Group warns governor against Japanese Toxic Trap

Press release - March 8, 2001
The international environmental group Greenpeace today warned Bangkok governor Samak Sundaravej not to fall for the "toxic trap" being laid out by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) which is offering Bangkok a loan to finance the construction of a Japanese incinerator to deal with the growing waste problems of the metropolis.

The international environmental group Greenpeace today warned Bangkok governor Samak Sundaravej not to fall for the "toxic trap" being laid out by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) which is offering Bangkok a loan to finance the construction of a Japanese incinerator to deal with the growing waste problems of the metropolis.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia toxics campaigner Tara Buakamsri said that "going through with the Japanese sponsored incinerator project would subject Bangkok to a multiple whammy of massive debt repayments and costly operational costs, an inflexible waste disposal system which drains money away from the local economy, and the nightmare of cancer-causing toxic emissions associated with the burning of waste."

"Taken in this context, the huge loan being dangled by the JBIC to the city of Bangkok is nothing but a ploy intended to trap the city into accepting dirty Japanese technology which is facing increasing opposition back home," added Buakamsri.

Japanese companies like Hitachi Zosen and NKK Corporation have also been aggressively promoting waste incineration in Thailand.

Japan operates the most number of waste incinerators than any other country in the world today. The country, however, also owns the dubious distinction of having the highest levels of dioxin emissions in the environment, a major consequence of its mindless waste burning policy. The ultra-toxic dioxin is a known carcinogen and has been linked to various birth defects and a host of other health problems. According to independent studies, communities living around and downwind of incinerators in Japan have been documented to have higher rates of cancer, birth defects and infant mortality compared to incineration free areas.

The group urged the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) to start rethinking its plans to make incineration the cornerstone of the metropolitan region's waste management system, stressing that the alternatives of recycling and composting are not only environmentally safer but would also help boost the local economy and create more jobs.

"Bangkok should not repeat the costly mistakes of countries who went the incineration route like Japan. It just doesn't make sense for our officials to drain our economy of much needed financial resources to fill the pockets of multinational waste management firms --- especially to pay for dirty projects which will end up poisoning our people and our environment," added Buakamsri.

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