The Ocean Conservatory’s Call for Mass Incineration in Asia: Disposability for Profit, Fantasies of Containment, & Colonialism

The Ocean Conservatory would like to burn 80% of the waste in coastal Asia. To help this happen, they would like to change national laws to allow US and European companies to build incineration infrastructure, since waste, and particularly disposable plastic waste, is inevitable.

These are a few of the recommendations in a recent Ocean Conservatory report called Stemming the Tide. The report, released on September 30, 2015, looks for solutions to the ongoing marine plastics problem. The steering committee for the report includes the World Wildlife FundCoca Cola (a company that makes disposable plastics), Dow Chemical (a company that makes plastic feed stock and plasticizers such as BPA), and the American Chemistry Council (the main lobby group for the chemical and plastics industries). While any solution to plastic pollution needs to include these parties, many recommendations in the report appear to prioritize their interests, the reduction or elimination of plastic pollution coming in second to those priorities.

There are a number of dangerous slights of hand in the report, and there has been a response by a wide range of expert groups that deal with waste management and marine plastics to critique it (see list below). Chief among these critiques is an open letter to Ocean Conservancy with concerns about the report’s conclusions. This letter is accompanied by a technical critique of the report. Both are underwritten by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), a network of over 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries “whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration.”

The open letter and technical critique do an excellent job of looking at the impacts of the proposed mass incineration, including: the health and environmental impacts of burning so much waste, particularly in countries that already struggle with air pollution and where 69% of current incinerators have records of violating environmental air pollution standards; the costs of building and maintaining this infrastructure and what it means for debt in these countries; and how burning waste and plastic products perpetuates climate-changing fossil fuel extraction from rapidly-depleting sources, among other issues. Also see research compiled by The Energy Justice Network.

BBC News article about local protests against incinerators in China from April 2015.

BBC News article about local protests against incinerators in China from April 2015.

The other major problem with the report is that it focuses almost exclusively on end-of-pipe solutions that deal with plastic disposables once they’re made. Yet various research groups who specialize in marine plastics, from 5 Gyres to the Algalita Marine Research Foundation to Plymouth University’s Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, among many others, advocate for the reduction or even elimination of disposable plastics as the main and best way to impact marine plastics. Otherwise it’s like trying to bail out a boat without plugging the hole.  If we want to mitigate marine plastics, we need industry to stop making so many disposable plastics that flow into waste streams and waterways to begin with. 

There are several other cultural and economic premises underlying of the Ocean Conservatory’s call for foreign-backed mass incineration that are also of concern, including: 1) Disposability as an economic strategy, 2) The fantasy of containment, and 3) Colonialism by waste management.

Disposability is an economic strategy

Life Magazine. August 1, 1955

Life Magazine. August 1, 1955

Modern disposability was invented fairly recently. In 1956, Lloyd Stouffer, editor of Modern Packaging Inc., famously (and controversially at the time) declared: “The future of plastics is in the trash can” (Stouffer 1963: 1). Stouffer’s idea addressed an emerging problem for industry. Products tended to be durable, easy to fix, and limited in variation (such as color or style). With this mode of design, markets were quickly saturating (Packard 1960; Cohen 2003). Opportunities for growth, and thus profit, were rapidly diminishing, particularly after America’s Great Depression and the two World Wars, where an ethos of preservation, reuse, and frugality was cultivated. In response, industry intervened on a material level and developed disposability through planned obsolescence, single-use items, cheap materials, throw-away packaging, fashion, and conspicuous consumption. To make money, American industry designed a shift in values that circulated goods through, rather than into, the consumer realm. Modern disposability was inventedThe truism that humans are inherently wasteful came into being at a particular time and place, by design.

To save even more money, industry constantly “light weight” or “dematerialize” plastics, making them thinner and lighter so they use less materials and cost less to transport. This results in what the report calls the “plastics paradox”: “the inevitable forces of innovation and cost optimization mean that companies that manufacture and use plastic resin are constantly seeking to dematerialize their products [… which] has an unintended consequence: at the end of each product’s current use, there simply is not enough economic value to make collection of the material for conventional recycling financially viable.” That is, most disposable plastics aren’t economically viable to recycle (also see MacBride 2013). This isn’t actually a paradox, since plastics were never designed to be recycled in the first place, though there are one or two exceptions. Different plastics have different melting points, have different proprietary chemicals in them, and are difficult to distinguish from one another, making them hard to recycle in the first place even if they weren’t light-weighted. Stemming the Tide takes this as a permanent characteristic of plastics rather than advocating to redesign plastics or reduce the production of disposables.

