DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Mayor Sara Duterte admitted that the City Government is facing challenges in seeking approval for the operation of its P2.5 Billion Waste-to-Energy (WTE) project.
In an interview last week, the mayor said they encountered “some bumps” in the national government in terms of their approval of the 10-hectare facility which will be constructed in Biao Escuela, Tugbok District.
She also added that the City Government of Davao has already written an appeal to the Department of Energy and currently waiting for the pending decision.
“In short we have encountered bumps and hurdle of the WTE project,” Mayor Sara said during her Special Hour Program in DXQQ Disaster Radio.
The waste incineration project of Davao City is a grant from the Japanese Government through Official Development Assistance (ODA) which aims to build a facility to reduce the solid waste problem and convert it to electricity. The project was announced to be operational early last year.
According to the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) the city generates around 900 tons of garbage per day last year. These garbage collections daily are divided into 600 tons that go directly to the city’s landfill, while the remaining 300 tons went to recyclers and other facilities.
Currently, the sanitary landfill in New Carmen has accumulated around 900,000 tons of garbage since 2016, exceeding its maximum capacity level of 700,000 to 800,000 tons.
But environment groups in Davao strongly opposed the incineration project and even urged the city government “to abandon” the proposed project, amid growing calls to declare a national climate emergency.
No Burn Pilipinas and Sustainable Davao Movement argued that the project would only worsen the climate crisis “by using fossil-based plastics as feedstock for electricity production”, which according to them emit greenhouse gases and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the process.
The group in their statement also stressed the existing environmental laws that contradict the waste incineration proposal of the city government and laments the government’s complacency on its implementation.
“Among these is RA 8749 or the Clean Air Act, which prohibits incineration; RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which promotes more environmentally sound waste management solutions; and RA 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act, which excludes non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste in its definition of renewable energy resources.
Instead of incineration, the group is pushing the city government to pursue the Zero Waste program, “which emphasizes reduction of waste and diverting of waste away from the landfill or incinerator through banning single-use plastics implementing segregation at source, and supporting community initiatives for reusing, composting, recycling, and upcycling.” (davaotoday.com)