Incineration won’t solve garbage problem

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DAVAO CITY — The Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) advocacy group for environmental protection and conservation Ecoteneo has reiterated that the proposed waste-to-energy (WTE) by the city government of Davao is not a solution to garbage management.

“Our stand remains: WTE is still not the main option to address waste problems in the city,” Carmela Santos, director of Ecoteneo, told media in Kapehan sa Dabaw yesterday.

In 2017, Davao and its Japanese sister city Kitakyushu explored cooperation wherein the latter would help the city with best practices in solid waste management and environmental protection through the establishment of a WTE facility since Davao City disposes of all wastes in a landfill.

Last year, Mayor Sara Duterte, together with seven city officials and two representatives from an environment watchdog, also traveled to Japan upon the invitation of the Japanese firm in the City of Kitakyushu to observe its own WTE operation.

She later issued an executive order creating a team to oversee the construction of a WTE facility, a joint project between the governments of the Philippines and Japan with Davao City as its intended recipient.

Ecoteneo and other green groups in the city deemed WTE as a form of incineration that is banned under the Clean Air Act. The groups emphasized that said facility is not the correct solution to address the city’s problem on waste disposal.

However, if the proposal should materialize, Santos said the best thing to do is to minimize its harmful effects and to practice waste segregation to minimize the materials that would be processed in a WTE facility.

Environmentalists say waste incineration creates dioxins, a highly toxic compound.

The project was endorsed by then mayor now President Rodrigo Duterte when he met with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives in 2016.

The proposal was based on a feasibility study supported by JICA under its Collaboration Program with the Private Sector for Disseminating Japanese Technology.

In 2017, the City Environment and Natural Resources Office collected 400 to 500 tons of garbage daily.

In its aim to make Davao City waste- and plastic-free, Ecoteneo will conduct a Zero Waste Summit this month with barangay and school leaders as targeted participants.

“Because we want to have a coordinated action plan for ecowaste to strictly implement segregation. This is also a follow-up of the recent implementation of the single-use plastic ban in AdDU. We’ve been implementing this policy since October 2018 our university has gone plastic-free. We’re inviting barangays and schools to send their leaders and join us for the planning,” she said.

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