The fantasy of containment

Light-weighting also means plastics regularly wash or blow out of waste infrastructure and into waterways, even if an area has modern waste infrastructure. Stemming the Tide heavily cites a well known scientific paper by Jambeck et al called “Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean” that estimates the scales and locations of plastics flowing from land into the ocean. The paper has been used by The Ocean Conservatory, and others, to blame middle income countries with rapidly growing economies for the marine waste crisis. The lead author of the scientific article, Jenna Jambeck, cautions against this finger pointing:

“We had to use country-level data to build out our framework – so we do indeed have a list of countries that are top contributors. And this has been getting a lot of attention so I want to be clear about how we think about this list – it is not about finger pointing, but examining things that strongly influence a country’s rank in this list: first, the population density in the coastlines – how many people are generating waste within 50 kilometers of the sea? Next, how MUCH plastic waste is each person generating? And finally the mismanaged waste percentage plays a role – how much of what all those people throw away accidentally ends up in the ocean?”

This means that the United States, because of the large coastal population is also a main contributor.

Jambeck et al’s article has shifted how people are thinking about marine plastics. It highlights how marine plastics come from land. The Ocean Conservatory reportfocuses heavily–almost exclusively–on “leakage” and its elimination. The problem is, plastics leak. All waste leaks. Take my local landfill, Robinhood Bay Landfill, as an example. It’s located in the third windiest city in the world. To keep plastics from blowing away, the sanitation engineer at the site has erected fences, invested as much money as he can in putting heavy fill over top of deposited waste, and even invented a net to go around trucks when they dump their municipal waste. With all of these innovations to keep waste in its place, this is what the trees next to the landfill look like:

Plastics escape the landfill, not because of poor waste management, but because they’re plastic. Consider oil pipelines and tankers. Those carry valuable commodities and are highly regulated. They leak all the time (North Dakota had over 300 in two years). Nuclear waste is the most regulated and controlled waste in North America. It leaks all the time (Shrader-Frechette, 1993). “Eliminating leakage” is not a case of better waste management that can be solved by incineration or any other kind of waste management; leakage is a property of waste. As Jennifer Gabrys has written, “all sinks are spills” (2009). It’s how waste rolls.

The idea that you can stop leakage is based on a fantasy of containment. It’s also a way to divert attention away from the top of the pipe– where and how many plastics are being produced–towards the end of the pipe when plastics have already been made and disposed of, and industry has already externalized those costs. The open letter from GAIA highlights how stopping waste from flowing into the ocean isn’t an issue of leakage, but an issue of production. If you reduce or eliminate the production of plastic disposables, you reduce or eliminate its entrance into the ocean.


Colonialism by waste management

Colonialism is the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of colony in one territory by a political power from another territory. It’s characterized by unequal power relationships between the expanders and the local population.

There is a growing literature on what is called “toxic colonialism” where toxic or harmful wastes are exported from developed countries or regions to less developed areas, making “sacrifice zones” that bear the brunt of the ill effects of economic growth and profit while benefiting from them the least. However, there is less attention to how colonialism can be perpetuated through the management of waste rather than the distribution of waste (though there is some research on the topic. See Dillon 2014, Gidwani and Reddy 2011, Zahara 2015).

Industries in the global north such as Coca Cola and Dow Chemical, among many others, design products for the type of waste management available in the global north: landfills and recycling infrastructure. But when that waste is exported to the global south, northern waste infrastructure does not exist. Southern countries are then blamed for “poor” or “inappropriate” waste infrastructure, and northern companies swoop in to “help” the south deal with their “shortcomings.” The export of northern-style wastes to the global south to expand northern markets and increase northern profit creates sacrifice zones, which then provides additional opportunities for northern industries to make more money cleaning up– at the cost of countries in the global south.

