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NZ needs to grasp the real zero waste philosophy

New Zealand and other countries needs to grasp the real zero waste philosophy, says South Africa environmental leader

The real concept of zero waste needs to be better understood, a world environmental leader Muna Lakhani will tell the International zero waste conference in Kaikoura next month.

Mr Lakhani is one of the guest speakers at the international conference in Kaikoura from April 6 to 8.

He is head of the Zero Waste Institute of South Africa and is coordinator of the Zero Waste Earth Summit team for Earthlife Africa. . Mr Lakhani says in his paper to the conference that zero waste advocates feel there is a lack of clear understanding of the philosophy of zero waste.

``Often, zero waste is seen as a variant of recycling; more composting and can and paper collection,’’ he said.

``There is a generic information gap regarding the fact that zero waste is a philosophy, and is a robust solution to current pollution problems, wherever one may wish to apply the principles.

``The holistic picture of what zero waste is, the approaches and applications, are poorly understood by most people. It is most often seen as a simplistic target.

``It is strange that the most vehement opposition to Zero Waste tends to come from people trained in Western thought. A zero waste society lies in your hands.’’

He said possibly the biggest challenge was for people to understand that zero waste was a way of thinking, of approaching problems from a perspective that immediately began to throw up solutions that could be tried.

Zero Waste New Zealand chief Jo Night says New Zealand used to lead in zero waste but other places, such Belgium and parts of Australia, had moved ahead.

``I feel New Zealand’s clean green image is becoming tarnished,’’ said Ms Knight who will be one many guest speakers at the conference. She said the conference needed to aim for a declaration encouraging the South Island to band together to be the first zero waste island in the world.

The conference will also host the first national zero waste awards. Zero waste policies helped Kaikoura become the first town in the world to gain full Green Globe status last October.

Green Globe is the world’s only global tourism certification and to earn certification Kaikoura had to adopt zero waste policies and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Top overseas and New Zealand experts at the April conference will be seeking solutions to ending the days of rubbish. More than 150 delegates will hear the latest developments in zero waste and progress being made across New Zealand and overseas.

Copyright Word of Mouth Media NZ 2005

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