Councilor mulls Japanese-backed WTE project

Councilor mulls Japanese-backed WTE project
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IN RESPONSE to the escalating garbage issue in the city, Davao City Councilor Louie John Bonguyan, chairperson of the committee on energy and water, proposed revisiting the waste-to-energy (WTE) project during the "Aprubado sa Konseho" session on Tuesday morning, February 13, 2024, at the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

“So maybe we should also consider kaning waste to energy because with this we don’t need to buy another landfill, sanitary landfill kay during that time na filled up na atoang landfill (Maybe we should also consider waste-to-energy because, with this, we don't need to acquire another landfill. Our current landfill is already filled up),” he said. 

He noted that the WTE project would require less than a hectare of space, with the Japanese government generously funding half of the project—the largest grant Davao has received from Japan.

“If mapasa to all environmental laws diri sa atoang nasod why not put up a waste-to-energy facility (If it complies with all environmental laws in our country, why not establish a waste-to-energy facility),” he said.   

However, a letter from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to SunStar Davao dated January 26, 2023, clarified that they wouldn't finance the WTE project but were solely responsible for conducting a study on it.

The proposal arose when Councilor Temujin "Tek Ocampo, chair of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, expressed concerns about Davao City's estimated daily waste production ranging from 650 to 800 tons

He acknowledged the efficiency of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) in garbage collection but highlighted the escalating waste due to the city's growing population.

“Karun ang atong sanitary landfill sa New Carmen puno na gyud mao na nag develop na pod ta ug bag-o nga napalit sa gobyerno, katong pikas nga gina develop karun sa Cenro para pod atoang bag-ong dumpsite (Our sanitary landfill in New Carmen is now full, leading us to develop a new site purchased by the government. Cenro is working on the development of this new dumpsite),” he said.  

Despite this, Ocampo stressed that the new dumpsite is not a comprehensive solution, urging Dabawenyos to embrace new technologies to reduce overall waste.

Previously, the Davao City-based environmental group Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) expressed opposition to the WTE project in their zero-waste policy wishlist. They cited potential negative impacts on the environment and public health. 

The group emphasized the city's commitment to ecological waste management through existing laws and executive orders, including the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003), Clean Air Act (RA 8749), and Executive Order 53. The latter underscores the city's obligation to maintain a reliable system for garbage collection and disposal to uphold a healthy and balanced ecosystem. RGP

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