GLOBAL DEMONSTRATION AGAINST WASTE AND POLLUTION LAUNCHED
Protest highlights human health impacts of waste and pollution
September 1, 2004, Manila/USA/Buenos Aires – An international coalition of activists today launched the 3rd Global Day of Action against Waste (GDAW) citing the increasing health impacts of polluting waste disposal practices which affect mainly children throughout the world.
182 groups from 45 countries participated this year in what has become an annual day of protest against unsustainable and dangerous waste disposal systems. Coordinated by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), this year’s protest highlighted recent evidence from the World Health Organization which indicates that more than 3 million children under the age of five are dying each year because of polluted air and water and exposure to other environmental hazards.
“To be really blunt about it, the worsening levels of pollution worldwide are killing children. Governments are obviously failing to protect children and the human population at large from harmful chemical assaults resulting from unsustainable and irresponsible practices such as incineration,” according to Von Hernandez, Co- Coordinator, GAIA.
Incinerators are linked to serious environmental health threats. Incineration alone is responsible for 69 percent of global emissions of the notorious pollutant dioxin which is linked to cancer, immune and reproductive system disorders, birth defects, and other health threats. Incineration is also a primary source of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, which builds up in the environment – especially aquatic ecosystems- and affects the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver. It is especially harmful to pregnant women and children.
In addition to the immediate pollution they create, incinerators and landfills also perpetuate wasteful and unsustainable production and consumption systems. Incinerators destroy resources, which would be better conserved for future use given the increasing pressure to harvest finite natural resources.
“Available evidence worldwide from various academic, governmental and international institutions indicate that many of the chemicals coming out of dumpsites, landfills and incinerators have also now been found in the human body. The fact that everyone is now contaminated with these harmful pollutants proves that we are now dangerously skirting the edge of the ecological precipice. How much harm are we willing to accept before we abandon these deadly ways of managing society’s discards,” added Hernandez.
GAIA is an international coalition of community-based organizations, research and policy advocacy institutions, citizen pressure groups and other nonprofit organizations and individuals working together to promote clean production, zero waste and sustainable discard management systems. GAIA members which now number 470 in 75 countries are committed to ending waste incineration and advancing real solutions to the waste crisis
For more information, please contact:
Von Hernandez, Co-Coordinator +63 917 5263050
Manny Calonzo, Assistant Coordinator +63 922 8102140
the GAIA Secretariat, Manila (ask for Abigail Jabines or Gigie Cruz at +63 2 9290376 or + 63 2 4364733)
Annie Leonard, Co-Coordinator or Monica Wilson, GAIA Coordinating Team , USA +1 510 8839490