Skip to comments.World Summit Generates Tons of Trash - "Clearly a lot more education needs to be done"
Posted on 09/01/2002 1:17:03 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - While delegates attending the World Summit wrangled over how best to save the planet's rapidly dwindling resources, they gave scant indication of leading by example.
The 10-day summit, billed as the largest U.N. conference ever held, is expected to generate between 300 and 400 tons of trash, and so far, just 20 percent of it is being recycled.
"We never had any illusions this would be a green summit," Mary Metcalfe, the environment minister of the Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, told reporters Friday. "At one stage we were hoping to achieve 90 percent diversion (of waste) from landfill sites."
Together with the U.N. Development Program, Metcalfe's office is leading a project - known as the Johannesburg Climate Legacy - to monitor and minimize the summit's environmental impact. It's the first time that it's been attempted at any U.N. conference.
Toilets have been fitted with flushing systems to minimize water usage, while two venues hosting summit fringe events are being run with renewable energy sources. Recycling bins have been put in conference halls, but they've ended up as replacements for garbage cans, filled with all sorts of non-recyclable waste.
Consumption barometers were erected in the summit venues, too, graphically illustrating the extent to which resources are being consumed and recycled.
Nonetheless, trash compactors erected at the back of the main conference center have been working overtime, and municipal workers have made several trips daily to empty overflowing trash containers.
The move to make the summit as environmentally friendly as possible was gaining momentum daily, said Nikhil Sekhran of the UNDP's Global Environmental Fund.
"The system is completely new," he said. "Clearly a lot more education needs to be done."
Hundreds of organizations have collectively produced mountains of pamphlets, press statements and brochures, hoping to draw attention to their multitude of causes during the summit.
Organizers estimate 5 million sheets of paper will be consumed during the gathering.
The conference's 45,000 delegates are also plowing through other resources. On average each of them is using 53 gallons of water a day, and the city's electricity consumption has soared.
The legacy project also estimated that flying delegates to Johannesburg and transporting them around the city will generate nearly 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
The Johannesburg Climate Legacy project hopes to offset this by raising nearly $3 million from participating countries, corporations and individuals, and using it to implement 16 projects to reduce carbon emissions.
Only $300,000 has been raised, and only seven of the 192 countries at the summit have pledged donations.
Must be for all those extra flushes!
A convention center worker prepares waste paper from the World Summit on Sustainable Development prior to it beng compressed and recycled, Friday Aug. 30 2002 in Johannesburg. The summit is expected to generate 300-400 tons of trash and just 20 per cent of this is being recycled. (AP Photo/Obed Zilwa)
In other words, don't take a dump while you're there...
And unfiltered at that...
But most of the protesters were poor, ordinary South Africans who hoped to deliver a message to the leaders attending the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development. "Water for the thirsty!" shouted some demonstrators as they marched through the township of Alexandra toward the marble-lined convention center where the leaders will meet. "Light for the people! Homes for the homeless!" As the police followed in armored trucks and helicopters circled overhead, the protesters waved banners calling for the dismantling of the World Bank, an end to privatization and greater access to water and land for the destitute. The crowd condemned Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, but reserved some of the bitterest attacks for President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who was criticized for not tending to the needs of the poor.
"People are crying here," said Muzi Tshabalala, 24, who lives in a one-room shack in Alexandra's teeming shantytown with his parents and siblings. "We must have bathrooms in the houses and ceilings. President Mbeki makes promises, but afterward he forgets about us." The leaders have already agreed that the meeting's action plan must help alleviate poverty, protect wildlife and deliver electricity and housing to the poor. Officials hope to build on the ambitious, but poorly carried out, agenda set at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 10 years ago. But government negotiators, who have been meeting all week, are deadlocked. Developing countries want the world to agree to halve by 2015 the number of people without sanitation. They also want the United States and Europe to reduce or eliminate the subsidies that protect their businesses and farmers from competition from poor nations.
