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WECF Joins NGOs to Call Against Incineration of Oceans Plastic Waste

WECF signs open letter to the Ocean Conservancy regarding the report "Stemming the Tide"

08.12.2015 |

WECF signed the open letter to the Ocean Conservancy regarding the report "Stemming the Tide". This report increases attention to plastic pollution of the oceans and it recommends the incineratiors as a desired 'solution' to this problem. Thus, the Ocean Conservancy drives the implementation of these plants in the mentioned countries, like China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. With the open letter, several environmental NGOs criticize this mindset because of its negative environmental and social long-term effects.

The main paradox is that the incineration of plastic waste not only "allows" waste production, but also contributes to the increase of it. In this case, plastic material won't be a waste anymore, but a resource for the industry. In consequence, some actors of the economy would be interested in the increment of production, consumption, and waste production cycle.

Moreover, waste burning causes more air pollution in these cities, leading to environmental and health diseases.

For society, these types of large-scale investments mean that less community control of the technology is possible, thus non-predictable risks are higher.

In the open letter, NGOs point out several existing solutions that aim to decrease the waste production, thus plastics production too. For example, "decentralized waste separation and collection, increased resource recovery, composting, recycling and waste reduction, which have opened economic opportunities for millions of waste workers" (Source: GAIA, 2012). The key features of these methods are the small scale and locality, active public activity and decentralized, controllable processes.

With the open letter, WECF along with several other NGOs aim to influence the Ocean Conservancy to change its way of thinking about the current plastic waste management and to end the promotion of incineration implementation in Asia. The other goal is to show and offer an adequate path to a real solution for the problem.

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