“Dumpsites are a global health and environmental emergency” states ISWA’s recent report, A Roadmap to Closing Waste Dumpsites.
We often talk about a “global waste emergency” and dumpsites represent one of the most shocking aspects of this emergency. Emergencies require action. This is why ISWA, the International Solid Waste Association, is calling on everyone, not just waste professionals, to sign our petition. We need as many people as possible to sign our declaration.
Why are we asking you to sign this? Dumpsites currently receive 40% of the world’s waste and serve as the only waste facility for 3-4 billion people across the world. The 50 biggest dumpsites referenced in ISWA’s report are directly affecting 64 million people, roughly the population of France.
But the numbers are even worse than this, the world’s dumpsites are spreading pollutants across the landscape; into our air and oceans, they damage the health and violate the human rights of the hundreds of millions of people that are living on or around them and they must be closed. The direct human impact is truly shocking.
This impact is demonstrated in this picture below of a dumpsite in Sierra Leone (taken by Brian E.C. McCarthy) in which you can see a family scavenging for metals to sell and food to eat. In the foreground are two pigs wallowing in human excrement. In these conditions, disease is spreading quickly and resistance to disease is minimal - the weather here is hot and humid, allowing bacteria to grow and evolve.
The family eating the pig will contract the disease. It will spread rapidly from them to others in the 1.4 million person community surrounding this dumpsite. Some of them may get on a plane to Paris or London where it will quickly jump and spread globally before we even realise what’s happened. This is a typical African dumpsite scene – but it’s not a local problem, it’s not an African problem, it’s our problem!.
That is why, over the coming years, closing dumpsites will be the number one priority of ISWA as we aim to raise awareness of the unacceptable way in which waste is still dealt with. ISWA will set clear examples of how to close dumpsites in a sustainable manner and offer support and help to countries and cities looking to take the positive step to close their dumpsites.
Our mission is an initiative which has the potential to become a global movement that will result in substantial health, environmental and economic improvements for millions of people. The first step in our long-term goal is to simple: we need as many people as possible to sign our declaration.
We would also like to make clear that this is not just a local problem, this affects us all. We will use your signatures and support to campaign for the financing of alternatives to dumpsites.
The closure of dumpsites and setting up of sustainable alternatives will substantially reduce climate change emissions, stem the tide of plastic that is destroying our oceans and improve the health and wellbeing of everyone on the planet.
By replacing open dumpsites with safe and sensible alternatives for managing waste, dependent communities will also benefit from improved education, training and employment.
ISWA is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals and a world without dumpsites will mean we are closer to achieving these. If the situation does not change, dumpsites will account for up to 10% of the global GHG emissions by 2025.
So once again, we urge you to read the declaration in full and sign it. Once you have signed it, share it amongst your friends and colleagues and encourage them to do the same. Let’s close the world’s biggest dumpsites!
If you are interested in ISWA’s mission to Close the Dumpsites, please take a look at our report A Roadmap to Closing Waste Dumpsites and for more see http://www.iswa.org, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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