Durban COP 17: Waste Pickers Tout Only Truly Green Solution to Municipal Waste, Decry Dirty Energy (news and photos)

Note:  This morning the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers held a “permitted” protest inside the UN compound here in Durban.  After the first photo is a media release from GAIA (Global Alliance of  Incinerator Alternatives)  explaining the position of Waste pickers internationally.  The protest was almost stopped by UN security, telling organizers that they needed their signs and banners approved by the UN before they could be displayed.  The protest went on anyway. The waste pickers went to their approved area and then emptied trash on the ground, chanted, showed their signs and then cleaned up the area.  I have a photograph of an UN security person believed to be Flemming Rosendkrans.  He wore no identification badge and refused to tell me his name.  He dictated the orders to organizers along with a mysterious woman who also said she was with the UN and also refused to disclose her identity after I identified myself showed her and the badgeless officer my UN accredited press credentials.  That photo and and additional photos follow GAIA’s copy below.  All photos by  Orin Langelle/GJEP on assignment for Z Magazine.

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

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

The CDM incinerator in Chengdu Luo Dai, China:

The Bisasar landfill in Durban, South Africa:

The Usina Incinerator in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil:

Mysterious UN woman on left refused to disclose her name. The man in the center who wore no identification badge and refused to identify himself is believed to be Flemming Rosendkrans.

Waste pickers dumped waste collected from the UN and then picked it up in their protest

Waste picker makes sure all the trash is picked up at the end of the protest

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization

0 Responses to Durban COP 17: Waste Pickers Tout Only Truly Green Solution to Municipal Waste, Decry Dirty Energy (news and photos)

  1. Stephen Klaber

    This is definitely a way to reduce the waste stream, but it only reduces it. A good pre-processor for waste to energy, but no more. And when we get waste generation down to size, they’ll starve.