management options, result in air and water pollution, destroy resources that could be used as raw materials, and do not support job creation.

"Metro Manila can develop a more environmentally and economically sound waste management system which focuses on waste prevention, composting and recycling. If waste is to be managed democratically, recycling becomes the only practical alternative. These are solutions that our people and communities can live with," added de la Cruz.

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