THE Philippine based EcoWaste Coalition, an environment and public health watchdog, called on all Quezon City residents to vigorously oppose the planned construction of a waste incinerator plant in Payatas as its by products could permanently destroy the human and animal habitat.
The Coalition made the call to resistance as it noted that the city government is trying to make a fast one over city residents by citing the long overdue closure of the Payatas dumpsite at the end of this year as justification for its plan to build a waste-to-energy incineration plant.
The planned incinerator is to burn an estimated 2,700 tons of garbage produced by Quezon City daily.
According to Section 37 of Republic Act 9003 (the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000), open dump sites should have been closed in 2004 and the controlled dump sites, like Payatas, in 2006.
The Payatas open dumpsite was converted to a “controlled disposal facility” in 2004 and then closed in 2010. The Payatas “sanitary landfill,” which started operations in 2011 will be closed in December this year as it is already near its carrying capacity limit.
“The permanent closure of the Payatas garbage dumpsite is long overdue,” Joey Papa, Bangon Kalikasan Movement president, said.
“It’s time barangay-based ESWM should be fully implemented by all local government units, as mandated by RA. 9003. We have proof this can be done. At the same time, the closed dump site should be rehabilitated,” Papa added.
Papa, however, appealed that “Quezon City residents must be vigilant in opposing the plan to establish an incinerator plant to replace the dump.”
“Among a long list of concerns, waste incineration generates dangerous byproducts such as ash residues that should be strictly managed as hazardous waste. Some 30 tons of ash is produced for every 100 tons of garbage incinerated. We cannot allow such toxic ash to get dumped in Payatas, which is so near the La Mesa Dam and watershed reservation,” Papa insisted.
Moreover, Ppa noted that Section 48 of ESWM prohibits “the construction or operation of landfills or any waste disposal facility on any aquifer, groundwater reservoir, or watershed area.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Alejandre, Ecowaste Coalition Zero Waste campaigner, explained that “Hauling garbage to the so-called sanitary landfills in Navotas City and in Rodriguez and San Mateo, Rizal offers no real solution to Quezon City’s costly garbage problem. The only thing it does is to keep the ugly trash out of our sight, out of our minds, for Quezon City residents, that is, while further destroying another community where it will be dumped.,”
He claimed that “Over P1 billion is spent annually for garbage hauling and dumping. This should be spent, instead, for sustained waste prevention and reduction programs, public education and law enforcement action,” he suggested.
RA. 9003 provides for waste avoidance and volume reduction through segregation at source, composting, recycling, reuse and other best practices in ESWM. It prohibits the open burning and incineration of trash.