The report notes that,”Private-sector investments will likely be required to reach the reduction targets. The chemical and consumer-goods industries could help catalyze public and private investments by strategically reducing capital costs through, for example, equity participation, first-loss positions, offtake agreements, and price guarantees.” Historically, the “de-risking” of private investment from the global north into the global south has resulted in spirals of debt and dependance that has has impeded  political, ecological, and economic stability.


There are troubling economic, political, and social assumptions beneath The Ocean Conservatory report to stem marine plastics. The report skips over reducing or eliminating the source of the problem–the increasing manufacture of plastic disposables and their export to the global south–and focuses on solutions that not only allow industry to continue to profit from the production of waste, but also provides new avenues for colonial expansion and profit. They’ve partnered with the right groups– industry is the best place to make large-scale changes in the production of plastic pollution–but their recommendations benefit northern industry first and benefit marine plastics and the global south second (though GAIA argues that they don’t benefit the global south at all). The open letter to The Ocean Conservatory from GAIA, which partners with governments and groups in the global south, is below.
If you would like to add your name or organization as a signatory, email email Monica Wilson

Open Letter to Ocean Conservancy regarding the Report “Stemming the Tide”

October 2, 2015
By Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)

We, in the environmental, health, climate, and social-justice movements from the Asia-Pacific region, are deeply concerned about the recent report “Stemming the Tide” commissioned by Ocean Conservancy.

We are writing this open letter to Ocean Conservancy to state our response to the recommendations and assumptions made in this report, and to offer an initial technical critique of the technologies and solutions put forth here. This critique is available here. Through this letter, we also want to share our heartfelt reactions to the report.

We are organizations and cities that are working hard to promote local solutions to waste and wasting based on shifting mindsets about how we use our resources, on engaging with communities and governments to create local solutions, and on changing unsustainable systems rooted in an endless cycle of extraction, production, consumption and disposal. We work with our cities and communities to conserve what’s left of our quickly-diminishing natural resources by pushing for proper resource use and management through the reduction of waste and problematic products, redesign, reuse, repair, re-purposing, recycling, composting, and other solutions that make best use of public funds and create opportunities for livelihood and active public engagement.

And we are deeply dismayed and offended that a report aiming to reduce plastics pollution in oceans seems to have missed fundamental facts to support this goal, and is recommending “solutions” that go strongly against and may well dismantle real solutions being implemented in countries mentioned in the report, which so many have worked so hard to achieve.

We share the same concerns that the report’s authors state: there is too much plastic pollution in the world today, not just in our oceans but in our schools, communities and cities. We agree that the plastic menace and the improper disposal of plastic and waste in general are causing massive damage to public health, the environment and the climate. We further agree that there is an urgent need to properly manage waste and plastics in a way that will not further harm human health and already-fragile ecosystems, and cause more irreversible damage to the climate. This need cannot be overestimated.

The report’s foreword states this: We believe this is the best solution to the problem of plastic waste leaking into the ocean—stopping leakage in the first place, rather than treating it after pollution has already occurred. This is puzzling to us, because this statement misses what seems to be glaringly obvious: the best solution to reducing plastics going into oceans is to reduce the generation of so much plastic and disposable products in the first place, and to create systems and implement solutions that work toward that goal, not against it. Consumer goods designed for the dump naturally get dumped, which is why disposable plastics end up in dumpsites, landfills, waterways, and the oceans. We agree that the focus should be on land-based solutions to prevent plastics from entering waterways, yet the recommendations in this report do not go far enough into the lifecycle of products. In order to stop the leakage of plastic waste, we must stop plastic waste itself. Real solutions pathways need to include redesigning products, packaging and overarching systems, and preventing the massive growth that the plastics industry currently aspires to achieve.

The authors of this report are seemingly resigned to the rapid expansion of global plastics production, which is projected to increase from 250 million metric tonnes in 2015 to 380 million MT in 2025, rather than the responsible approach of designing out problematic products in the first place. This mindset will certainly allow for more creation of waste, but we simply refuse to buy into this kind of thinking. This is why many NGOs in the Philippines, Indonesia, India, China and other countries in Asia are working with local government units (LGUs) and national governments to implement policies at the local up to the national level, banning or regulating problematic and disposable products.

