Acting with dispatch, the Quezon City Council led by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte has released new regulations penalizing food establishments that illegally dump used cooking oil and grease trap waste in the sewage.
In a huddle with members of the Quezon City Press Club, Belmonte revealed she had just approved an ordinance filed by Councilor Allan Benedict Reyes as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) inspected restaurants in the city believed to be the source of grease that had been clogging the drainage system and causing floods in the past few days.
Grease, Belmonte pointed out, contaminates waterways and clogs the drainage if not properly disposed and treated.
“It is the policy of the Quezon City government to prevent or minimize the health hazards on ground and water pollution caused by the improper disposal, transport, storage and reuse of used cooking oil and grease trap waste by food establishments,” Belmonte, the council’s presiding officer, said.
Ordinance No. 2691 or “The Used/Waste Cooking Oil and Grease Trap Waste Regulation Ordinance” provides new policies in the transport, storage, reuse, recycling, reprocessing or disposal of used cooking oil and grease by local restaurants and similar food establishments.
The Reyes ordinance strictly prohibits and penalizes non-segregation, illegal disposal and selling and collection and transport by unauthorized entities of used cooking oil and grease trap waste.
It mandates that all used cooking oil and grease trap waste shall only be transported, stored, reused, recycled, reprocessed, treated, and disposed by waste transporters or Treatment, Storage and Disposal (TSD) facilities accredited by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and registered with the city’s Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (EPWMD).
Moreover, all food establishments, TSD facilities and its service providers are required to secure environmental clearance from EPWMD to ensure compliance with Republic Act No. 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990.
Violation of any provisions of the subject ordinance entails a fine of P2,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second and P5,000 for the third offense plus revocation of business permit.
Vehicles, tools and other equipment used in the illegal disposal and transport of waste cooking oil and grease trap waste will also be impounded, the ordinance states.
During Wednesday’s operation in flood-prone areas in the city, MMDA and Quezon City Pollution Control Division personnel discovered many food and commercial establishments were not using grease traps to collect waste water, including used oil and grease; food waste and grease are instead being disposed directly to the sewage, causing flash floods.
In 2015, MMDA also discovered tons of grease and sludge from restaurants clogging the drainage system on Tomas Morato Avenue, one of the most flood-prone areas in the city.