The United States has balked at the target for sanitation and, along with officials of the European Union, has refused demands to specify reductions in agricultural subsidies. American officials say they have already agreed to increase foreign aid to the poor and to begin partnerships with poor nations, civic groups and businesses to expand access to water, electricity and sanitation in the developing world. Negotiators here have already agreed to offer incentives for investment in cleaner forms of production, to provide additional resources to keep deserts from spreading and to meet another goal by 2015: to reduce by half the number of people living on less than $1 a day. But none of these commitments are groundbreaking; the commitment on poverty, for instance, was adopted two years ago at the Millennium Summit at the United Nations. [End]
Annan Visits Roots of Mankind, Summit Deadlocked Sun Sep 1, 2002 - 4:23 AM ET - By Matt Daily [Full Text] JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and South African President Thabo Mbeki will explore the roots of mankind on Sunday, leaving officials back at the Earth Summit to bicker over how to save humanity from itself. The two leaders will visit South Africa's famed Sterkfontein Caves, a World Heritage site just north of Johannesburg known as the cradle of humankind, where ape-man fossils up to 3.5 million years old have been unearthed. The trip will be the first in Annan's four-day visit to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg where more than 100 world leaders hope to agree a sweeping United Nations plan to reduce poverty without poisoning the planet.
Environment ministers hit a serious snag in the small hours, delegates said, in overnight talks aimed at reconciling poor nations' demands for fairer trade and more aid with rich countries seeking less corruption and more democracy in return. However, there was progress on a number of topics and new discussions after sunrise appeared to be getting things back on track, one European negotiating source said. "We had a problem during the night when things seemed to be going backwards," the source told Reuters. "But as of now it looks like we might be solving this." The key issue involved trade and aid finance. Problems at the summit have ranged from "green" energy and farm subsidies to sewers in the Third World. Ministers have one more day to clinch a deal before their leaders arrive on Monday. "Now we're down to the crunch questions," Nitin Desai, conference secretary general, told Reuters late on Saturday.
States agreed a compromise early on Sunday on protecting endangered animals and plants, calling for a significant reduction in the rate of extinction by 2010. That agreement was weaker than a biodiversity pact set earlier this year under which countries said they would halt the rate of biodiversity loss. "It's watered down," said European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom, but was pushed through by what she called "the unholy alliance" of the United States and developing countries. Green groups were angered by what they saw as a rollback of the pact to save the 10,000 plant and animal species the United Nations has said were at risk. "These same ministers said six months ago they would halt the rate of loss. This is stunning," said Greenpeace's Remi Parmentier.
DEFIANT MUGABE Among the first foreign leaders to arrive was Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, in a defiant mood about his policy of taking land from white farmers and giving it to landless blacks. South Africa's Mbeki was also in strident form, telling a rally in a Johannesburg slum that the summit must put an end to the "global apartheid" which has left millions mired in poverty. "There is no reason that the poor of the world should be poor for ever," he said in a speech at a stadium in the squalid Alexandra township. "The time has come for action."
With a flood of foreign dignitaries due to descend on the wealthy suburb of Sandton where the conference is being held on Sunday, the police remained on red alert. However they were relieved the first major protest march passed without incident. For all the firebrand slogans such as "Osama bin Laden! Bomb Sandton" eight hours of rallies ended peacefully, delighting the hosts of South Africa's biggest international event since the end of its apartheid-era isolation. [End]
What the greenies don't tell you is that their goal is sort of misleading as written here; they intend to accomplish the goal not by letting people get wealthier but by abortion, disease, riots, murder, etc. They'll probably give Mugabe an award at the next earth summit for his skillful use of famine in reducing the number of people who live on less than a dollar a day.
But I thought these greenies didn't want anyone to enjoy the advantages of flushing toilets (there was a thread on this very topic two days ago)...Ooops, I forgot, they didn't want anyone but blood-sucking enviro-elitists to benefit from modern sanitation.
(BTW, good morning, all. I've been up since 3 AM nursing a sick pooch who ate too much fresh-cut grass that I got from my neighbor for my mulching/compost project. Hear that greenies, I actually recycle my neighbor's yard waste.)
Always the symbolism, never worthwhile results.
Oh, I forgot ....AND the America bashing.
"polluting the AIR?" That's not very nice! Better to smell the smoke in the air then flatulence from the bad FOOD!
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