• EU funds toxic projects in poor countries

                June 1, 2012
                by Angela Faloppa
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                According to a report of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), in developing countries waste projects  are supported by EU Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and are said to threaten livelihoods and to increase toxic emissions levels.

                The study claims that EU is funding waste-to-energy methods opposite to its own guidelines and also illegal in Member States.

                The accused projects include incinerator plants that burn reusable materials with no consideration for  waste prevention or recycling, such as the Changshu facility in eastern China.

                According to a recent  European Commission report, member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) exported around 5 million tons of paper waste, 4 million tons of metal waste and half a million tons of plastics in 2007.

                Many landfill gas projects funded by the CDM – which aims to promote investment in low-carbon technology in poorer countries by awarding carbon credits that can be bought by rich countries to offset their own emissions – deliberately increase emissions, claims the report.

                “Double standards are being used by European countries,” says GAIA’s climate policy campaigner Mariel Vilella. “On the one hand, European countries have committed to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills, promoting recycling, pollution control and emissions reduction. On the other hand, they are buying carbon credits from projects in developing countries that are effectively increasing emissions and jeopardize local communities.”

                The study identifies the UK, France, Spain and the Netherlands as having the worst record on supporting waste incineration and landfill projects in developing countries that would be illegal in the EU. Through the carbon market, UK companies have backed 71 landfill and incinerator projects in 21 countries not compliant with EU regulation, claim the authors.

                The report concludes it is essential to integrate grassroots recyclers in poor countries into the planning, development and implementation of municipal solid waste programs.

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