Environment Health News

For Environment’s Sake, PH Green Groups asked Mayor Bistek to Scrap Incinerator Project

QC Mayor Herbert Bautista. Photo © http://newsinfo.inquirer.net
QC Mayor Herbert Bautista. Photo © http://newsinfo.inquirer.net

DIFFERENT pro-environment groups on Friday asked Quezon City Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista to drop a planned joint venture with a Japanese company for the setting up of a “waste-to-energy “ (WtE) facility.

At the same time, they urged city residents to vigorously object to the young mayor’s plan by asking their elected city councilors to oppose the creation of the WtE facility, which is actually a rebranding of the old waste incineration technology.

They also expressed fears that the WtE facility would turn the city as the “waste incineration capital” of Metro Manila.

“We urge the QC local government not to go for this costly waste incineration scheme, which the industry has re-branded, cashing in on of concerns over climate change, as a WtE facility. There are far superior environmentally-sound, sustainable and cheaper solutions for managing discards that will not circumvent the ban on burning waste, while recovering resources, saving energy, creating jobs and instilling ecological values among businesses and households,” said Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator.

Lucero said these pro-environment solutions are enshrined in Republic Act 9003 (the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act). The law provides for waste avoidance and volume reduction through segregation at source, composting, recycling, reuse and other measures excluding incineration.

Waste to Energy diagram Photo © https://ssamsspace.wordpress.com
Waste to Energy diagram Photo © https://ssamsspace.wordpress.com

As published in the Nikkei Asian Review early last week, Hitachi Zosen will construct in Quezon City “a garbage incineration facility capable of processing the waste of three million residents with a power plant able to pump out more than 20,000 kW.”

The project’s estimated cost of around P18.17 billion (around US $395 million), including initial investment outlay and operational expenses for 20 years, will be recovered through waste processing charges and electricity sales, according to the article.

“The construction of this incinerator might be even used to justify the continued dumping operations in Payatas since a landfill will still be required for the toxic ash resulting from the combustion of discards,” said Joey Papa, Bangon Kalikasan Movement president.

Furthermore, he noted that some 30 tons of ash are produced for every 100 tons burned.

“To be blunt about it, WtE is a technology Without Thinking of Everybody’s safety and public health at large,” he added.

On the other hand, Dr. Angelina Galang, Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy president said “incineration, euphemistically referred to as WtE technology, is not the answer to our need for energy.  It emits toxic dioxins and furans and burns resources, which can otherwise be recycled or composted.  It promotes the generation of waste because the combustion chamber must be constantly fed with waste.  It is the most expensive energy source according to some experts.”

Moreover, Abigail Aguilar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia detox campaigner, expressed similar sentiments saying  “we stand by our position that ‘waste-to-energy’ and ‘integrated waste management systems’ are just fancy names for incinerators, and not at all clean, renewable or healthy. Incinerators go against the principle of sustainability. Their toxic emissions can never be controlled once released to the environment, therefore lethal to humans and damaging to the ecology.”

The groups insisted that the P18.17 billion that will be needed to build and operate the incinerator should istead be used to improve and expand QC’s existing waste prevention and reduction programs, including ensuring the proper closure and rehabilitation of the Payatas dumpsite.

“For example, 11,647 barangay waste workers will be paid a minimum salary of 12,000 per month for 10 years, plus the annual 13th month pay, to collect segregated wastes from households, sell recyclables to junk shops and compost the organics. This in turn would allow Quezon City to achieve at least 70 percent waste diversion or more,” said Froilan Grate, Asia-Pacific Coordinator, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

To illustrate the other alternative uses for the colossal amount of P18.17 billion to be spent for the QC incinerator, the groups have come up with the following calculations:

1. 1,817,000 whole-day training activities on ecological solid waste management involving 90,850,000 people at P10,000/50-person activity covering meals, hand-outs, speakers’ honoraria and other basic incidental expenses.

2.  1,817,000 to 3,634,000 Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) at P5,000 – P10,000/facility for rural barangays, and 36,340 to 363,400 MRFs at P50,000 – 500,000/facility for urban barangays; MRFs serve as depositories for segregated discards that can be reused, recycled or composted to minimize the volume of trash sent to a residual waste landfill.

3.  40,378 biodegradables shredder (7 Hp, 1.5 tons/hour) costing P450,000/machine to cut up garden or farm waste and other organics into small pieces to speed up the composting process.

4.  5,191,429 generic sewing machines at P3,500/unit that community women can use to make reusable bags from fabrics, doy packs, flour and rice sacks and other materials.

5.  2,795,385 pedicabs at P6,500/unit or 5,191,428 wooden carts at P3,500 /cart that itinerant waste recyclers can use for “bote-dyaryo” business.

6.  121,133 junk shops that will ideally need a start-up capital of P150,000.

7.  3,634,000 low-interest loans at P5,000/person that will enable waste pickers to venture into micro-enterprises to augment their incomes.

Read More: http://beyonddeadlines.com/2016/07/26/3994/

Nelson Flores, J.D., MSCK
A former reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Standard Today, and a regular columnist of the Metro Manila based daily tabloid newspaper Hataw; Nelson Flores is also the former Senior Associate Editor of the Houston based Fil-Am Press and former anchor of dzXL and dzRJ's weekend talk show Usaping Bayan. Mr. Flores has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Law degrees from the University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University and a holder of a study certificate from the Diocesan House of Studies, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). He is a Freemason and member of Reagan Lodge 1037 in Houston Heights under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas and a member of the Missionary Society of Christ the King (MSCK).

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