The Kurit-Lagting, a collective artistic collaboration of Bicolano artists from Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate and Camarines provinces together with Sorsogon Arts Council and alternative media groups, Shoot-in-Action Multimedia and Quimlat Multimedia, expressed alarm and opposition on waste incineration projects around the globe through Twitter and Facebook last Friday, June 26, 2020.
With signages made of paper and wood using paints, colored pens and inks, the artists conveyed their call-to-action, “NO TO WASTE INCINERATION” and “NO TO WASTE-TO-ENERGY PROJECT” in support of the #GoForZeroWaste national movement against plastic pollution. The movement is spearheaded by different climate and environmental groups including BreakFreeFromPlastic, Greenpeace, Ecowaste Coalition, Healthcare Without Harm Asia, No Burn Pilipinas and many more.
“Burning of waste ejects toxic materials into the atmosphere. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, masks, disposable rubber gloves, and personal protective equipment are being thrown into the trash. When these are burned in incineration facilities, they release toxic substances and cancer-causing pollutants without us knowing it,” Kurit-Lagting co-founder, Joseph Bausa said.
” We are planning to have more creative activities in the future like exhibits, and workshops to educate people about environmental pollution through art and burning of waste is one of the environmental issues we are concerned with,” he further said.
In the Philippines, the Senate Energy Committee Technical Working Group also continues to push for incineration projects. Now on its 4th TWG meeting this coming Tuesday (June 30, 2020), they will discuss again the bills and regulatory framework for waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies in line with its thrust to advance renewable energy in the country.
“There are many ways to treat our waste not only through incineration. There are means of disinfection like chlorination and sterilization and we can also use microwave treatment. We are currently working on a video that explains how incineration causes emissions of toxic gases, which is a clear violation of the Clean Air Act and Ecological Solid Waste Management Act,” Quimlat Multimedia Creative Director, Resmundo Demdam said.
“Residential waste reached a very high percentage in our waste stream during the onset of the pandemic and we need effective waste treatment methods to be strictly enforced. As artists, we need to step up and be proactive in disseminating information through art on how to manage our waste,” Sorsogon Arts Council spokesperson, Totep Perez also added.
As the country struggles to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, proper waste management must be implemented by putting the utmost importance on public safety measures in dealing with waste in order to protect public health.
The artists also plan to establish the Sorsogon Initiatives For Culture and Arts Development (SIFCAD) and to have more online activities and digital actions through collective and proactive collaboration among various sectors related to the environment.