by Andrea Renevera-Bancud
QUEZON CITY, September 8 (PIA )-- National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) Deputy Executive Director Eligio Ildefonso said the provision on the Clean Air Act prohibiting the use of incinerators for waste disposal is not absolute.
He made the statement during today's "Talking Points," a radio program of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Philippine Broadcasting Services (PBS), and PTV4.
“The Supreme Court has come up with a mandamus order that incinerators are allowed only if the facility passes the emission standard,” says Ildefonso.
Section 20 of Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act of 1999 states that “Incineration, hereby defined the burning of municipal, bio-medical and hazardous wastes, which process emits poisonous and toxic fumes, is hereby prohibited.” The provision states further, “with due concern on the effects of climate change, the Department shall promote the use of state-of-the-art, environmentally-sound, and safe non-burn technologies for the handling, treatment, thermal destruction, utilization, and disposal of sorted, unrecycled, uncomposted municipal, bio-medical and hazardous wastes.” This allows a safe and environmentally-sound form of incineration.
“Pwede naman, basta magiging malinis siya, pero questionable 'yon, kung magiging malinis ang teknolohiya na dadalhin sa atin. Kasi naman sa atin yung technology, I-i-import yan,” (Incinerators are allowed but the technology for it, which we don't have and would be imported, must ensure the safety of the environment) added Ildefonso.
The director also believes that if the technology for incineration would be brought in , it should be paired with a pollution control device. He said cement factories in the country today already have the technology which enables them to convert their wastes into a “panggatong” but the pollution that this process creates is controlled.
The NSWMC is also looking into the conversion of wastes into energy. Ildefonso said maybe this may be a better option than using incinerators to treat waste materials.
Section 15 of the Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management of 2000 states that the National Solid Waste Management Framework must involve “Practical applications of environmentally sound techniques of water minimization such as, but not limited to, resource conservation, segregation at source, recycling, resource recovery, including waste-to-energy generation, re-use and composting.”(PND/ARB-PIA GHQ)