We are also alarmed that the report puts heavy emphasis on using incineration technologies as one of the primary “solutions” to address plastics leakage. It has grossly underestimated how much it would cost to build these incinerators, much less operate them on a daily basis, and it glosses over the health and environmental impacts of burning so much waste. It is alarming that it is recommending to increase incineration rates in the countries mentioned, when citizens of these countries already struggle with so much air pollution in their cities.

Was it even considered at all in the making of this report that in the countries mentioned, citizens are working hard to promote solutions that do not rely on incineration, and that they may not want polluting and toxic technologies in their communities in the first place? There are hundreds of solutions being implemented in these countries that rely on community-based approaches of decentralized waste separation and collection, increased resource recovery, composting, recycling and waste reduction, that have opened economic opportunities for millions of waste workers and are being sustained at costs that are a fraction of what it would take to build an incinerator. Some of these stories can be found in the report, “On the Road to Zero Waste: Successes and Lessons From Around the World” a collection of case studies documenting places making real progress towards Zero Waste goals.

To suggest waste-to-energy incineration and refuse-derived fuel as medium-term solutions to plastic pollution also ignores why we need to wean off fossil fuel products such as petroleum and plastics right now. Burning waste and plastic products perpetuates climate changing fossil fuel extraction from rapidly-depleting sources. It is also one of the worst things we can do for our oceans—incineration releases extremely high levels of greenhouse gases, which in turn lead to rising sea levels, increased ocean toxicity, and destruction of coral reefs and other marine life through climate change.

“This report tries to set back all the hard work and efforts of local groups and frontline communities who have been fighting incinerators and campaigning for genuine upstream solutions to the waste crisis,” said Von Hernandez, Goldman Prize Winner and former Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “Any solution that aggravates a problem is a false solution. Waste-to-energy incinerators and resource-derived fuels sustain the demand for new plastics for every piece that they burn, thus maintaining the current resource-extractive mindset of the industry – and this we must not allow to continue,” he adds.

In China, where it is suggested to increase burning waste up to 80%, non-government organizations working on waste have documented that 18-30% of incinerators have no capacity to meet environmental regulations. Out of 160 operating MSW incinerators, 40% have incomplete air emissions data available to the public, and among those that have data, 69% have records of violating new environmental air pollution standards.

“Given the terribly low compliance rates and bad transparency showed above by both government literature and civil society report, the expansion of MSW incineration in China could result in unacceptable increase of pollutant emission, more environmental law violations and higher costs of public health. More importantly, relying on incineration will continuously impede China’s efforts of pursuing sustainable waste management, which is based on prevention, separation and recycling/composting,” states Mao Da, co-founder of the organization Rock Energy and Environment Institute.

It is also unconscionable that the climate impacts of allowing the increased generation and incineration of plastics materials were all but ignored in this report, when disaster risks brought by climate change have already caused massive damage to human lives, homes, public infrastructure, agriculture and economies especially in countries like the Philippines.

It is unsurprising, however, that this report asks us to manage an ever-increasing supply of plastics rather than shift the underlying economic problems with our “dig, burn, dump” economy, as the corporations on the Steering Committee of this report (including Dow Chemical, the American Chemistry Council, and Coca Cola) all benefit from our current system. These are not companies that will support the kinds of solutions we really need, and they have a track record of making decisions with disastrous consequences for human rights, public health, and the climate.

We appreciate the huge undertaking that went into this report, the admirable effort to critically examine how plastics enter our oceans and the effort to offer solutions to address this crucial issue. But let’s not trade marine health for children’s health — we know we can have both.

