June 21, 2024

Residents of Baguio City need to embrace the culture of segregating waste as the city government prepares to transition to waste-to-energy (WTE) in managing the enormous amount of garbage produced by households and commercial establishments in the city, according to City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña.
In a forum last February 6, Dela Peña apprised the city council on the city government’s plan to put up its own engineered sanitary landfill (ESL) and a WTE facility. 
He said the current administration remains resolute in its goal to address problems on solid waste management, adding WTE is the way to go.
But to make this happen, he stressed households and businesses must first learn the value of waste segregation and practice it. 
“Our garbage has to be segregated first. You cannot just dump anything into the WTE facility. We have to improve first our culture of segregation before we can really venture into waste-to-energy,” he said.
WTE pertains to the method of generating energy in the form of electricity or heat from a waste source. A WTE plant receives non-recyclable trash and converts it to energy.
Dela Peña said the executive department would consider pursuing its original plan, which was to construct solid waste management facilities within the 138-hectare land identified for city land needs located in Sto. Tomas barangay.
He said there is no guarantee that the proposal for the construction of a WTE facility in Sablan, Benguet would prosper due to the resistance of people in the area.
He said the site in Dontogan barangay as earlier considered by the city government is no longer feasible for the construction of solid waste management facilities since the 10-hectare lot will already be used for the construction of an intermodal bus terminal.
Dela Peña and members of the city council agreed that the most feasible site for the construction of the city’s solid waste management facilities would be somewhere within the 138-hectare land in Sto. Tomas. 
However, the city officials recognized that securing a lot within the 138-hectare land proved to be a challenge due to the presence of settlers.
According to Dela Peña, only 70 out of the 138 hectares is left unoccupied and is currently used for agricultural purposes. He said the city must first determine how much of the land can be recovered and used as a site for the city’s solid waste management.
He added the construction of a road network for the site in Sto. Tomas Barangay would cost around 300 million. 
The city council urged the executive department to act promptly since the number of settlers in the area continues to increase. – Jordan G. Habbiling