ENVIRONMENTAL group Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific spearheaded the Zero Waste Journalist Network in the Philippines and Malaysia to promote the value of environment-centric civic journalism in addressing environmental problems.
On January 19, 2023, the Zero Waste Journalist Network was formally established as part of the country’s International Zero Waste Month celebration.
“The Zero Waste Journalists Network aims to improve media coverage on Zero Waste, and therefore increase public engagement in the issue with the focus on developing countries, especially in critically affected regions,” GAIA said in a statement.
“Communities, therefore, need trusted information to mitigate environmental impacts and find new ways to adapt,” it said.
Fellows from various media outlets had the chance to deepen their understanding of fundamental topics like waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration, plastic pollution, and zero waste (ZW).
Among the journalists who participated in the fellowship is Gerry Lirio (Philippines – Southeast Asia, Republic Asia’s Editor-in-Chief), who shared the importance of environmental reporting after the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda (International name: Haiyan), especially climate reporting from small island nations.
He also advocated the creation of a “green” desk for media outlets in the Philippines, it said.
Other participants including Ben Bilua (Solomon Islands – Pacific), who sees the importance of climate reporting, especially for island nations like his, and Abhishek Kumar (India – South Asia), who stressed the importance of highlighting Zero Waste (ZW) work in the Asia Pacific and showing the global north that there is a solution in the problem, have also shared the value of climate and waste reportage during the fellowship.
According to GAIA, network members will frequently engage in online discussions and exchanges, constantly enhancing their capacities by educating one another through collaborative learning.
“This access enables a stream of news stories with relevant scientific and policy information to reach audiences across the global South,” it said.
Zero Waste Month began in the Philippines in 2012 but was made an official month-long celebration in 2014 after President Benigno Aquino III enacted Proclamation No. 760, setting January yearly as Zero Waste Month.
According to the proclamation, zero waste is a cause that advocates for the design and management of products and processes to systematically prevent and eliminate the amount and toxicity of waste and materials, as well as to conserve and recover all resources rather than discarding or burning them without consideration.