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Tue, Aug 01, 2000 - Page 4 News List

Activists protesting incinerators

CLEANER AIR CAMPAIGN Local representatives have formed an alliance with Waste Not Asia, the region's first environmental group that has committed itself to preventing the spread of deadly dioxin emissions caused by incinerators


Taiwanese environmentalists have joined Waste Not Asia (WNA), the first Asian trans-national environmental group to focus its opposition on waste incineration and landfills.

The alliance was formally inaugurated on July 28, at the end of a meeting in Bangkok to celebrate its launch and formulate strategy.

"We will no longer be the cesspit for the industrialized world," said Tara Buakamsri of Greenpeace South East Asia, at the closure ceremony last week.

He said the group represented "the citizens of 12 Asia-Pacific nations opposed to waste incineration" -- which activists described as a failed technology.

They said incinerators had been identified as the primary source of dioxins, considered the most potent of toxic chemicals.

They added, "Other deadly poisons linked with emissions from incinerators include heavy metals, such as lead and mercury."

The alliance consists of activists from around Asia, including India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Guam, Pakistan, Nepal, Thailand, Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan.

Consolidating international support

Taiwanese anti-incinerator activists from four environmental groups, Taiwan Watch Institute (TWI, 看守台灣研究中心), Green Formosa Front (GFF, 台灣綠色陣線), Green Citizens' Action Alliance (綠色公民行動聯盟), and the Meinung People's Association (美濃愛鄉協進會), said the alliance would be an international channel for the development and consolidation of trans-national support.

"I believe that the anti-incineration movement in Taiwan will be strengthened because up-to-date information about the incinerator industry will be available through this channel, which will help local activists a lot," Joyce Fu (伏嘉捷), secretary-general of GFF, told the Taipei Times.

Waste Not Asia was formed on July 28 by activists form.

* Taiwan

* India

* Philippines

* Indonesia

* Guam

* Pakistan

* Nepal

* Thailand

* Japan

* China

* South Korea

* Malaysia

During the meeting, WNA delegates from 12 countries proclaimed that they would strive to create "a sustainable society."

They said they would constantly endeavor to achieve a goal of zero waste through an evolving program of clean production.

George Cheng (鄭益明), a Taiwanese delegate from TWI, said, "Based on principles that emphasize materials recovery over materials destruction, we will have lots to do in Taiwan."

Saying that incineration was particularly dangerous, Cheng added that alliance members had committed themselves to a zero-waste society.

This, he explained, involved a waste policy in which discarded materials were composted, recycled or reused, rather than incinerated or dumped at landfills.

Opposition to toxic trade

Cheng said that WNA members would cooperate to oppose expansion of waste incineration technologies.

Also, he added, the aim would be to promote ecologically friendly waste management.

"Participants at the Bangkok meeting said that incineration was a toxic technology dumped on Asian countries by some of the most polluted nations. I have to say that Taiwan is also a target for incinerator builders," Cheng said.

Cheng said that the 36 large-scale incinerators in Taiwan, were either complete or to-be-completed by 2003.

He said these incinerators were primarily purchased from Japan or European countries.

Activists said that Japan and Europe had poisoned their own people with dioxins and other emissions from incinerators, which they now wanted to sell to the rest of Asia.

"Incineration is waste management in the corporate, rather than the public interest," said Junilyn Sylvestre, who is a WNA delegate from the Philippine Clean Air Coalition.

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