Waste Pickers Tout Only Truly Green Solution to Municipal Waste, Decry Dirty Energy

(For photos from today’s action by the waste pickers, see these links for GEAR’s Facebook or Flickr pages.)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Waste Pickers Tout Only Truly Green Solution to Municipal Waste, Decry Dirty Energy

Durban, December 5, 2011 – Waste pickers attending COP17 today called for a Green Climate Fund with direct community access and an end to CDM “waste-to-energy” projects. Representatives from three continents highlighted the fact that waste pickers are the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the waste sector.

Millions of people worldwide make a living from waste picking. They collect, sort and process recyclables, reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfills and saving valuable natural resources. Today, an increasing number of waste pickers are processing organic waste, diverting it from landfills and therefore reducing methane gas pollution. Waste pickers could further reduce GHG emissions given proper support.

To secure this support, a waste picker delegation has come to COP17 to raise their concerns surrounding current climate financing mechanisms and to advocate for more just alternatives that are directly accessible by waste pickers. Waste pickers from three different continents spoke against disposal technologies that undermine their livelihoods, such as incinerators and waste-to-energy projects.

Harouna Niass, a waste picker from Dakar, Senegal, spoke about the formation of Book Diomm Waste Pickers Association with 800 members, and the threat they face from CDM-backed landfill gas companies competing to extract methane and force the waste pickers off the landfill.

“Waste pickers should be included and given more respect because we take care of our environment,” Niass said.

Simon Mbata, with the South African Waste Pickers’ Association, discussed the importance of supporting waste pickers.

“We demand a Green Climate Fund that is directly accessible to waste pickers and an end of support for CDM projects which compete directly with us,” Mbata said.

Neil Tangri, with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, provided background on CDM-backed projects and the Green Climate Fund. Suman More, a waste picker with SWaCH cooperative in Pune, India, discussed incinerator alternatives.

About the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers:

The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers brings together waste pickers organizations from Africa, Asia and Latin America. To learn more about waste pickers’ experiences and to support fair and just solutions to climate change, visit our blog www.globalrec.org

To arrange interviews with waste pickers or for more information, contact Deia de Brito (+027) 072 388 7852/ info@globalrec.org

Read GAIA’s case studies on CDM projects on Municipal Waste Management:

The CDM incinerator in Chengdu Luo Dai, China: http://www.no-burn.org/downloads/luodai.pdf

The Bisasar landfill in Durban, South Africa: http://www.no-burn.org/downloads/bisasar.pdf

The Usina Incinerator in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: http://www.no-burn.org/downloads/Rio-de-janeiro.pdf

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