Ecology groups to make sure project for real

Posted on September 16, 2012

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The Cebu City Council will invite ecology groups to attend their review of the proposed $102 million waste to energy project by a Malaysian based company on Oct. 3.

Councilor Nida Cabrera, who chairs the council’s environment committee, said she wanted to be certain that waste to energy project proposal is not another “disguise” for incineration.

She also raised a concern on Greenergy Solution Inc.’s 1,150 tons daily waste requirement since Cebu City only produces an average 325 tons of wastes daily.

“The only other way to address the needed volume feedstock, aside from the city population producing more wastes, is to allow other local governments in Metro Cebu to dump their wastes at the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera also wanted to be clarified on how the processing of huge volumes of wastes at the Inayawan landfill would affect economic and commercial activities at the neighboring South Road Properties (SRP).

Councilor Alvin Arcilla wanted to know if the waste to energy project being pushed by Mayor Michael Rama and Janeses Jade Ponce, head of the Solid Waste Management Board (SWMB), underwent bidding.

When Cabrera informed Arcilla said the GSI proposal did not undergo bidding, Arcilla commented that “mura man sila ug nag dali (looks like they’re in a hurry).”

Ponce wrote Cabrera last July 25 to seek the passage of a resolution that will authorize Rama to enter into a 25-year contract with GSI. Attached to his letter was a 27-page project brief.

The request was referred to Cabrera’s environment committee for review.

Quoting the GSI project brief, Cabrera said while the project will be implemented at no cost to the city, they’re obligated to provide 1,150 tons of garbage daily.

“The 1,150 tons per day of solid waste needed (for GSI) processing will (only) be composed of commercial and agricultural wastes. Does it mean that the city will still handle hazardous and medical wastes?,” she said.

Cabrera also questioned the “gasification technology” which GSI proposed, citing ecology groups that warned about the emission of dioxins and other harmful pollutants.

She said there are industry claims that the waste to energy project employs “green technology” that can solve all waste disposal problems.

“Why not focus on zero waste which consists of the management of products and processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and raw materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them,” Cabrera said.

The councilor also mentioned about the city’s share of revenues to be generated from the waste to energy project and the welfare of 300 scavengers who earn from the landfill.

“They are a Malaysian based company but why are they not using this technology in Malaysia?,” Councilor Noel Wenceslao asked. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters

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