Signed by:

Asia-Pacific organizations and networks
China Zero Waste Alliance (CZWA), China
Wuhu Ecology Center, China
Eco Canton, China
Nature University, China
Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH), Thailand
Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik, Indonesia
Meiki Paendong, WALHI West Java, Indonesia
GITA PERTIWI, Indonesia Environment and Social Development Organization, Bangladesh
Shibu K. Nair, Director, Sustainable Resource Use and Management, Thanal, India
Pesticide Action Network, India
Shashi Pandit/All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh (AIKMM), Delhi, India
Community Environmental Monitoring, Chennai, India
Coastal Resource Center, Chennai, India
Gopal Krishna, Toxics Watch Alliance (TWA), India
Prithvi Innovations, India
Nagrik Chetna Manch, Pune, Maharashtra, India
KKPKP, India
SWACH, India
DLR Prerna, India
Ram Charitra Sah, Executive Director, Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED), Kathmandu, Nepal
Mahmood A. Khwaja, Ph.D. Senior Adviser, Chemicals, Sustainable Industrial Development & Hazardous Waste/Sites, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad, Pakistan
Taiwan Watch Institute, Taiwan
Consumers Association of Penang, Malaysia
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the EarthMalaysia), Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Rejects Incinerator Action Committee, Malaysia
Pesticide Action Network Asia-Pacific, Malaysia
National Toxics Network, Australia
Zero Waste WA, Australia
Zero Waste OZ, Australia
Alliance for A Clean Environment (ACE), Western Australia
Pesticide Action Network Aotearoa, New Zealand
Island Sustainability Alliance CIS Inc (“ISACI”), National Association, Cook Islands (South Pacific)
Takeshi Yasuma, International Coordinator, Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution (CACP), Japan
Toxic Watch Network, Japan
Ark Eden, Hong Kong
James Middleton, Chairman, Clear the Air, Hong Kong
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Philippines
EcoWaste Coalition, Philippines
Mother Earth Foundation, Philippines
Health Care Without Harm Southeast Asia, Philippines
Cavite Green Coalition, Philippines
Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Philippines
La Sallian Community Development Center, Philippines
BAN Toxics, Philippines
Zero Waste Philippines, Philippines
November 17 Movement, Philippines
Concerned Citizens Advocating for Philippine Environmental Sustainability (COCAP), Philippines
Angkan ng Mandirigma, Philippines
Bangon Kalikasan Movement, Philippines
Philippine Earth Justice Center, Inc., Philippines
Shoreline, Philippines
Green Convergence, Philippines
Batangas 2 Fisherman Association (BAFA), Philippines
Miriam Public Education and Awareness Campaign for the Environment (Miriam-PEACE), Philippines
ROTC Neighborhood Association (ROTCNA), Philippines
Zero Waste Recycling Movement of the Philippines Foundation, Philippines
Krusada sa Kalikasan, Philippines
Partnership for Clean Air, Philippines
Isagani Serrano, President, Philippine
Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), Philippines
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Philippines
Action for Nurturing Children and Environment (ANCE) Sining Yapak (SIYAP), Philippines
Cycling Advocates (CYCAD), Philippines
Freedom from Debt Coalition, Cebu, Philippines
KPML-Cebu, Philippines Sanlakas Cebu, Philippines
LISU, Philippines
Philippine Pollution Monitor, Philippines
Ministri ng Pamamahal sa Kalikasan – Parokya ng San Jose Manggagawa, Philippines
Malikhaing Landas na magpapaYAbong sa sining at kultura (MALAYA-Cavite), Philippines
Philippine Medical Association, Philippines
Advocates for Environment and Social Justice, Philippines
Interface Development Initiatives Inc. (IDIS), Philippines
Masipag Mindanao, Philippines
Cycle for Life – Mindanao, Philippines
Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying (MAAS), Philippines
IAOMT Philippines Sarilaya-Cavite, Philippines
Kinaiyahan Foundation, Philippines
Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng MaguyamCavite, Philippines
Buklod Tao, Philippines Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific, Philippine
Movement for Climate Justice, Philippines
Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Philippines
Toxic Action network, Central Asia Arugaan, Philippines
Plastic Free Seas, Hong Kong
Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong, China
Save Our Urban Lakes-SOUL, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Hum-Hyderabadi: a movement, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Zero Waste Himalaya Sikkim, India
Ecotourism & Conservation Society of Sikkim (Gangtok Sikkim), India
Focus on the Global South, Philippines
Nuclear-Free Bataan Movement, Philippines
Earth Island Institute-Philippines ECOZINE | HK CLEANUP, Hong Kong
DISHA, India Health Care Foundation Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Naderev Sano, former Commissioner, Climate Change Commission, Philippines, Philippines and South East Asia
IPEN, Asia and global Yayasan Pecinta Budaya Bebali (YPBB), Indonesia

