Environment group hits plan for MPIC-led Quezon City waste incinerator
MANILA, Philippines — An environmental group opposed to garbage incineration, is urging the Quezon City government to cancel a planned waste-to-energy facility that will be set up with a consortium of local and foreign firms, calling the project “a clear violation” of existing environmental laws.
In a statement, No Burn Pilipinas (NBP) denounced the Quezon City local government, outgoing Mayor Herbert Bautista, and a group composed of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), Covanta Energy and the Macquarie Group for pushing the project despite opposition from residents and civil society organizations.
“We ask the office of Mayor Bautista to respond to NBP’s position paper submitted in January 2019 before including the proposal in their council agenda,” the group said, adding that the City Council has been meaning to pass an ordinance since last month allowing the Office of the Mayor to proceed with the public-private partnership deal and declaring MPIC the sole and original proponent of the project.
Sponsored by Councilors Franz Pumaren, Donato Matias, Elizabeth Delarmente and Godofredo Liban, the proposed waste-to-energy project will be able to process and convert up to 3,000 metric tons of municipal solid waste per day into 42 megawatts of renewable energy over a concession period of 35 years.
NBP said the Quezon City government is pursuing over the objections of local residents, waste-pickers, and environmental groups who are concerned about potential health and environmental hazards.
“The proposed incinerator will use fire grates to ensure waste combustion which, will cause emissions of toxic and hazardous cancer-causing pollutants like dioxins and furans—a clear violation of the Clean Air Act and Ecological Solid Waste Management Act,” the group said.
The group added that construction of waste incinerators will also require 3,000 metric tons of waste per day, which means collecting, hauling, and supplying the incinerator more than the amount of waste Quezon City produces daily.
“This creates an endless demand for waste, therefore leaving us in gridlock in addressing the problems of solid waste management,” NBP said.
In seeking the scrapping of the project, NBP said Mayor Bautista should carefully study the cost-benefit analysis of the waste-to-energy facility, and to go beyond ‘surface-level convenience’ in planning for better solid waste management approaches.
The MPIC consortium earlier announced that it was hoping to get approval for the project in Quezon City within the first quarter of 2019. /kga