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World Summit to be a “Zero Waste” Event

Apologies for Cross-Postings

World Summit to be a “Zero Waste” Event

Johannesburg, South Africa, June 10, 2002 -- The United Nations, along with 
the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Civil Society 
Secretariat, and the South African Government, have agreed to Green the 
Johannesburg Summit following Zero Waste principles. The Johannesburg 
Summit will bring together tens of thousands of governmental officials, 
non-governmental organizations, businesses and other civil society members 
from around the world to discuss the global environment and develop a plan 
of action for sustainable development.

Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary General of the United Nation responsible for 
the WSSD in Johannesburg this August, met with Earthlife Africa's Zero 
Waste team to highlight his support. "I support this project, and encourage 
all to reach as close to Zero Waste as is possible."

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Earthlife 
Africa (Johannesburg Branch) are leading the campaign to make the 
Johannesburg Summit a “Zero Waste” event. GAIA and Earthlife Africa have 
called on the event sponsors and organizers to conduct the event with an 
aim to divert 90% of the waste from being sent to landfills and to ensure 
that none is sent to incinerators.

Muna Lakhani, Zero Waste Project Coordinator for Earthlife Africa said, 
“Zero Waste refers to a range of policies and practices designed to achieve 
a sustainable use of materials and the minimum of waste discarded.  We want 
to design waste out of this event, and reuse, recycle and compost 
everything else.”

The numerous benefits to having the Johannesburg Summit be organized as a 
Zero Waste event include
·       Zero Waste is consistent with the recent Stockholm convention’s 
goal towards elimination of POPs, including incinerator by-products dioxin 
and furans.

·       Conducting a Zero Waste event demonstrates South Africa’s and the 
U.N. Environment Programme’s leadership on this issue.
·       Zero Waste systems will minimize the environmental impact of the 
WSSD itself and set the highest standards for future events.
·       Official commitment to Zero Waste now will help mobilize the 
resources needed to make this happen.
·       A Zero Waste Summit demonstrates its logistical and economic 
feasibility and launches South Africa on the path to becoming a Zero Waste 
society in the future with a legacy of redesign, minimisation, reuse, 
recycling and composting practices that others can follow.
·       A Zero Waste Summit will train people in the civil society 
secretariat, catering, hospitality and restaurant business, as well as 
other people involved in the Greening of the Summit, in applying Zero Waste 
·       Zero Waste practices and systems at the event will educate many 
thousands of South Africans and visitors on concepts of sustainability in 
action in very tangible ways that they can bring back to their own 
countries and implement after the Summit.
·       It will minimize waste dumping costs for the WSSD, as well as 
minimize landfill usage, and avoid incineration.
·       Zero Waste also holds great potential for livelihood generation and 
poverty alleviation as reuse, recycling and composting produce far more 
jobs than wasting.

"Zero Waste is indeed a significant milestone in the path to sustainable 
development," says Reshaad Ismail, Manager in the CEO's office within the 
Civil Society Secretariat. " Applying International Best Practice within 
the Global Forum will lead the way to showcasing truly sustainable 
development. The support by the United Nations is welcome indeed."

“GAIA members around the world congratulate the WSSD sponsors and 
organizers for committing to Zero Waste. Holding the decade’s premier 
environmental gathering as a Zero Waste event provides a real life example 
of the kind of solution needed to save the global environment at this 
critical time.” said Ann Leonard, GAIA’s International Co-coordinator.

GAIA is an international alliance working on waste reduction, with over 265 
members in more than 55 countries. Earthlife Africa is a volunteer driven 
South African organization that has been active on environmental and social 
issues since 1988.

Released Monday, 10 June 2002

Muna Lakhani, Zero Waste WSSD Project Coordinator, Earthlife Africa, 
Johannesburg Branch, Tel. +27(0)834-71-72-76; Fax. (27-11) 3394584; Email. 

Ann Leonard, International Co-coordinator, GAIA, Berkeley, California, USA, 
Tel (1-510)-524-4000, ext 102; Fax (1-510) 524-4228; Email: gaia@no-burn.org

Von Hernandez, International Co-coordinator, GAIA, Manila, the Philippines, 
Tel. (632) 434-7034; Fax (632) 434-7035; Mobile: (63)(0)917-526-3050; 
Email: von.Hernandez@dialb.greenpeace.org

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