Signatories from Local Governments and Government Offices
City Environment and Natural Resources Office, City of Bacoor, Philippines
City Solid Waste Management Office, Mandaluyong City, Philippines
Office of Councilor Dorothy Delarmente, Quezon City, Philippines
Office of Councilor Irvin Paulo Tapales, Antipolo City, Philippines
City Government of San Fernando, Pampanga – Philippines
Hon. Carlos Padilla, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Philippines
Hon. Ruth Padilla, Governor, Province of Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines

Goldman Environmental Prize Recipients

Dr. Bobby Peek, groundWork, Friends of the Earth, SA, Goldman Prize Recipient 1998 Africa
Von Hernandez, Global Development Director, Greenpeace International, Goldman Prize Recipient 2003, Philippines
Craig Williams, Kentucky Environmental Foundation, North American Goldman Prize Recipient 2006, USA
Yuyun Ismawati, Senior Advisor and co-founder of BaliFokus, Coordinator of Indonesian ToxicsFree Network, Goldman Environmental Prize Recipient 2009, Indonesia
Dr. Olga Speranskaya, IPEN Co-Chair/EcoAccord chemical and health policy lead, Goldman Prize Recipient 2009, Europe
Desmond Mathew D’Sa, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance Coordinator, Durban, South Africa, Goldman Prize Recipient 2014, Africa
Manana Kochladze, Green Alternative, Georgia, Goldman Prize Recipient 2004
Kimberly Wasserman, LVEJO, USA, 2013 Goldman Prize Recipient, North America

With global support from:

