Press release on GDA 2005
Try Zero Waste!
Download press release in Armenian (MS WORD format – 25 KB)
Yerevan, the capital of Armenia with about half population of the country, like many other cities around the globe, is in the grip of a waste emergency and the usual collect, haul, dump or burn scheme is simply not working! These “quick fix solutions” only drag out and worsen our community’s garbage and toxic woes. Why? Because waste management or disposal does not tackle the source of waste: our wasteful production and consumption practices.
Fed up with the escalating disposal costs and the adverse impacts of dumps, landfills and incinerators, many communities today are opting for Zero Waste, setting ambitious targets and plans to reduce waste to zero or close to it. Zero Waste is a central issue for the Global Day of Action against Waste Incineration on 7 September 2005 involving over 100 citizens’ coalitions and groups in more than 50 countries, including Armenia.
Zero Waste is a new way of looking at an old problem. Instead of searching for new places to put waste, Zero Waste aims to create safe and healthy communities where products are better designed, then reused, repaired, recycled, or composted so that all materials are harmlessly reintegrated back to commerce or nature, eventually removing waste. As many products we buy today are not necessary or not planned to be reused, repaired and recycled, producers will have a key responsibility in designing wastes and toxics out of the system starting from the production chain, which will remove the obstacles for product reuse, repair and recycling.
Across the globe, many engaged communities are moving to Zero Waste by adopting an assortment of innovative, culturally-apt and winning strategies for educating the public on waste prevention and reduction; for reforming unsustainable production, consumption and disposal practices; for phasing out toxic chemicals in production processes; for the safe and convenient collection of recyclables and the composting of organics; for setting up community recycling centers; for developing markets for recycled materials; and for the creation of sustainable jobs and livelihood.
It’s worth mentioning that in Armenia till now even the organized open landfields don’t correspond to the sanitary and hygiene norms and very often these landfields smoke. In this way they contaminate the environment with several toxic substances, including dioxins that are considered one of the most persistent pollutants that affect the human organ-systems, including immune and reproductive systems. Besides that, there is a common tendency to burn the everyday waste in the streets, yards, gardens and open areas of the city. It’s enough to note, that only in c.Yerevan is generated about 430-450 tons of everyday waste per day, which makes annually 145 000 tons. All this waste without any processing is thrown away and partly smokes in the landfield of Noubarashen.
At present in Armenia there exist some programs that address the problems of collection and rendering harmless the generated waste. Attached to the Ministry of Urban Development is formed a Council, that is engaged in the above-mentioned issues and includes representatives from different ministries, departments and non-governmental organizations, including that of “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO.
Thus, it is an urgent problem to build waste processing factories instead of incinerators, which will favor the reduction and recycling of waste. In this term the “Zero waste” strategy must become the policy of the government.
Eliminating trash through Zero Waste will not occur overnight, and will only progress if we work together to build lasting solutions. As it is a whole-system approach, Zero Waste will necessitate the participation of all sectors, especially the policy makers, regulators, media, producers, vendors, and consumers. In the interest of public health and the environment, let us do away with wastes and toxics and choose Zero Waste.
Head of the NGO “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment”
Address: Baghramyan 24D, room 609, Yerevan , Armenia
Tel: /+37410/ 523604