|Outreach N° 94 - Waste - Part 4: What to do about Hazardous Waste (OUTREACH - UNEP - WWF, 34 p.)|
The Tribune newsletter 49: Women, Environment and Development part II (February 1993). The Tribune is a Women and Development Quarterly newsletter published by the International Women's Tribune Centre, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA. If reproduced, please credit the International Women's Tribune Centre and artists, Laurel E. Douglas and Anne S. Walker, and send copies of reproduced material to the IWTC.
SUGGESTIONS FOR USE
Community workers: In how-to-do-it meetings as encouragement for people planning a toxic waste campaign.
Radio broadcasters, journalists: In reports on how to activate people on local toxic waste issues.
IN FEBRUARY, 1989, TWO REPORTS APPEARED ALMOST simultaneously in the Bangladeshi press. One described a proposed manufacturing plant which would use imported industrial waste; the other revealed that a U.S. ship was attempting to dump 15,000 tons of toxic incinerator ash into the Bay of Bengal. Dumping toxic waste off the coast of Bangladesh would destroy the fishing industry in that area, as well as threaten the health of humans, plants and animals living on the coast.
Reaction was swift. Starting in March of 1989, Naripokkho, a women's activist group in Bangladesh, mobilised women's organisations, human rights and legal aid groups, scientists, students and researchers to take action. They formed the Foreign Waste Resistance Committee to focus public attention and pressure on the government to stop toxic waste threats.
Hundreds of women participated in activities. They conducted a nation wide signature campaign, demonstrated, wrote newspaper articles and held seminars and press conferences to educate the public about the effects of industrial waste on public health. These activities cost about 20,000 Bangladeshi taka and many hours of volunteer time.
As a result of the campaign, the two toxic waste issues were addressed by October 1989. The proposed industrial waste-based plant was cancelled. The Government of Bangladesh sent its Navy to protect its territorial waters. Joined by the Indian Navy, the fleets searched the sea, but they could not confirm if waste had been dumped.
The most important outcome of these actions, however, was the increase in public awareness of toxic waste threats. The group, renamed the Environment Protection Committee, continues to operate with a wider mandate on environmental matters.
From: Success Stories, Global Assembly of Women and the Environment, 1991