Next Time... Try Recycling

ข่าวประชาสัมพันธ์ - กุมภาพันธ์ 23, 2543
23 February, 2000 MANILA - The International environmental group Greenpeace together with allies from the recently formed Eco-Waste Coalition today urged the Estrada government to stop the construction of new landfills and channel its energies instead into real solutions to the waste problem, namely source separation, recycling and composting.

Activists from the international organization climbed a huge waste "mountain" in the Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City and unfurled big banners which read "Next Time… Try Recycling" to emphasize the group's demands against the opening of new landfills and dumpsites in the country.

In a press conference at the Payatas dumpsite, Greenpeace also disclosed results of recent scientific tests conducted by the group on leachate flowing out of the Carmona landfill and the Payatas dumpsite which showed high levels of toxic heavy metals chromium, copper and lead. The heavy metals, particularly chromium and lead, are toxic to human beings and aquatic life. Lead is a potent neurotoxin while chromium has been associated with various cancers and birth defects.

"The results of our investigations offer clear proof that dumpsites and landfills are ticking toxic time bombs. These toxic contaminants are leaking into our water systems and may already be contaminating critical groundwater sources. While the effects of the contamination may not be immediately evident, there is no question that environmental and public health is being compromised," said Francis de la Cruz, Greenpeace Toxics campaigner in the Philippines.

The group noted that in both waste dumps, the untreated leachate flows into critical water systems and reservoirs such as the Laguna Lake in the case of Carmona and the San Mateo River in the case of Payatas. The La Mesa dam, principal source of Metro Manila's drinking water is also situated next to the Payatas dumpsite.

"While the Philippines gained a lot of headway when It banned incineration in the Clean Air Act of 1999, it is ironic that the government is still fixated with flawed, back-end non-solutions such as landfills in its overall strategy to deal with the country's burgeoning waste crisis," said Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner Von Hernandez.

"The key issue is not to find better landfills or incinerators to control what comes out of them, but to organize our communities to control what goes in. Government needs to radicalize its approach to waste," Hernandez added.