Green groups urge MMDA chief to drop incineration proposal

City, 24 September 2014.
Alarmed by the recent statement by Metro Manila Development Authority
Chairman, Francis Tolentino, pushing for incineration to address perennial
garbage and flood woes, green groups today asked the MMDA chief to abandon any
such plan, as this violates the law and is an environmental and health risk.

In a counter statement, zero waste and chemical safety advocates belonging to the
EcoWaste Coalition, Mother Earth Foundation and the Global Alliance for
Incinerator Alternatives said that “waste incineration is a way of cutting
corners and taking an easy, not to mention highly toxic and expensive, way out
of our waste problems.” 

No less than the US Environmental Protection Agency, the groups said, had
admitted that compared with source reduction, reuse and recycling, waste
incinerators contribute far higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions
throughout their lifecycles.

The groups cited another study by the US Energy Information Administration
stating that the operations and maintenance costs of waste incinerators are ten
times greater than coal and four times greater than nuclear.

Monday, Tolentino blamed garbage as the major culprit that caused the widespread
flooding due to the combined impact of typhoon Mario and the southwest monsoon
(habagat) and looked up to incineration as the solution, alluding to the need
to construct four incinerators to burn Metro Manila’s garbage costing P7
billion each.

“We reject MMDA’s multi-billion peso quick fix ‘solution’ that belittles and
violates Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000,
which mandates ecological solid waste management ‘excluding incineration’
(Section 2, d),” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of EcoWaste

maintained that “the real solution to our garbage woes is the full enforcement
of R.A. 9003,”  stressing that “only a small
fraction of the generated wastes would be left for disposal if solid wastes are
managed according to law.”

“No incinerator would thrive if the R.A. 9003 is genuinely enforced,” Lucero emphasized.

Sonia Mendoza, Chairman of Mother Earth Foundation, pointed out that “the poor
implementation and the unchecked violation of RA 9003 is not an excuse to
violate it further by allowing incineration and tolerating LGUs in the non-performance
of their responsibility to enforce the law.”

now have a model city, San Fernando City in Pampanga, implementing R.A.
9003 in terms of source segregation, segregated collection, segregated waste
destination (Sections 21 – 24) and a Materials Recovery Facility in every
barangay (Section 32), resulting to a waste diversion rate of 55%, the highest
for a whole city in the entire country,” she said.
fixation with this end-of-the pipe solution to our waste problems reflects
their wasteful mentality.  Apparently, they instinctively view discards as
waste and not as resources that can be re-used, re-purposed, recycled, or
composted – waste management steps that are enshrined in R.A. 9003, which our
government to this day has yet to properly implement,” said Paeng Lopez of the
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.
groups concluded by challenging the MMDA chief to drop his plans on
incineration and to instead pursue a strict Metro Manila-wide implementation of
RA 9003 to ecologically deal with the Metro’s garbage crisis.


U.S. EPA, “Solid Waste Management and Greenhouse Gases, A Life-Cycle Assessment
of Emissions and Sinks 3rd edition,” 2006:

U.S. Energy
Information Administration (Department of Energy), Updated Capital Cost
Estimates for Electricity Generation Plants, November 2010: