By By Fernan A. Gianan
Environment groups are against WTE
posted 19-Oct-2019  ·  
2,152 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Here’s the follow-up on last week’s column item on the waste-to-energy facility that a Singapore technology group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of a waste-to-energy plant for the province of Catanduanes,

According to the press release that appeared in various national newspapers, Congressman Hector Sanchez, with SP Committee on Energy chair PBM Arnel Turado at his back, signed the MOU with green energy specialist Opus Energy Solutions Inc. together with Singapore Management Consultancy.

The president-CEO of Opus Energy, Rafael Javier Eubra, claims that one of its designs had been endorsed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and has a buyback agreement with National Power Corporation (Napocor).

The process includes the recovery of solid wastes and transform it into useful energy in the most efficient, safest, and commercially viable way possible in an environment-friendly facility, he claimed.

The plan is supposedly in pursuit of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s SONA message for the DENR and LGUs to consider the waste-to-energy option, hitting two birds with one stone by doing away with solid waste and providing electricity to the constituents.

However, the president’s proposal came under fire from environment groups who said "incinerators masquerading as [waste-to-energy] are false and expensive solutions to the garbage problem."

Under the Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, incineration of waste is banned.

Jorge Emmanuel, a professor at Silliman University, told participants to the13th Zero Waste International Conference held at the University of the Philippines Bahay ng Alumni that waste-to-energy plants produce some of the most toxic materials known to humans.

The plants release substances called dioxins that are toxic at very small concentrations and can stay in the environment for hundreds of years, Emmanuel explained.

These dioxins can cause different types of cancers, different reproductive disorders in men and women, and other impacts on children in their development, as well as birth defects, he added.

What is worse, the professor said, is that the Philippines does not have the technical capability to test dioxin levels emitted by waste-to-energy technologies.

The cost of these waste-to-energy technologies is also "extremely high," Emmanuel said, since they come with air pollution control equipment.

In Puerto Princesa, Palawan, critics have described as “dubious” a P2.1-billion waste-to-energy deal that the provincial government signed with the blessing of the Department of Energy.

The project’s backers claim the WTE plant will generate 5.5 megawatts of electricity from the city’s 110 metric tons per day of waste.

According to the environment groups, the plant’s operation will cost 10 times more than coal and four times more than nuclear power plants.

Prof. Emmanuel suggests that, instead, the country should go zero waste and fully implement RA 9003, as well as shift to clean renewable energy such as solar, wind, wave, or geothermal energy.

This discussion should make the people of the island wonder if the proponents ever considered if there is available data on how much garbage is generated in the 11 municipalities and the mechanics of how the garbage would be brought daily to the WTE plant that is sure to rise in Virac, as the town with the most trash.


RETIRING GOD. A group of eminent scientists got together and decided that Man had come such a long way that they no longer needed God.

    God was redundant, they decides. So they went to God and said, “We can clone people and do many wondrous things. We really don’t need you anymore and we think that you should retire.”

    God listened patiently. “OK,” he said, “but first let us both make a man just like I did with Adam, and we can compare our work.”

    “Yes, let’s do that,” replied the scientists, as one bent down to scoop up a handful of dirt from the ground.

    “Oh, no, you don’t,” scolded God. “Go and get your own dirt.”

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