Environmental Justice Groups Join for a Global Day of Action on Zero Waste

  • Environmental Justice groups around the world are joining a Global Day of Action to demand that our leaders go beyond recovery, to a future where zero waste practices drive clean air and water, more and better jobs, and a healthy environment for our families and communities, as our planet returns to a life-sustaining pathway where nothing and no one is wasted.

Over 150 groups across the globe have organized actions [50 events in 18 countries], signed petitions, or taken to social media to unite around a common blueprint for leaders to build a better future beyond COVID-19:

  1. Go zero waste, don’t incinerate. Regional and municipal COVID recovery plans and budgets should prioritize Zero Waste City systems, and phase out of false solutions like incineration.
  2. Include waste pickers and workers. Governments must include waste pickers and waste workers in these systems and provide them with a dignified living, as well as a seat at the decision-making table.
  3. Break free from plastic. The pandemic must not be used as an excuse to fuel the plastic production crisis, and governments should enact policies that drastically reduce its production and consumption.
  4. Divest from incinerators, invest in local solutions. As part of a green recovery, International Financial Institutions must divest from waste-to-energy and instead finance local and regional zero waste systems.
  5. Put communities first. Governments and financial institutions must be fully transparent and inclusive with regards to how taxpayer money is being spent, not least by ensuring that meaningful consultations are held with civil society and affected communities early on in the process.

Transitioning to zero waste systems has significant environmental, social, and economic benefits for any city.

Cecilia Allen, Global Projects Advisor at GAIA and contributor to the #BeyondRecovery publication series states, “At a time when governments are looking for ways to recover their economies, they need to realize the potential to create local, sustainable jobs by transitioning into zero waste systems. This will not only be good for the economy, but could also be the beginning of the end to the trap of eternal waste disposal, a headache for governments and a tragedy for the environment.”

GAIA members across the globe are uplifting these demands to their local and regional decisionmakers. In Asia Pacific, More than 50 environmental and human rights groups have urged the Asian Development Bank  (ADB) to stop funding waste-to-energy incinerators as the world faces climate, health, and economic crises.

In Africa members are taking action to both combat plastic pollution and build zero waste alternatives. For example, inDar es Salaam, GAIA member Nipe Fagio will be debuting a Materials Recovery Facility for vulnerable populations, such as waste pickers and female community members, to own and lead waste management and earn an income from it.

Ana Le Rocha, Executive Director of Nipe Fagio, states: “On this day, we demand that decentralized zero waste models become the rule for solid waste management in Tanzania and that communities are given an opportunity to embrace effective waste management by being presented with solutions that fit their needs. We take action for a healthy balance for people and the planet.”

For more information about the campaign, list of actions, and the #BeyondRecovery Publication series, visit: zerowasteworld.org/beyondrecovery

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Green Building Africa promotes the need for net carbon zero buildings and cities in Africa. We are fiercely independent and encourage outlying thinkers to contribute to the #netcarbonzero movement. Climate change is upon us and now is the time to react in a more diverse and broader approach to sustainability in the built environment. We challenge architects, property developers, urban planners, renewable energy professionals and green building specialists. We also challenge the funding houses and regulators and the role they play in facilitating investment into green projects. Lastly, we explore and investigate new technology and real-time data to speed up the journey in realising a net carbon zero environment for our children.

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