Don’t Fuel Our Destruction

Communities to Hold a Day of Action Against Incineration as the Asia Clean Energy Forum Goes Underway


Manila, Philippines – June 10, 2023 – The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives  (GAIA) in Asia Pacific will hold a Day of Action Against Incineration during the Asian Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) happening from June 13 to 16, 2023 at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters in Manila. Seeing this year’s ACEF as another venue for promoting false solutions such as waste-to-energy (WtE) incineration, the event aims to bring attention to the urgent need to stop WtE incinerators and raise awareness on its impact on people’s health, livelihood, and the environment.

GAIA Asia Pacific Climate and Clean Energy Campaigner, Yobel Novian Putra, stresses, “Incineration is a dirty and dangerous way both to generate energy and dispose of waste. Incinerators emit harmful pollutants such as dioxins, heavy metals, microplastics, greenhouse gases, and other toxic residues. Many of these pollutants are under-regulated or not regulated at all, placing the protection of the environment and public health at risk. It is also a highly carbon-intensive and energy-intensive process that heavily relies on fossil fuels to function.”

Recognizing the detrimental effects of WtE incineration, the European Union (EU), despite its advanced technology and monitoring systems, has excluded burning waste as part of the transition towards a circular economy, highlighting that it does significant harm to its environmental objectives of waste prevention and recycling.

However, in the Asia Pacific region, international financing institutions (IFIs) such as the ADB continue to put forward WtE incineration as a single solution to waste and energy issues. Mayang Azurin, GAIA Asia Pacific’s Deputy Director states, “IFIs including the ADB should stop investing in technologies that are not only harmful to the environment but are also against people’s fundamental rights to health and livelihood. Support for waste incineration is against the goal of a just energy transition that the bank proudly claims it champions.”

She adds,” WtE incinerators not only create debt traps for cities as maintenance and other operational costs are too costly to sustain but WtE incinerators also displace waste pickers and workers from the waste supply chain both physically and economically. Waste-burning facilities are often built at landfills and in so doing, uproot waste pickers from their communities and deprive them of their source of livelihood. This will happen for at least two decades once a plant is operational and will suck public funds away from improving their livelihood.”

In the Philippines, ADB was instrumental in providing policy advice in favor of WtE, marketing, and assisting local government units to accept and review bids despite a standing ban on incinerators through various technical assistance projects. Cebu City was one of the city recipients of technical assistance from ADB which results in an increasing number of WtE incinerator proposals in the City endangering protected areas and communities.

“The ADB is the largest development investor in WtE incinerators and we strongly recommend the cessation of their support. They are burning the planet, our money, and  our lives.” Azurin asserts.

This week, it’s time for action and to stand against waste incinerators, GAIA Asia Pacific and allies are calling out governments and businesses, the ADB in particular, to phase out incineration and invest in clean energy solutions. Incineration is a false solution to the waste problem. It is dirty, dangerous, and too expensive for developing countries to afford. We need to move forward to a Zero Waste future.

GAIA is calling on to immediately:

Have a moratorium and retirement of all existing incinerators;

Cancel all planned incinerator projects; and

Stop all support for new incinerators.

The Day of Action Against Incineration will feature a variety of events and here are some ways you can participate in the Day of Action Against Incineration:

Write to your elected officials and tell them to stop funding incinerators.

Contact financial institutions and tell them to stop investing in incinerators.

Spread the word about the dangers of incinerators on social media and in your community by joining us using these hashtags: using the hashtags #FalseSolutionsExposed, #Burnt, and #DayofActionAgainstIncineration

Together, we can create a better future without incinerators.

For photos and videos of the Day of Action Media Briefing at the Saturday News Forum, click here.