OFFICIALS of the Cebu City Government expressed optimism that the daily collection of 600 tons of garbage in the city would be reduced by 90 percent once the recently approved construction of a P4.8 billion waste-to-energy (WTE) facility begins to operate.

The City also expects to get a share of the income from the WTE facility that will be built by New Sky Energy (Philippines) Inc. The WTE facility is expected to generate 18 megawatts of electric power from trash.

Councilor Joel Garganera, chairman of the committee on environment, said the WTE would also eliminate groundwater, air and soil pollution and reduce pathogens.

Garganera said the WTE would reduce the amount of garbage since only wastes that could not be recycled or those that are household hazardous wastes will be disposed at the landfill.

The project would create 400 jobs during the construction phase and another 100 jobs when the firm starts to operate, he said.

The Cebu City Government will also get a three percent share of the tipping fee for every ton of garbage that would be processed at the WTE facility and another five percent for those coming from other local government units.

Currently, the city pays a P700 tipping fee for every truck that drops garbage in a landfill area in the mountain barangay of Binaliw.

Based on records from the Department of Public Services (DPS), the City has spent a total of P2.1 billion for its garbage collection activities from 2017 to mid-March of 2022.

DPS head Jigo Dacua said the total amount represents the spending figures in 2017 (P348 million), 2018 (P361.6 million), 2019 (P366.2 million), 2020 (P381 million), 2021 (P404 million), and P300 million from January to mid-March 2022.

The City has already spent more than P1.8 billion for its garbage collection activities in the past five years from 2017 to 2022. Garganera said through the WTE, the City Government could save around P360 million in five years.

On the issue of incineration, Garganera cited some provisions involving the case of MMDA vs. Jancom (G. R. No. 147465).

“Section 20 does not absolutely prohibit incineration as a mode of waste disposal. Rather, only those burning processes which emit poisonous and toxic fumes are banned,” the councilor said. (PAC / TPT)