Zero waste group lauds Sen. Legarda’s firm stance against incineration

Quezon City. “Clearly I’m not promoting incineration. [The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or Republic Act 9003} does not promote it.”

EcoWaste Coalition said in a press release today, quoting from Sen. Loren Legarda’s keynote speech at the opening yesterday of the week-long First National Integrated Waste Management Exhibition which was organized by the National Solid Waste Management Commission.

“We are glad that the good senator made it clear at the start of the exhibition that RA 9003 promotes ecological and not integrated waste management,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“It should be clear then that incineration such as waste-to-energy technologies that employ burning to recover energy should not be promoted,” she maintained.

“Combustion or incineration is among technologies that are allowed in the integrated solid waste management among waste disposal options,” she clarified.

According to the coalition, RA 9003, in Section 2 (d) declares clearly that the law is to “ensure the proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste through the formulation and adoption of the best environmental practice in ecological waste management excluding incineration.”

“Section 3 (dd) of the law, which promotes recovery of resources, including the generation of energy, also clarifies that incineration is not among the options,” stressed Lucero.

Lucero’s group was firm on their stance that Incineration is not sustainable as it perpetuates wasting by destroying resources, instead of recovering them for ecological management through recycling, composting, or reusing.

Through recycling, for example, aside from saving the material to be recycled, a lot more energy will be saved in the process compared to what incineration is capable of generating: Citing American zero waste and incineration expert Dr. Paul Connett, the coalition explained that “Recycling a ton of PET bottles will save 85.16 Gigajoules of energy, 26.4 times the energy that can be generated from incinerating the same input.”

Legarda in a separate press release renewed her call for the strict implementation of Republic Act 9003, which she principally authored, “stressing that local government units (LGUs) should aim for zero waste.”

She expressed that, unfortunately, 14 years after [RA 9003’s] passage, majority of LGUs have yet to comply with the provisions of RA 9003, particularly on decentralization of waste collection, submission of an SWM Plan, establishment of local SWM boards, establishment of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF), closure of all open and controlled dumpsites, and mandatory waste diversion.

Taking the case of Manila Bay, Legarda said that “out of 178 LGUs … only 51 percent are compliant with segregation-at-source; 50 percent for segregated collection; 44 percent with functional MRFs…. Only two of the concerned LGUs have an approved 10-Year Solid Waste Management Plan.”

Legarda, alluding to Pope Francis’ encyclical, called on to authorities to “…veer away from the throwaway culture and aim for zero waste economy where the output of each resource use is converted into input for another use. Let us give nothing less than our wholehearted commitment to our duty as stewards of the earth so that we, and the generations to come, can live in a safe, clean, healthy and resilient world.”