Event held on eve of International Zero Waste Month 2023

Sabir Hussain

ISLAMABAD: The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific took a bold step forward in unveiling the truth behind the plastic pollution crisis through a waste assessment and brand audit (WABA) and media briefing event on Tuesday as a part of International Zero Waste Month 2023.

With participation from Ocean Conservancy, the ceremony shed more light on the narrative impact of the GAIA network’s brand audits. “We have carried the weight and responsibility of waste for too long while our reality and the community solutions we have developed are ignored,” said Froilan Grate, GAIA Asia Pacific Coordinator.

“This brand audit with GAIA, Mother Earth Foundation, Ecowaste Coalition, and Ocean Conservancy shows the commitment to work towards reducing waste, moving away from false solutions, acknowledging the work happening on the ground and the most important, restoring justice where it was previously overlooked,” he added.

“We cannot solve the plastic pollution crisis without reducing virgin plastic production, especially single-use plastics,” stated Nicholas Mallos, Ocean Conservancy’s Vice President of Ocean Plastics.

“This has to be our first priority. We are grateful for the incredible work that GAIA has done to shed light on this issue and hope to learn from its members. We look forward to working together by leveraging each of our organizations’ strengths to eliminate plastic pollution,” he continued.

Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator of the #breakfreefromplastic movement said, “For years, the public has been conditioned to believe that the problem of plastic pollution, now manifesting in the unprecedented, pernicious and wide-ranging contamination of life, was caused by their undisciplined ways and the failure of governments to implement waste management systems. Our brand audits have now exposed the causes of this crisis and it is mainly due to the irresponsible practice by corporations of saturating our societies with single-use plastics with no consideration about how they can be managed in an environmentally safe manner.”

Ecowaste Coalition campaigner Coleen Salamat told, “The real issue is the export of waste and waste-to-energy (WtE) incineration technologies to developing countries. We are faced with truckloads of waste that we have no means of handling. From products packed in sachets to WtE incineration projects and waste colonialism has sadly become a norm.”

“It is never too late to turn things around. Communities around the world are discovering the power of zero waste solutions. Through the restorative justice process, we will continue to expose the truth of waste crisis and it will be more than just a wake-up call to FMCGs and purveyors of false narratives, but cold water splashed over their faces,” said Grate.

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