Issue of July 7, 2019
Mt. Province
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Group mulls legal action against LGUs that operate incinerators
by PNA release

An environmental alliance said it plans to sue local chief executives who will build and operate waste incinerators.

Republic Act 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 prohibits waste-burning, reason why local officials must not insist on building and operating incinerators, said Glenn Ymata, senior campaign manager of environmental alliance No Burn Pilipinas.

“Incinerating waste is illegal so we are planning to file administrative cases against local chief executives who will do so,” he said on the sidelines of a waste management briefing in Quezon City, noting that the group is also mulling filing criminal charges against local officials.

Waste-to-energy (WtE) technology that produces energy by burning trash remains an option of the Environmental Management Bureau to address the nationwide garbage problem despite various groups’ opposition.

EMB officer-in-charge Assistant Director Vizminda Osorio said increasing the waste generation, sanitary landfills’ diminishing capacity to accommodate garbage, and LGUs’ hesitation to host these facilities prompted the need for WtE.

“WtE technology has already improved over the years,” she said, allaying fears of environmental groups that it is dangerous to health and the environment.

Experiences by other countries showed that WtE technology is safe and effective in addressing the garbage problem there, she said.

On the other hand, Break Free from Plastic movement coordinator Von Hernandez said the term “WtE” is just “linguistic trickery” to conceal the fact that this technology still burns waste.

To address the country’s garbage problem, Hernandez said there is a need for LGUs nationwide to implement RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

He said among such LGUs is San Fernando City which is implementing SWM measures like recycling, enabling  the Pampanga capital to divert from landfills about 80 percent of its total waste.

According to RA 9003, the SWM is “the discipline associated with the control of generation, storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing, and disposal of solid wastes in a manner that is in accord with the best principles of public health, economics, engineering, conservation, aesthetics, and other environmental considerations, and that is also responsive to public attitudes.”

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