Implement waste management law in Davao, advocates urged

ENVIRONMENTALISTS called for proper implementation of existing solid waste management law instead of investing on waste-to-energy (WTE) plants in the Philippines.

Ecoteneo Director Carmela Santos, who is also a member of the Sustainable Davao Movement, said during the Kapehan sa Dabaw on Monday, Decmeber 5, said that installation of WTE plants in the Philippines, especially in Davao City, is not a solution for waste reduction.

READ:Environmentalists: waste-to-energy emit dioxins

In a meeting with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, the group found out that the agency's concern is as basic as waste segregation.

According to Santos, if the city struggles with a very basic concern as waste segregation, it is very apparent that we are not yet ready for more complicated and expensive processes such as WTE technology.

Santos added Davao is still an agricultural city and thus, they urged the local government units (LGU) to make use of the budget supposedly allotted for these WTE technologies to composting biodegradable wastes as these could serve as fertilizers for Davao farms.

She said she believed that proper implementation of existing laws like Republic Act (RA) 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 will help make the vision a possibility.

The RA 9003 is an “act providing for an ecological solid waste management program, creating the necessary institutional mechanisms and incentives, declaring certain acts prohibited and providing penalties, [and] appropriating funds.”

Ecowaste Coalition convener Von Hernandez said 50 to 60 percent of the city's solid waste is biodegradable and should really be funded by the government to help with the proper composting rather than investing on WTE technologies that would have a high chance of causing damage to both the environment and to humans who are exposed to such technology.

Hernandez also said that with the aggressive drive of the LGUs to implement RA 9003, WTE will no longer be needed in the city.

He added that proper implementation of existing laws will not only help the environment but it will also lessen the cost for our waste reduction, citing San Fernando, Pampanga as one of the cities that is properly implementing the law in reducing their waste.

Santos also said installation of these WTE plants is a violation to the Persistent Organic Pollutants (Pops) treaty which our country is a signatory.

Pops is an international environmental treaty, which became effective on May 17, 2004 and whose main objective is to eliminate the use and production of persistent organic pollutants, including dioxins to protect human health from harmful chemicals.

The treaty was signed by 152 countries, including the Philippines.

Hernandez added they already filed a case to the Ombudsman against specific LGUs in the Philippines who are not implementing the law.

The Ombudsman is currently investigating about a hundred LGUs relating to the case.

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