Paul Connett, PhD, former Director of Work on Waste, USA and author of The Zero Waste Solution, (Chelsea Green, 2013), USA
Captain Charles Moore, Oceanographic Research Vessel Alguita, Inc., Author of Plastic Ocean, USA
Enzo Favoino, Scuola Agraria del Parco di Monza, Scientific Coordinator of Zero Waste Europe, Member of EU expert panels on LCAs, Co-founder of European Compost Network (ECN), Italy
Stephen Brittle, President, Don’t Waste Arizona, Phoenix, AZ, USA
Ellen Connett, Managing Director, Fluoride Action Network, USA
Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, USA
Eric Lombardi, Executive Director of Eco-Cycle International, and author of The Community Zero Waste Roadmap (, USA
Samantha MacBride, Ph.D., Baruch College School of Public Affairs, and author of Recycling Reconsidered (MIT Press 2012), USA
Urban Ore, Inc., To End the Age of Waste, USA
Joel Tyner, Dutchess County Legislator, D. #11, (Rhinebeck/Clinton), New York State, Founder, The Real Majority Project, Zero Waste Coalition of Dutchess County, USA
Marcus Eriksen, PhD 5 Gyres Institute, USA
Story of Stuff Project, USA
Suchitra Balachandran and Greg Smith, CoDirectors, Community Research, College Park, Maryland, USA
Tim Brownell & Bryan Ukena co-presidents of Eureka Recycling, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Susan Hubbard, Nothing Left to Waste, USA
Neil Seldman, President, Institute for Local SelfReliance, USA
Perry Gottesfeld, Executive Director, Occupational Knowledge International, USA
Pesticide Action Network, Mauritius
Jindrich Petrlik, Executive Director, Arnika – Toxics and Waste Programme, Czech Republic
Eugeniy Lobanov, Director, Center of Environmental Solutions, Belorussia
Alejandra Parra Muñoz, Red de Acción por los Derechos Ambientales (RADA), Temuco, Chile
Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL), Belgium
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, Durban, South Africa
Earthlife Africa Cape Town, South Africa
Billy M. Lombe, Founder, Youth Environment Network (YEN), Zambia
Institute for Zero Waste in Africa, South Africa
Ecologists without Borders Association / Zero Waste Slovenia UNENGO MAMA-86, Ukraine
Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL), Belgium
Pesticide Action Network Aotearoa, New Zealand
GroundWork, Friends of the Earth, South Africa
United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN), UK
International Campaign for Responsible Technology TOXISPHERA Environmental Health Association, Director: Zuleica Nycz, Brazil
APROMAC Environmental Protection Association, Legal Representative: Hassan Sohn, Brazil
AMAR – Environmental Protection Association, Vice-Director: Lidia Lucaski, Brazil Biofuelwatch, USA & UK
Alan Muller, Airheads Energy & Environmental Consulting, USA
Jane Williams, California Communities Against Toxics, USA
Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment, Armenia
ONG Carbone, Guinea
Santos SP, Brasil
Alaska Community Action on Toxics, USA
Green Delaware, USA
Fundación para la Defensa del Ambiente (FUNAM), Argentina
Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the National University of Cordoba (Argentina)
Prof. Dr. Raúl A. Montenegro, Biologist, Argentina
Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), Germany
Jeffer Castelo Branco, ACPO – Associação de Combate aos Poluentes, Brazil
Kammie Holder, Advocacy Director, Future Centre Trust/ Zero Waste Barbados
Raul Montenegro, 2004 winner of the Right Livelihood Award (RLA, Alternative Nobel Prize, Stockholm, Sweden)
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Chicago, USA
Divers for Sharks, Brazilian Representative Mr. José Truda Palazzo, Brazil
Environmental Education Association to the Future Generations (AEEFG), Tunisia
Californians Against Waste, USA
Charlene Lemoine, Waukesha County Environmental Action League (WEAL) – Wisconsin, USA
Red de Acción por los Derechos Ambientales, Chile
Kerry Meydam, founder, Durham Environment Watch, Canada
Dr. Max Liboiron, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Director of Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research, Canada
Arthur R. Boone, owner, Center for Recycling Research, Berkeley, USA
Climate Justice Alliance, USA
MORE (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment), USA
John Harder, President, Zero Waste Kauai, USA
Asia Pacific Environmental Network, California, USA
Red de Accion Contra Las Plaguicidas (RAPAL), Uruguay
Mwadhini O. Myanza, Executive Director, Irrigation Training and Economic Empowerment Organization (IRTECO), Tanzania
Plastic Pollution Coalition, USA
Other Worlds, USA
National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Uganda
Citizens for a Safe Environment Foundation of Toronto Inc., Canada
Plataforma Anti Incineració de Montcada i Reixac “Montcada Aire Net”, Catalonia, Spain
Citizens for a Safe Environment Foundation of Toronto Inc., Canada
Zero Waste France
Acción Ecológica, Chile
Association for Nature, Environment and Sustainable Development Sunce, Croatia
Toxics Action Center, USA
La Alianza Resíduo Cero Brasil
Instituto Pólis, Brazil
Texas Campaign for the Environment, USA
Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED), USA
Hacia Basura Cero-Costa Rica ONG Yo Reciclo, Chile
Fundación El árbol, Chile
Zero Waste Europe
Movement Generation: Justice and Ecology Project, USA
Daniel Knapp, Ph.D. CEO, Urban Ore, Inc. (Materials Recovery Enterprise in Berkeley, California), USA
Neighbors Against the Burner, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
European Environmental Bureau Pia A Harris, Arroyo S.E.C.O. Time Bank member, USA
Centre d’Ecologia i Projectes AlternatiusEcologistes de Catalunya Colectivo VientoSur, Chile
Clean Water Action, USA
Fundación Basura, Chile
Center for Environmental Health, USA
Taller de Comunicación Ambiental, Argentina Fronteras Comunes A.C. , MÉXICO
OceanCare, Switzerland
Centro de Análisis y Acción en Tóxicos y sus Alternativas (CAATA), Mexico
Northern California Recycling Association, USA
Surfrider Foundation, Headquarters & European affiliate

Works Cited

Cassady, J. (2010). A tundra of sickness: The relationship between toxic waste, TEK, and
cultural survival. Arctic Anthropology 44: 87-98

Dillon, L. (2014). Race, Waste, and Space: Brownfield Redevelopment and Environmental Justice at the Hunters Point Shipyard. Antipode, 46, 1205-1221.

