Climate change protesters disrupt London rail services

Robie de Guzman   •   October 17, 2019   •   133

British journalist, George Monbiot speaks to supporters before being arrested during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain, 16 October 2019. Global climate movement Extinction Rebellion announced climate change protests and blockades worldwide for two weeks starting 07 October. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Climate change activists disrupted rail services in the east of London early on Thursday morning (September 17), sparking a physical confrontation between angry commuters and a protester who had climbed onto the roof of a London Underground train, video on social media showed.

“I’m doing this primarily for my grandchildren because I’ve learned that what we’re heading towards at the moment is an increase in temperature of over three degrees centigrade. Suffering and death on an enormous scale. Loss of food supplies,” said Phil Kingston, an 83-year old campaigner.

“I’m also here because the poorest people in the world who live in the tropics and they are experiencing the worst impacts of climate breakdown and environmental breakdown,” he added.

British Transport Police said they had responded to incidents at Shadwell, Stratford and Canning Town, near to London’s Canary Wharf financial district.

Footage showed protesters unfurling an Extinction Rebellion protest group banner on top of a stationary London Underground train at Canning Town before one was pelted with food and physically dragged off by commuters.

“Arrests have already been made and officers are working to quickly resume services,” the police said in a statement.

Extinction Rebellion launched a wave of civil disobedience on October 7 to highlight the risks posed by climate change and the accelerating loss of plant and animal species.

Police in London said on Wednesday they had arrested 1,642 people since the protests started. (Reuters)

(Production: Tara Oakes)

DILG pledges support to Green Climate Fund projects

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 19, 2019

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has pledged its support to the country’s first Green Climate Fund (GCF) project.

According to the DILG, the GCF aims to establish multi-hazard impact-based forecasting and early warning system (MH-IBF-EWS) in the local government units (LGUs).

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said this aims to translate hazard forecasts into warnings which will provide the location and specific impacts directly to the LGUs and communities on the ground.

“Climate change has been a global issue that we can’t just take for granted. We must acknowledge it and fortify our country with safety measures like the MH-IBF-EWS. As one of the most vulnerable countries that can fall victim to climate change, we should be proactive in developing counter-measures,” he said.

Año said areas including Tuguegarao City, Legazpi City, the town of Palo in Leyte, and New Bataan in Davao de Oro will be the target local government units (LGUs) of the GCF project.

The said project has been approved by the Green Climate Fund Board during its recent meeting in Songdo, Korea and is worth $10 million.—AAC

Duterte eyes ban on use of plastic

Robie de Guzman   •   November 8, 2019

Plastic along coastline in Cap-Haitien, Haiti | REUTERS

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to ban the use of plastics in a bid to mitigate the effects of climate change, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president mentioned the idea during a discussion on climate change in a Cabinet meeting last Wednesday.

“The president floated the idea to ban the use of plastics, which according to him would require legislative action,” Panelo told reporters but said he is not sure if Duterte was referring to single-use plastics.

There are bills filed in Congress seeking to ban the use of single-use plastics that are currently pending at a committee level.

These measures seek to prohibit food establishments, stores, and markets from issuing single-use plastics, and task manufacturers to control the circulation and disposal of these materials. It also encourages consumers to instead use reusable or other alternative materials.

The Philippines has been listed in a 2015 report as one of the biggest sources of plastic leaking into the oceans, after China and Indonesia.

A recent study by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) revealed that Filipinos use more than 163 million plastic sachet packets, 48 million shopping bags and 45 million thin film bags daily.

The report called “Plastics exposed: How waste assessments and brand audits are helping Philippine cities fight plastic pollution,” used data from household waste assessments and brand audits conducted by Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) in six cities and seven municipalities across the country in the past five years.

The organization extrapolated the data to calculate daily and yearly plastic usage throughout the country in order to provide new quantitative evidence about plastic pollution in the Philippines.

GAIA said that findings in the report show how cities and municipalities in the Philippines are struggling against plastic residuals despite efforts of many localities to institute Zero Waste programs.

With the projected increase in plastic production worldwide, including in the Philippines, the group said that national governments, as well as local government authorities need robust data and effective strategies to address the looming plastic pollution crisis.

It also called on manufacturers to regulate, and stop producing, single-use plastics.

“We would appreciate kung ang Pangulo will tell Congress na iprioritize nga itong bill on single-use plastic,” Beau Baconguis, an Asia Pacific Plastics Campaigner of GAIA said.

“Dapat hindi lang tignan as a waste disposal issue at waste management issue pero titingnan ang buong life cycle ng plastic at buong problemang kaakibat ng different stages ng production ng plastic,” Baconguis added.

The House of Representatives, for its part, assured it will continue to conduct inquiries on proposals to ban the use of plastics in the country.

“There will be a hearing before the committee level, all the stakeholders shall be heard, and ultimately we shall decide the course,” Cavite Fourth District Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, said.

“The decision of the President will carry much weight in so far as the action of the House of representatives is concerned,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Iraqis defy tear gas, upcoming curfew as protests stretch on

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2019

 Iraqi protesters react after police fired tear gas at them during a protest at al-Tahrir square, central Baghdad, Iraq, 28 October 2019. EPA-EFE/MURTAJA LATEEF

Thousands of people in Baghdad continued their protests at Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on Monday (October 28), defying a curfew scheduled to be imposed from midnight until 6am (2100GMT to 0300 GMT).

Protesters took to the streets for a fourth day, despite having endured bloody clashes over the weekend and an overnight raid by security forces seeking to disperse them.

At least 74 Iraqis were killed and hundreds wounded across the country on Friday (October 25) and Saturday (October 26) as demonstrators clashed with security forces and militia groups in the second wave of this month’s protests against Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government.

More than 200 people have been killed in October so far.

Iraqi security forces on Monday fired tear gas at school and university students who defied a warning from the prime minister and joined anti-government protests.

A spokesman for Abdul Mahdi, whose position is increasingly precarious as he faces the largest challenge since he came to power a year ago, said on Sunday (October 27) that anyone disrupting work or school days would be severely punished.

Mass street protests in Baghdad and other cities in the southern Shi’te heartland against economic hardship began at the start of the month and resumed on Friday after a pause of about two weeks. (Reuters)

READ: DFA cautions Filipinos against travel to Iraq

(Production: Haider Kadhim, Mohammed Al-Ramahi, Mohammed Katfan, Hannah Ellison)

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