“Proven Anaerobic Digestion and thermal gasification technologies to dispose municipal solid waste has negative or zero emissions and considered low carbon technologies, they never affect the environment and readily comply with the strict provisions of the Philippine Clean Air Act.”
This was the declaration of Ruth P. Briones during the 20th Mindanao Business Conference held in Pagadian City on September 8, 2011, when asked about her reaction and opinion with the plan of the government to use incinerators to dispose the municipal solid waste in the country which is strongly opposed by certain environmental groups .
Briones, the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Greenergy Solutions Inc. and the Convenor of the Zero Waste Philippines Forum proposed for the use of clean technologies like anaerobic digestion and thermal gasification in the disposal of the country’s millions of waste.
It was added that Anaerobic Digestion and waste gasification technologies are not incineration and do not apply open burning of waste that emits toxic fumes and hazardous emissions that destroys the environment.
“The main issue here is not the lack of clean waste conversion technologies, it is the reluctance and indecisiveness of some Local government units (LGUs) to enter into contracts with willing waste-to-energy developers to dispose of their waste. While some developers offer solutions, some LGUs would rather use conventional methods of waste disposal like the use of dumpsites and Material Recovery Facilities (MRF). The use of MRF is fine when the generated waste daily is only manageable small volume but not coming from big cities and provinces like Metro Manila”, Briones noted.
It was further reiterated that the use of waste thermal gasifiers not only redispose waste but also converts municipal solid waste into reusable products like electricity which can be sold to the national grid and the facility would have benefits under the Philippine Renewable Energy Law.
However, Briones announced during the Mindanao Conference that Greenergy is currently working with seven provinces in the country in the development of Material Recovery and Energy Facilities (MREF) using thermal gasification technologies in the conversion and redisposal of municipal solid waste.
The debate whether incineration could be adapted in the Philippine waste management sparked due to the recent collapse of landfill in Baguio City that killed some residents near the landfill site. Some sectors and the government propose for the amendment of the Clean Air Act to legalize the use of incinerators in managing the country’s waste.
The Clean Air Act in the Philippines bans the use of incinerations under Section 20 but in the year 2002, the Supreme Court had ruled in the case of MMDA vs. JANCOM that 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.
As of 2010, the country’s waste has an estimated 15.0 Million of tons generation with Metro Manila producing 12,000 tons daily. All open dumpsites have been ordered closed and landfills were ordered to be rehabilitated. In sanitary landfills volumes of waste increased daily while increases the areas covered.