Gabrys, J. (2009). Sink: the dirt of systems. Environment and planning. D, Society and space, 27(4), 666.
Gidwani, V., and Reddy, RN. (2011). The afterlives of “waste”: Notes from India for a minor history of capitalist surplus. Antipode 43(5):1625–1658
Nungak, Z. (2004). Ratcheting Garbage to a Federal Affair? Windspeaker 22: 18-22.
Shrader-Frechette, K. S. (1993). Burying uncertainty: risk and the case against geological disposal of nuclear waste. Univ of California Press.
Zahara, A. (2015). The Governance of Waste in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Dissertation. Queen’s University: Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

One thought on “The Ocean Conservatory’s Call for Mass Incineration in Asia: Disposability for Profit, Fantasies of Containment, & Colonialism

  1. Please see below response to the director of the OCEAN CONSERVANCY. With todays advancing technologies INCINERATION IS OUTDATED, DANGEROUS AND A TERRIBLE CONTRIBUTION TO POLLUTION wherever it is implemented!

    The anti incineration movement should be acknowledged by this group and we need to be recognized as an alternative to wasting and burning non renewable resources!

    Hello Eric,

    Thank you for your efforts,We at JET RECYCLING appreciate your work!

    We are very interested in becoming contributing members to your respected group of advocates for changing the way society views and values end use plastic products and packaging. I personally have dedicated my life along with the scientists and technicians. engineers and environmentalists and members of the Wash. D.C. based THINK BEYOND PLASTICS (!investment-opportunities/cvtq) group to aid in the repurposing of valuable resources currently being considered for world wide incineration with its host of problems for the environment as well as surrounding communities. To be able to UPCYCLE this material into durable permanent products designed to aid in environmental protections and consumable products would be a dream come true! Welcome to 2016! See content below for the latest in developments, please advise and comment on our direction to further our involvement with the TRASH FREE SEAS ALLIANCE.

    Please pass this along as you see fit. I wanted to give you an update on where we are in combating the plastic waste issues of our time. Please advise on how to aid you in your efforts!


    Combination of multiple technologies to commingle waste plastics of all grades for upcycling. Please pass along..
    After a 5 year investment in creating a plan combining main components with new washing/sorting technologies, JRA is confident the collaboration between the parties involved have designed a system to aid in the reuse of waste plastics including single use and all films and foams by converting or transforming material into durable permanent end use products for environmental protections and consumer products. Please review and comment as we welcome questions and inquiries. Please take a look at the material below which describes a confidential factory/technology tour that has been organized for the week of November 15th.

    The number of participants that can be accepted is extremely limited. In addition to major North American waste management and recycling owners/operators, we have confirmed and tentative reservations from companies in cities as far-flung as Mexico City, Jakarta, Cairo, Abidjan, Accra, Auckland and others as well as a major multi-national company seeking global environmental opportunities. The business presented is designed for protected territories and is appropriately scalable, so it is ideal for regional service companies.


    An additional reference that provides more detail about the versatility of the JET process and variety of JET products can be seen on this link

    Agricultural Plastic Recycling Conference presentation.

    I appreciate the chance to share this information with you. Contact me for further processes information. An extremely detailed business plan along with a walk through of the facility is available upon request. The money in plastics is in transformation.

    FYI: You will be in good company , Along with members of waste management from here in the U.S. we have confirmation with Dr. Yasser El Baroudy- who is CEO & Partner of both the Environment House for Projects- EHP and the Environment& Development House – EDH with offices in Oman, Dubai and Cairo will be attending the tour as well as willing financial partners for co-venture opportunities!

    In reference to report received today,
    I am writing to you and members of your group to persuade you to please consider the fantastic alternative to incineration. JET TRANSFORMERS will provide you with an answer and I can guarantee you support from all the local populations who benefit from this wonderful technology. Waste destruction is anti productive, construction materials from plastic waste will create jobs, protect the environment and provide stability within the plastics manufacturing groups as this material may be used over and over again. Please advise.

    Best regards, Kevin Barnes

    Eric, I do appreciate all considerations in involving us into your plans, I look forward to hearing from you and your team!

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