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Group asks Davao councilors to junk WTE project

DAVAO CITY  – An environment group urged the newly elected city councilors to find means of addressing the garbage problem other than adopting the waste-to-energy (WTE) project.

Mary Ann Fuentes, managing trustee of Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) said in an interview Monday the WTE technology is not the “long-term and most effective solution.”

Fuentes said the city council should thoroughly study the proposed project, which, although deemed as the easiest way to address the problem on solid waste is unsustainable in the long term.

She said environmentalists recognized the city’s waste disposal problem and that the seven-hectare sanitary landfill in New Carmen, Tugbok, has nearly reached its limit.

But she added that “for us, a solution to environmental issues should not necessarily have to be the easiest in terms of implementation. That’s not usually the long-term and most effective solution.”

She expressed fears that pushing through with the WTE scheme might result in more environmental problems.

She said the WTE facility would require large volumes of wastes to produce energy, encouraging consumers to produce more wastes, and resulting in the release of air pollutants.

Even as the proponents of the WTE project claimed that it has worked for Japan, Fuertes said the Japanese government is noted for its strict environmental monitoring, and the maintenance and operation of this technology would be costly to the local government.

She said the waste problem is “everyone’s concern” and urged consumers to forego single-use plastics and other throwaway items to reduce trash.

“Let us capitalize on what is the long term solution. We need to change our lifestyle so that everybody will be happy. It’s only a matter of discipline and will,” she said.

The newly elected councilors of the city’s three districts were proclaimed last week. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)

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