Site preparations for Davao’s waste-to-energy project underway

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 Oct) – Despite the resistance of environmentalists here, Mayor Sara Duterte said the local government is pushing through with the waste-to-energy (WTE) project as among the programs and campaigns that her administration is undertaking to achieve a “cleaner and greener city.”

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte delivers her State of the City Address before members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod on Monday (14 October 2019). MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

In her State of the City Address (SOCA) at the Sangguniang Panlungsod on Monday, Duterte bared that the initial preparations for the site of the proposed WTE project in Biao Escuela, Tugbok District are already in progress.

“The establishment of a waste-to-energy facility is on the planning stage, with initial preparations underway in an identified area in Tugbok District,” she said.

As part of the city’s preparation for the WTE, Duterte said the local government plans to implement in the coming weeks a new garbage collection system to address complaints on the present garbage collection system of the local government.

Under the new plan, Duterte said the standard collection point infrastructure will have a trash cage for the plastic bottles, sachets, wrappers, and plastic bags; and separate cages for biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes.

The biodegradable wastes will be collected by a separate hauler and will be brought to the compost pit of the barangay or the compost machine of the city government while the non-biodegradable will be collected by the city and segregated before delivery to the sanitary landfill.

“An intensified information and education campaign targeting households, offices, schools, and business establishments will be pursued to involve as many people as possible to our new system in our collection points which will also prepare everyone for the eventual operation of the WTE,” Duterte said.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and Vice Mayor Sebastian “Basti” Duterte after the mayor delivered her State of the City Address at the Sangguniang Panlungsod on Monday (14 October 2019). MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

She added that the local government has hired a “collection manager to oversee daily collection and project potential problems to ensure that collection is adjusted whenever there is an urgent need. We have tasked all barangay captains to adjust our collection points to accommodate the garbage increase.”

In a statement, No Burn Pilipinas, a coalition of environmental advocates in the Philippines, opposed the construction of the WTE project, claiming that there are “documented failures of WTE from economic and investment perspectives and these are mostly from advanced and rich countries such as UK, Germany, and Australia.”

The coalition said “emissions from incinerators contain heavy metals, dioxins and furans, which may be present in the waste gases, water or ash. Plastic and metals are the major sources of the calorific value of the waste.”

“The combustion of plastics, like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), gives rise to these highly toxic pollutants,” it added.

It said WTE is the most expensive way to produce energy.

“It is 10 times costlier than coal-fired power plants and 4 times the nuclear. The one being proposed in Quezon City is said to produce 1kW at P524 while solar energy can be harnessed for only P53 or even less. These are just some of the reasons why WTE incineration in other countries are being phased-out,” it added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)