DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 January) – Majority of barangays here do not properly implement Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, particularly the segregation of waste, the environmental group Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) said on Monday.
Lawyer Mark Peñalver, IDIS executive director, said during the “Kapehan sa Dabaw” that practicing segregation would have reduced the volume of wastes thrown at the sanitary landfill in Barangay New Carmen in Tugbok District.
Under RA 9003, Peñalver said that barangays need to establish materials recovery facilities (MRF) to receive, sort, process and store compostable and recyclable materials.
Out of 182 barangays in the city, only Barangays Tacunan, Mintal, Mahayag, Gumalang, Lapu-Lapu, Hizon and Catalunan Grande have functioning MRFs, according to him.
“There is a weak implementation of segregation under RA 9003 here in our city. We cannot see it being fully implemented by our barangays,” he said.
Peñalver added that the volume of wastes generated are continuously increasing but most of those wastes ending up in the landfill are compostable and reusable materials, which the MRFs could process.
The city generates around 600 to 700 tons of wastes daily, according to the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO).
Biodegradable wastes comprise 80% of the city’s wastes, Peñalver noted.
Once barangays establish their own MRFs, he said only the residuals will be thrown in the landfill, reducing the volume of wastes and expanding the lifespan of the landfill.
The seven-hectare landfill has been operating beyond its lifespan, he said.
In September 2022, CENRO head Engr. Marivic Reyes said that the local government has acquired the landfill’s adjacent nine-hectare property for expansion, instead of opening another facility in a separate site.
Peñalver reiterated that the plan of the local government to construct a waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration facility is an “unsustainable” way of addressing the solid waste problem of the city.
He believed that the incineration facility would only create more environmental and health problems later on.
Peñalver said the local government might need to get more wastes from neighboring cities or towns to feed into the WTE incineration facility to sustain its requirement.
He said the WTE incineration facility emits dioxins and furans, which are highly toxic and carcinogenic substances.
Peñalver said the “annual air quality monitoring of the local government might not be enough to keep the emissions of toxic chemicals in check.”
He said that environmental groups have asked the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA to withdraw its support for the WTE project.
The Japanese government has offered a donation of 5.013-billion yen or equivalent to P2.052 billion in 2018 to start the construction of the project.
On August 23, 2022, the local council passed a resolution asking President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to allocate a counterpart fund of at least P3.486 billion for the project.
The national government has yet to respond to the request. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)